The latest church predictions are in and, guess what, it isn't looking good.
A full report can be found on my 'bishop's' blog and can be accessed here:
In precis, the church is getting older and therefore getting smaller over time. No surprises there really, my generation onwards is largely missing. (I have often thought that two of my great loves, the church and cricket, are both aging and in danger of dying out. Perhaps we need to investigate some form of Twenty20 church?)
Can't help thinking that there are rays of hope, thanks to the grace of God.
- In a national picture where 59% of churches have no kids between 15-19 we do (just) and a few 14 year olds who are keen enough to come to extra meetings. We also had 73 secondary school kids from 12-17 in youth club the other week. Most of them completely unchurched and yet not put off coming by the fact we insist on (lovingly) telling them about Jesus each week.
- Some pupils have set up a Christian Union in the local secondary school and they held the first meeting yesterday lunchtime. It was encouraging to see the ten of them having the courage to come and find out more, including four who don't go to a church.
- On Sunday we had a man make a commitment of faith in the service and two weeks before that a young teen prayed with a couple to do the same.
- We had four adult baptisms this month and more are lined up.
None of this is because any of us are much cop or because we are doing anything different. It's a God thing.
I guess whether the tide is in or out for the church at the moment, or in ten years time, it's clear what we have to do. Carry on regardless. Trust God. And see what happens.