Church growth is much like the weather–everyone talks about it, but no one ever does anything about it.
Today, however, the Church of England released a report that has been several years in the making. From 2011-2013, they undertook a scientific study to determine what factors were associated with church growth. The results are here.
While the report takes pains to point out that correlation is not causation, it does find several items as being linked to growth:
A clear mission and purpose
Willingness to self-reflect, to change and
adapt according to context
Involvement of lay members
Being intentional in prioritising growth
Being intentional in chosen style of worship
Being intentional in nurturing disciples
However, the report continues, there is no one recipe for church growth. Because of the wide variety of contexts, each church has a different formula that has proven to work for them, where they are.
Specifically, it notes, there is no one theological tradition or style of worship associated with growing churches–contrary to the hopes of many pundits across the theological spectrum. So long as the particular church is consistent, clear and wholehearted in its approach, these things do not appear to matter.
The report isn’t long, and it’s well worth a read.