Updated Tuesday afternoon
This week’s Church Times carries a detailed report of the analysis by Mark Hart which was reported on here earlier this week. See Cleric says report on church growth belies the research which also includes a very helpful summary of his criticisms (scroll down to read the bold print part).
There is also a Church Times leader on the subject: Lost in translation but this is available only to subscribers.
The Church Times has now published a further article related to this. See
Madeleine Davies Church growth: Bishop Broadbent rounds on the critics of Reform and Renewal. The entire article should be read, but here’s a snippet:
…Several strands of criticism were addressed, including that put forward by the Revd Dr Hart, Rector of Plemstall and Guilden Sutton, last week (News, 17 April). Dr Hart’s paper, From Delusion to Reality looks critically at From Anecdote to Evidence, the 2014 report that examines evidence for which factors cause churches to grow ( News, 17 January 2014). The Reform and Renewal programme was based on this report. His paper questions self-reported growth figures and a confusion between cause and effect in the list of characteristics associated with growth.
Whether the research basis was reliable was “obviously an important question to ask”, Bishop Broadbent said. “But actually those characteristics are things that come back time and again in both English and German and American research on church growth, and which can be reiterated.”
Mr Hart had admitted that the Church was in decline, Bishop Broadbent said, but “he doesn’t therefore say what you do about the decline, merely that he thinks the analysis might be wrong.”
Dr Paul, who has a degree in mathematics, said that Mr Hart had suggested that “statistically, there is not clear evidence that changing all the levers that we can change is going to reverse the decline in the way we need to do it.
“Well we haven’t got any other levers, so let’s pull the ones we have…”