Database for fresh expressions of Church


fxC-Report-HardCopyCover-smallThe full report, summary report and video

As part of the Church of England's Church Growth Research Programme, Church Army's Research Unit has undertaken extensive research into fresh expressions of Church and their impact and growth. Their findings were presented at the Faith in Research Conference in London on Thursday 16th January 2014.

  • The full report (as illustrated) can be downloaded as a PDF here.
  • A 26-page summary of the report can be downloaded as a PDF here.
  • A short video of Church Army's Research Unit talking about the report can be viewed here.


A report on the importance of 'lay-lay' leaders

One surprise from the above research was discovering the presence of a large group of leaders that have become known as the 'lay-lay'. We invented this shorthand term to mean people with no centralised formal training, or official authorisation for this specific task, although a number bring significant work and life experience, including skills with people. This group accounts for 40% of the leaders across the 541 fxC recorded in the first 11 dioceses we researched.

Finding this significant, we compiled a short report. Dr Rachel Jordan, National Mission and Evangelism Adviser, says of it: 'Those who read this will realise it raises significant questions about how we invest in the future shape of ministry and mission in our Church.'

The report can be downloaded here.


Individual diocesan reports so far

(Click on the blue links to download the reports)

Dioceses surveyed from 2012-2014
Blackburn diocese, October 2013 Blackburn diocese  
Bristol diocese, December 2013 Bristol diocese  
Canterbury diocese, updated February 2013 Canterbury diocese  
Chelmsford diocese, February 2013 Chelmsford diocese  
Derby diocese, December 2012 Derby diocese  
Gloucester diocese, January 2014 Gloucester diocese  
Leicester diocese, updated March 2013 Leicester diocese  
Liverpool diocese, updated May 2013 Liverpool diocese  
Norwich diocese, April 2013 Norwich diocese  
Portsmouth diocese, December 2013 Portsmouth diocese  
Ripon & Leeds diocese, July 2013 Ripon & Leeds diocese  
Dioceses surveyed from 2014-2016
Birmingham diocese, October 2015 Birmingham diocese  
Carlisle diocese, May 2015 Carlisle diocese  
Ely diocese, October 2014 Ely diocese  
Exeter diocese, July 2014 Exeter diocese  
Guildford diocese, March 2015 Guildford diocese  
London diocese, September 2015 London diocese  
Sheffield diocese, January 2016 Sheffield diocese  
Southwark diocese, January 2015 Southwark diocese  


Why are we doing this?

Since the late 1990s there has been a significant increase in the variety and number of fresh expressions of Church across the country, pioneered by those who see the need for churches to reach those traditionally absent from the churches. However, the wider Church has struggled to keep pace with this and record it adequately.

Our aim in keeping a record of these pioneering communities and initiatives, however 'successful' they are, is to gather a depth and wealth of information that can, over time, be used to make clearer what is happening. We intend to continue doing this (covering enough dioceses to be representative) to build up a strong and compelling case about the contribution from fresh expressions movement nationally. This will enable us to show what fresh expressions of Church bring to the mixed economy in the Anglican Church, and how they are one vital part of our life and our future. We are currently doing this in partnership with the Church Growth Research Programme.

We have created an in-depth questionnaire, with help included to guide you through the questions if you need it. We believe fresh expressions of Church are worth taking seriously, so the questionnaire is detailed, but hopefully not too demanding.

Take part and download the questionnaire

If you are leading a Church of England fresh expression of Church and would like to talk to us or take part in this with us, please download the PDF questionnaire from this link:

Church of England fresh expressions of Church database questionnaire

You can either complete the questionnaire on your fresh expression of Church and return it to us or just ring us - we would be very happy to talk to you. The contact details are at the bottom of this page.

If you aren't sure if you have a fresh expression of Church, the following definition may be helpful. A fresh expression of Church is any venture that works mainly with non-churchgoers and aims to become church. A fresh expression will be:

  1. Missional - it works mainly with non-churchgoers;
  2. Contextual - it seeks to fit the context;
  3. Formational - it aims to form disciples;
  4. Ecclesial - it intends to become church.

Church Army's Research Unit have devised ten criteria to decide if something is an Anglican fresh expression of Church. The ten criteria can be downloaded here.

If you are still not sure, please give us a ring. 

Return the questionnaire to:

Elspeth McGann
Church Army's Research Unit
Wilson Carlile Centre
50 Cavendish Street
S3 7RZ

Tel: 0114 252 7276

email: Elspeth McGann