Christians in Practice?
"What Helps Christians Grow?" That was the question St Peter's Saltley Trust asked in a previous round of research, surveying over 1330 churchgoers.
Many themes emerged, but one of the most obvious was 'putting faith into practice in daily life'. It was widely and strongly affirmed in a variety of ways in our research results.
Other research has observed that church congregations punch way above their weight in terms of formal and informal voluntary action. If we do learn by doing, then plenty of active learning is going on.
But what is the link? How does community activity feed Christian growth, as our earlier research suggests? And how does Christian learning in turn nurture community activity? Can we find out more about that dynamic, and use it to help in the formation of Christians?
There are good reasons to want to understand the link better. Often mission and discipleship lie far apart in our organisational structures. And while habits of theological reflection are promoted in theological education for ordained and lay ministers, they're not always built into grassroots practice for all disciples. By taking learning and activity together, and trying to understand the relationship between them for 'ordinary' Christians, we hope to resource churches and community work with deeper knowledge about the links between faith and practice. If, as our previous research seems to suggest, the two go hand in hand, there will be much to gain.
We'll draw on literature from the theology, psychology and sociology of community activity, but the core of our research is always done in partnership with local churches and individual Christians. For this research we'll work with community activities too. Whether you're a disciple, a minister, a community organiser, or a denominational officer, your support can help this project succeed. Find out how, and get involved here.