Christians in Practice?
Julia Hill, Reference Group member, and CUF’s Volunteering Development Coordinator, writes about some of the statistics behind the Christians in Practice project.
One of the starting points for the ‘Christians in Practice’ research might be called the 95% problem. In a 2015 survey, 95% of Anglican parish clergy identified a lack of volunteers as the main barrier to increasing their social action and 95% of them believed that such action was a vital activity for a healthy church.
Alongside those statistics, a small survey that I completed last year among predominantly Anglican churches seemed to indicate that a high percentage of churchgoers were involved in a large number of what might be called inward-facing roles. 25% of the sample were involved in more than five roles within their church.
All this comes with the huge caveat that most of these statistics relate to the Church of England. The experience in other denominations may be significantly different and even the Church of England varies enormously according to context, but I think there are still questions worth exploring: is it too easy to get trapped in filling the rotas for keeping the machinery of the church going? And if so, what does that mean for people and the church being able to live out their calling to serve God and neighbour?
CUF is really excited to be part of this project as it will help us to explore these questions in greater depth and understand more about people’s real experience.