Rev. Professor Philip Hughes

Rev. Professor Philip Hughes

Research Fellow, Chair of Human Research Ethics Committee
Melbourne Campus

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 began working with Harvest Bible College in 2015 to assist with the development of the Doctorate of Ministry degree program. He has continued teaching research methods with Alphacrucis where he is now a Sessional Lecturer and is currently also supervising eight doctoral students.

Professor Philip Hughes has postgraduate degrees in philosophy, theology and education, has undertaken many empirical studies in the areas of religion, values, and personal and communal wellbeing. For many years Philip Hughes 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.

He is particularly interested in the relationship between Christianity to culture, and has done studies of youth, rural and immigrant cultures in Australia. He has written many books on religious faith in Australia, on ministry and on religious education.


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


  • 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. .
  • 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., Howe, B. (2003). Spirit of Australia II: Religion and Citizenship in National Life. AFT Press: Adelaide.
    • Hughes, P.J., Black, A., Kaldor, P., Bellamy, J., Castle, K. (2003). Profiling Australians: Social and Religious Characteristics of the Population. NCLS Research: Sydney.
  • 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., Burke, D. (1996). The Presbyterians 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., Bentley, P. (1996). The Uniting Church 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., Godley, S. (1996). The Eastern Orthodox in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
    • 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 Pentecostals in Australia. Australian Govt. Pub. Service: Canberra, ACT.
    • Hughes, P.J.(1996). The Baptists 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). Proclamation and Response: A Study of the Christian Faith in Northern Thailand. Payap University: Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    • Hughes, P.J.(1989). The Australian Clergy. Christian Research Association: Sydney.

Book Chapter

  • 2016
    • Hughes, P.J.(2016). Contemporary Spirituality and Mission in Australia In Jackson, D. and Cronshaw, D. (editors), Cultural Diversity and Worship in Baptist Life (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

  • 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). Measuring the Fruit of the Spirit: Are Christians Really Different from Others?. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 4 1-18.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2018). Providers of Religious Services in Australia. Pointers, 28, no. 2.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2018). Theology and Social Sciences in Ministry Research. Journal of Contemporary Ministry,  37-57.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2018). Volunteering and Change in Religious Involvement. Pointers, 28, no. 4.
    • 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). Religion and Volunteering through Groups and Organisations. Research Notes: Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 4 1-10.
    • 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 Impact of Faith on Society: Some Global Perspectives. Pointers, Vol.25, no.2 6-11.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). The Future(s) of Religion. Pointers, Vol.25, no.2 12-14.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). Migrant Families and Churches. Pointers, Vol.25, no.3 1-8.
    • 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). Edward Bailey and Implicit Religion. Pointers, Vol.25, no.2 15-16.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). The Multi-Dimensional Issue of Culture and Christian Ministry. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, No. 1.
    • Hughes, P.J.(2015). Why Young People are Leaving the Church. Pointers, Vol. 25, no.1 1-7.

Creative Production or Composition

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


Academic Conference

  • 2019
    • Youth and Church in the Age of Experience (2019), International Society for the Sociology of Religion, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, 28 Aug 2019
  • 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

  • 2019
    • Hughes, P J (2019). Denominationalism Today. Pointers, 29(1) 1-7.

Book Review

  • 2018
    • Hughes, P. J, (2018). Two Elephants in the Room: Evolving Christianity and Leadership by John Bodycomb. Pointers, 28, no. 4.

Popular Article

  • 2019
    • Hughes, P J (2019). Spiritual but not Religious. Pointers, 29(2)1-7.

Other Publication

  • 2001
    • Hughes, P. J., Black, A. (2001). The Identification and Analysis of Indicators of Community Strength and Outcomes, Department of Family and Community Services.

Professional Memberships

International Society for the Sociology of Religion (since 2005)

Lausanne Network of International Researchers (since 2005)

Society for Scientific Study of Religion (since 2019)

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