Enliven project launch

Resource Type: Article

Topics: 2019News enliven news

NCLS Research is pleased to launch the Enliven Churches Project in 2019.

The project is a study of vibrant, flourishing churches and how they enliven their ministry.

Previous quantitative research, by NCLS Research has focused primarily on evaluating church vitality and describing vital churches. The Enliven Churches Project, however, moves beyond the question of ‘what is a vitality church’ to 'how do churches strengthen their vitality?'.

The question is "How?". How do strong flourishing churches enliven their ministry? How is growth in vitality made possible?

A style of research to ask the "HOW" questions

This project uses qualitative research, including face to face interviews and discussion groups, to explore the journey of churches, identified as strong and flourishing, and how they became and remain vital. The study digs deeper into the process of "How" these strong churches enlivened their ministry, their congregation and/ or their community.  

"Many churches across Australia and across denominations have grown in vitality, numbers and spiritual health," said Dr Powell, Director of NCLS Research. "The question is 'How?'. How is growth in vitality possible? This project identifies strong churches and investigates their journey and the actions they took to enliven their ministry."

Case studies identified

During the first quarter of 2019, a selection of churches across denominations and states have been identified  from around 3000 participating churches as strong, according to NCLS vitality measures in the 2016 National Church Life Survey. The choice of churches will cover various contexts, including rural, urban and regional settings.

"We've completed the first phase identifying case study churches that are strong in vitality, from their 2016 NCLS results," said project researcher Ms Jacka. "The coming months will see our researchers interviewing these selected church leadership teams face to face."

"As an interviewer, I'm looking forward to deeper conversations about the process and culture within each church. Exploring the actions and journeys these churches took to build and retain vitality. We hope our findings can serve as an encouragement to other churches and communities," Ms Jacka explained.

Outcomes from the project

A range of outputs are envisaged from this research, including research papers and church-friendly resources, such as a magazine, infographics, presentations, workshops.

The findings of this project on how churches become and remain vital will hopefully provide ideas, inspiration and guidance to churches as to how they might improve their vitality and seek "Life to the full" in their unique context.

About the Enliven Churches Project

An outline of the aims, methods and background to the Enliven Churches Project.
This project identifies churches which are strong according to NCLS vitality measures and investigates their journey and the actions they took to enliven their ministry. 

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Kathy Jacka, Ruth Powell, Miriam Pepper