Saturday, 18 August 2012
New preaching series in the autumn on 1 Peter
As we prepared for that series Steve and I have been reading Gerard Kelly's " Stretch".
It is not an exegesis but it brings out many of the great themes of the book ,especially those that are so relevant for us in the UK today. I mentioned it on this blog; here .
The series has been pretty well received though there is no doubt that many people still find it difficult to re-imagine church for post Christendom.
In the autumn we are going to be looking at 1 Peter which also touches on the theme of a church in exile.
I think it is critical for the UK church to realise where we are now and how seriously the decline in numbers of those attending church is. This is a necessary first step to change and to re-engaging with a lost world (without compromising our faith in any way)
Over the last few years I have read slot of stuff by authors like Alan Hirsch,Alan Roxburgh,Mike Frost Reggie McNeal who seem to have a grip on where church is in the West and how we need to change to reconnect with our culture, for as someone says " If we keep doing things the way we have always done ,we will get the results we have always got"
Church stats show that those results are not great to put it mildly
Europe is the worlds most secular continent and while 72% of the UK population call themselves Christian only 1 person in 20 is in church on any given Sunday,and 70% of people have no intention of going to a church service ever ! (TEAR Fund survey 2007)
As part of the preparation for our autumn series I am reading Everyday Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmins see here.I have read quite a few of their books because they not only have a clear understanding of where the UK church is!(.In fact if you want to understand just how serious the situation is then read Chapter 1 of Everyday Church which gives a very concise summery of the statistics) and how it needs to change they are also practitioners working it out on the ground see here
There maybe people who think I bang this drum of the need for missional church too often and too loudly but so serious is the situation that it is a message that in my view needs to be heard.
As Chester puts it " a farmer cannot blame his crops if he fails to sow and reap Sunday morning in church is the one place evangelism cannot take place for the lost are not there-not until we go out to connect with them where they are,where they feel comfortable ,on their territory.......the bedrock of mission will be ordinary life"