Explore and describe church attenders, leaders and experts’ perspectives on the variables that account for flourishing within Catholic, mainline, and conservative Protestant congregations towards arriving at a multi-dimensional understanding of flourishing congregations – an understanding that takes into account similarities and differences within and between Christian traditions.
Identify the conditions and catalysts in flourishing congregations.
Develop a series of case narratives of thriving congregations.
Provide toolkits of resources and assessment instruments, relevant and adaptable to various contexts regardless of location and/or size, that would enable denominations and leadership teams to assess their current reality and move in the direction of flourishing congregations.
Meaningfully generate and disseminate findings to academic audiences.
Share insights and applications of findings with professional and congregational audiences, forming networks of collaborating congregations and church leaders in ways that enhance their ability to flourish.
WHAT ARE WE ASKING
In what ways do varying traditions (e.g. Catholic, mainline, and conservative Protestant) inform and enrich our understanding of flourishing congregations?
Research PHASE ONE
9 Focus Groups
SHARING OUR FINDINGS
Sharing on Social MediaPHASE 1, 2, 3 Avenues to mediate information and conversations between our research team, participants, congregations, religious leaders, and scholars. Ongoing information and updates related to this project News coverage of emerging topics Summaries and suggested resources on flourishing congregations Public events associated with the study Open access to our findings Innovative spaces for people to provide feedback on the project
Partnership CouncilPHASE 1, 2, 3 Group of religious leaders and academics that collaborate to co-create knowledge about flourishing churches. Their role? Hypothesize concerning the factors found in flourishing churches and share their own experiences of the variables that contribute to flourishing in their context Assist with survey question design Help to recruit participants for the surveys Meet annually to discuss research findings, with an eye toward practical implications for churches that seek to flourish
Case StudiesPHASE 3 Within four to six weeks of each site visit - which will include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and participant observation - our research team will prepare a narrative summary of our findings. Congregational leaders will be invited to interact with our observations, aggregation of findings and insights in both written form and an in-person 'dialogue debriefing activity' with view to elaborate on the ‘telling of their story.’
Summit and ForumPHASE 2, 3 In-person gatherings with expert groups, case study church leaders, denominational authorities, congregational leaders, religious scholars and experts. Purpose? Present and discuss project findings Identify indicators of flourishing congregations Develop an instrument to assess congregational flourishing Co-develop/author an edited book containing responses and interpretations of findings from this study, projecting implications and commentary on the state-of-the-art for flourishing congregations in Canada
Assesment ToolsPHASE 3 From the cumulative findings and recommendations gleaned in this study: Develop assessment tools, instruments, and resources to identify indicators of flourishing, for congregations to use to assess and enhance qualities associated with their vitality as thriving communities Provide consultative services to help administer and interpret results as warranted
Presentations & PublicationsPHASE 1, 2, 3 Plans to share the findings from this study include: Academic conference presentations Academic peer reviewed publications (articles, books, chapters) Publications for practitioners (articles, books, chapters) Consultations and guest lectures with practitioners/leaders in church and denominational settings Local and national media venues