Accessible and adaptable

Hannah Rich, senior researcher at Theos and author of the GRA:CE research report responds to the evaluation:

I am thrilled to see the impact that the Growing Good course has had and continues to have for church communities across the country.

The potential of social action to lead to holistic growth – congregations growing stronger in faith and deeper in love for of their community as well as numerically – was clearly evident throughout our original research. As this evaluation demonstrates, the course materials have picked up this potential and run with it even more powerfully and impactfully than we might have imagined. The fact that 92% of participating churches have taken action to further integrate social action and discipleship in their context is testament to that.

Our hope for the research and report was that it would reflect something of every local church experience; that any church leader or congregation member who picked it might see their context captured in it. It is great to see that the Growing Good course has continued in this spirit of being accessible to churches of all shapes and sizes and adaptable to their particular situation. I am also really encouraged to see how churches have grown in confidence in their own gifts and in their presence in the community as a result of engaging with the material.

In some ways, the Growing Good research feels like it took place in another world; the final interview was conducted just weeks before the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and long before we could have anticipated the ensuing crises of lockdown, cost-of-living and conflict. However, the results of this evaluation illustrate clearly that the need for the church’s social action, integrated with the wider mission of the church, can be our most powerful and transformative response to a world in crisis.

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