The Messy Church movement was set up by the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) 15 years ago, offering mainly families and children food, activities such as arts, crafts and sports and worship. The movement has spread across the world, with churches meeting on Saturdays and weekdays as well as Sundays.
A grant of £100,000 has been awarded to the Church of England's Evangelism and Discipleship Team to study deepening the discipleship of Messy Church congregations.
Dave Male, director of the team told Premier what the outcome of the research could be.
"Deepening the discipleship is really helping people in their journey of faith and learning how that might be applicable for families who come to Messy Churches. Part of the research will be saying what the most effective ways of doing that is," he said.
"It could include things like online help, face to face conversations, developing younger leaders, social action, mentoring, and a whole host of things."
Insights from the work will be used to help the Church of England inform the ongoing work of developing new forms of church gatherings – known as 'Fresh Expressions' – in the Church of England.
A recent Church of England background paper found that 50,000 people attend 2,000 Messy Churches in Anglican churches who do not normally engage with their church.
The Church Army published research earlier this year showing that one in five – or 21 percent - of Messy Churches had held baptisms and 13 percent reported child or adult confirmations.
Lucy Moore, Messy Church Founder and team leader, said: "We're looking forward to working together with the pioneering teams in each diocese to find out what approaches make the most difference in coming closer to Christ, walking in his way and growing the kingdom of heaven.
"It's an unmissable opportunity for local teams to benefit from expert advice and take part in something of international significance."
The study will be focused on Messy Churches in Bristol, Durham and Hereford dioceses.
Listen to Dave Male speaking with Premier's Tola Mbakwe here:
Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.