Rev Professor Philip Hughes

Rev Professor Philip Hughes

Emeritus Professor of Sociology

Professor Philip Hughes was a senior research officer with the Christian Research Association (CRA) from its foundation in 1985 until 2016 and has been appointed as an approved researcher by the CRA. He joined Harvest Bible College in 2015 before becoming a research professor at Alphacrucis, and chair of the Human Research Ethics Committee. Now retired, he is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and continues to work in the field of the sociology of religion in Australia.

Professor Hughes has postgraduate degrees in philosophy, theology and education, and has done extensive empirical research in the areas of religion, values, and personal and communal wellbeing. He is particularly interested in the relationship between Christianity and culture. For many years he was a research fellow at the Centre for Social Justice Research, Edith Cowan University. He is also an honorary research fellow with the University of Divinity.


D.Theol. (South-East Asia Graduate School of Theology)
Dissertation Title Christianity and Culture: A Case in Northern Thailand 1983

M.Ed. (University of Melbourne)
Dissertation Title ;New Being' and Religious and Moral Education 1977

M.A. (University of Melbourne)
Dissertation Title Decisions of Life-Style 1974

B.D.(Hons) (Melbourne College of Divinity) 1976

B.A.(Hons) (University of Melbourne) 1972

Current Research

Changes in the nature of religion and spirituality in the Australian context

Volunteering and religion


Religion and society


  • 2023
    • Hughes, P. (2023). Australia’s Religious and Non-Religious Profiles: Analysis of the 2021 Census Data. Christian Research Association: Melbourne. | External link
  • 2019
    • Bilimoria, P., Bapat, J., Hughes, P. (2019). The Indian Diaspora: Hindus and Sikhs in Australia (2nd edition). Melbourne: Manticore Publishing.
  • 2017
    • Hughes, P.J.(2017). Educating for Purposeful Living in a Post-Traditional Age. Christian Research Association: Melbourne.
  • 2016
    • Hughes, P. J., Reid, S., Fraser, M., (2016). A Vision for Effective Youth Ministry: Insights from Australian Research. .
    • Hughes, Philip J. (2016). Charting the Faith of Australians: Thirty Years in the Christian Research Association. Melbourne, VIC: Christian Research Association.
  • 2014
    • Hughes, P.J., Fraser, L. (2014). Life, Ethics and Faith in Australian Society: Facts and Figures. Christian Research Association: Melbourne.
  • 2013
    • Hughes, P.J., Cronshaw, D. (2013). Baptists in Australia: A Church with a Heritage and a Future. Christian Research Association: Melbourne.
  • 2012
    • Hughes, P.J., Fraser, M., Reid, S. (2012). Australia's Religious Communities: Facts and Figures. Christian Research Association: Melbourne.
  • 2010
    • Hughes, P.J.(2010). Shaping Australia's Spirituality: A Review of Christian Ministry in the Australian Context. Mosaic Press: Melbourne.
    • Hughes, PJ, Kaldor, P., Black, A. (2010). Spirit Matters: How Making Sense of Life Affects Wellbeing. Mosaic Press: Melbourne.
  • 2008
    • Hughes, P.J.(2008). The Spirituality of Teachers in Catholic Schools: Project Report. John Garratt Publishing: Melbourne.
  • 2007
    • Hughes, P.J.(2007). Putting Life Together: Findings from Australian Youth Spirituality Research. .
    • Hughes, P.J., Black, A., Kaldor, P., Bellamy, J., Castle, K. (2007). Building Stronger Communities. University of New South Wales Press: Sydney.
  • 2003
    • Hughes, P.J., Black, A., Kaldor, P., Bellamy, J., Castle, K. (2003). Profiling Australians: Social and Religious Characteristics of the Population. NCLS Research: Sydney.
    • Hughes, P.J., Howe, B. (2003). Spirit of Australia II: Religion and Citizenship in National Life. AFT Press: Adelaide.
  • 2002
    • Hughes, P.J., Black, A., Kaldor, P., Bellamy, J., Castle, K. (2002). Why People Don’t Go to Church. Openbook: Adelaide.
  • 2001
    • Hughes, P.J., Bond, S (2001). Chaplaincy in Uniting Church Schools. Uniting Education: Melbourne.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2001). Working in the Anglican Church: Experiences of Female and Male Clergy. Standing Committee of General Synod, The Anglican Church of Australia: Sydney.
  • 2000
    • Hughes, P.J., Emmett, J. (2000). Making Disciples: A Survey of Christian Education in UCA Congregations. Uniting Church Press: Melbourne.
  • 1996
    • Hughes, P.J., Pryor, R., Thompson, C., Bouma, G.D.(1996). Believe It or Not: Australian Spirituality and the Churches in the 90s. Christian Research Association: Melbourne.
    • Hughes, P.J.(1996). The Baptists in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
    • Hughes, P.J., Godley, S. (1996). The Eastern Orthodox in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
    • Hughes, P.J., Adam, E. (1996). The Buddhists in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
    • Hughes, P.J., Schild, M. (1996). The Lutherans in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
    • Hughes, P.J., Burke, D. (1996). The Presbyterians in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
    • Hughes, P.J., Bentley, P. (1996). The Uniting Church in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
    • Hughes, P.J.(1996). The Pentecostals in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
  • 1992
    • Hughes, P.J., Bentley, P., Blombery, T. (1992). Faith without the Church? Nominalism in Australian Christianity. Christian Research Association: Melbourne.
  • 1990
    • Hughes, P.J., Blombery, T. (1990). Patterns of Faith in Australian Churches. Christian Research Association: Melbourne.
  • 1989
    • Hughes, P.J.(1989). The Australian Clergy. Christian Research Association: Sydney.
    • Hughes, P.J.(1989). Proclamation and Response: A Study of the Christian Faith in Northern Thailand. Payap University: Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Book Chapter

  • 2016
    • Hughes, P.J.(2016). Contemporary Spirituality and Mission in Australia In Jackson, D. and Cronshaw, D. (editors), Cultural Diversity, Worship and Australian Baptist Church Life: New Wineskins Volume 2 (pp. ). Morling Press: Macquarie Park.
  • 2015
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). Teenage Participation in Local Church Life: Multiple Doors In edited by A. Village and R. W. Hood Jr., Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (pp. 40-56). Brill: Leiden.
  • 2013
    • Hughes, P.J.(2013). Bible engagement among Australian young people In Pauline Hoggart, Fergus Macdonald, Bill Mitchell and Knud Jorgensen, Bible in Mission (pp. 200-207). Wipf and Stock: Oxford.
  • 2010
    • Hughes, P.J.(2010). The Religiosity of Youth in Australia and Thailand In Giuseppe Giordan (editor), Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion (pp. ). Brill.
  • 2009
    • Hughes, P.J.(2009). Spiritual confidence and its contribution to wellbeing: Implications for education In M. de Souza, L. J. Francis, J. O'Higgins-Norman, D. G. Scott (editors), International Handbook of Education for Spirituality, Care and Wellbeing (pp. 907-920). Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
  • 2008
    • Hughes, P.J.(2008). Hinduism in Australasia In D. Cush, C. Robinson and M. York (ed), Encyclopaedia of Hinduism (pp. ). Routledge: London.
  • 2006
    • Hughes, P.J.(2006). The Future of Religious Education in the Context of Postmodernity In Souza, K. Engebretson, G. Durka, R. Jackson and A. McGrady (eds), (pp. 349-362). Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
  • 2005
    • Hughes, P.J., Black, A. (2005). Social Capital and the Sustainability of Rural or Remote Communities: Evidence from the Australian Community Survey In A. Dale and J. Onyx (ed.), A Dynamic Balance: Social Capital and Sustainability Community Development (pp. 159-175). UBC Press: Vancover.
  • 2000
    • Hughes, P.J., Black, A., Kaldor, P., Bellamy, J. (2000). Dropping out of church: the Australian Experience In Leslie J. Francis and Yaacov J. Katz (eds), Joining and Leaving Religion: Research Perspectives (pp. ). Gracewing: Leonminster, England.

Journal Article

  • 2021
    • Hughes, PJ (2021). Do Religion and Spirituality Make a Contribution to the Public Good? The Association of Religion and Spirituality with Volunteering. Journal of the Academic Study of Religion, 34(1) 96-121.
  • 2019
    • Hughes, P.J.(2019). The Churches’ Role in Volunteering in Urban and Rural Contexts in Australia. Rural Theology: International, Ecumenical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 17 (1) 18-29.
  • 2018
    • Hughes, P.J.(2018). Providers of Religious Services in Australia. Pointers, 28, no. 2.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2018). Measuring the Fruit of the Spirit: Are Christians Really Different from Others?. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, No. 4 29-46.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2018). Theology and Social Sciences in Ministry Research. Journal of Contemporary Ministry,  37-57.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2018). Marriage, family life and Faith. Pointers, 28, no. 1.
  • 2017
    • Hughes, P.J.(2017). Theology and Social Sciences in Ministry Research. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 3 37-57.
  • 2015
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). The Future(s) of Religion. Pointers, Vol.25, no.2 12-14.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). The Economic Impact of Religion in Australian Society: Possibilities and Challenges in Its Measurement. Pointers, Vol.25, no.2 1-5.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). Why Young People are Leaving the Church. Pointers, Vol. 25, no.1 1-7.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). Edward Bailey and Implicit Religion. Pointers, Vol.25, no.2 15-16.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). Migrant Families and Churches. Pointers, Vol.25, no.3 1-8.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). The Multi-Dimensional Issue of Culture and Christian Ministry. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, No. 1.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). The Impact of Faith on Society: Some Global Perspectives. Pointers, Vol.25, no.2 6-11.

Creative Production or Composition

  • 2015
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). Research Methods for Ministry and Mission (2nd edition). Christian Research Association, Melbourne.


Academic Conference

  • 2021
    • Do Religious Attenders Have a Problem in Living Alongside People of Other Religions? (2021), Religion in Global/Local Perspective: Diffusion, Migration, Transformation Conference, Online, 12 Jul 2021
  • 2019
    • Youth and Church in the Age of Experience (2019), International Society for the Sociology of Religion, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, 28 Aug 2019
  • 2018
    • To What Extent are Australian Churches Inclusive of Different Social Groups? (2018), Conference for Contemporary Ministry, Victoria, Australia, 07 Sep 2018
  • 2016
    • Synod of Victoria Church and the Changing Australian Context’ (2016), Major Strategic Review Team of the Uniting Church, Victoria, 01 Jan 2016
  • 2015
    • Church and Ministry: A Contemporary Voice Identifying New Models of Church in Contemporary Australia (2015), Harvest Bible College Research Conference, Scoresby, VIC, 27 Aug 2015
    • Measuring the Impact of Christian Faith on Society: A Contribution to Defending the Faith in Western Societies? (2015), 7th Lausanne International Researchers’ Network Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 24 May 2015

Scholarship Publications

Journal Article

  • 2021
    • Bohr, M. & Hughes, P. (2021). Why Gen Y are Leaving Hillsong and Other Pentecostal Churches. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 5. | External link
    • Hughes, PJ (2021). Australians' Attitudes to Other Religions. Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association, 31(1) 1-7.. | External link
    • Hughes, PJ (2021). World-wide Patterns in Attendance at Religious Services. Pointers:, 31(2) 1-6. | External link
  • 2019
    • Hughes, P J (2019). Denominationalism Today. Pointers, 29(1) 1-7.
    • Hughes, P. (2019). Contemporary Political Challenges for Religion in Australia. Pointers, 29 (3) pp.1-7..
  • 2018
    • Hughes, P. (2018). Volunteering and Change in Religious Involvement. Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association, 28(2).
    • Philip Hughes (2018). Religion and Volunteering through Groups and Organisations. Research Notes: Journal of Contemporary Ministry, No 4 (2018) 1-10.
  • 2016
    • Hughes, P. (2016). Providers of Religious Services in Australia in 2016. Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association, 28 (2) 1-10.
    • Hughes, P. (2016). Marriage, Family Life and Faith. Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association, 28 (1) 1-5.

Book Review

  • 2020
    • Hughes, P. J.(2020). Australia Reimagined: A Book for Our Times. Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Associiation, 30 (2) 6-10.. | External link
  • 2018
    • Hughes, P. J, (2018). Two Elephants in the Room: Evolving Christianity and Leadership by John Bodycomb. Pointers, 28, no. 4.

Popular Article

  • 2020
    • Hughes, P. J.(2020). Australia's Changing Religious and Social Profile. Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association, 30 (1)1-6. | External link
    • Hughes, P. J.(2020). Is the Church Liquifying? What is happening to the Church and Christian Faith in Postmodernity?. Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association, 30(3)1-8. | External link
  • 2019
    • Hughes, P J (2019). Spiritual but not Religious. Pointers, 29(2)1-7.

Other Publication

  • 2019
    • Hughes, P. J.(2019). The Axial Age and Religion in Australia Today. | External link
  • 2001
    • Hughes, P. J., Black, A. (2001). The Identification and Analysis of Indicators of Community Strength and Outcomes.

Professional Memberships

Lausanne Network of International Researchers (since 2005)

Society for Scientific Study of Religion (since 2019)