This advert has just gone up on the Church of England website
Researchers are being sought for an 18 month project which will aim to provide a comprehensive study of the causes of church growth.
The research programme from the Church of England being advertised this week contains three main strands:
Extensive analysis of existing data to test hypotheses around factors relating to church growth.
In depth profiling of a sample of growing churches (from a wide variety of contexts and traditions) and a randomly selected control group. It will involve a comprehensive investigation into the wide range of factors which might encourage or prevent growth.
A study of factors relating to growth at cathedrals, church planting and the impact of amalgamation of benefices and the use of different patterns of deployment of ministers.
The focus for the new research project is based on the Archbishop of Canterbury's strategic goals to the new General Synod in 2010 - to take forward spiritual and numerical growth in the CofE for all communities.
The new research programme is part of a wider area of work around research and development (2011-13).
That sound you can hear is me picking myself up off the floor.
In part this reflects what's happening on the ground - there's an excellent Diocesan strategy in Sheffield, based around church growth, and initiated by Steve Croft. But it's great to see the beginnings of national leadership on this issue.
....though I'm still not sure if the above is an advert or a press release. It's not clear who any potential researchers are supposed to contact, if they're interested in being part of the project.