The present population of the UK is just under 68 million people.
It will be interesting again to see from yesterday’s census what percentage of those see themselves as any kind of Christian. The fall in the ten years before the last one was 12%.
Some Christians will want to put the best possible shine on the numbers so we can punch above our weight and ‘preserve our heritage’ in the political sphere. I’d rather have an accurate view of how many full on, all-in disciples of Jesus there are, because ticking Christian on a census is not going to get you into heaven (or more accurately – get heaven into you).
In 1930 there were 10 million church members. In 2010 5.5 million. The decline was most clearly seen in denominational churches but in general terms Peter Brierley projected decline to 2.5 million by 2025, before the pandemic hit and we had a year mostly online. What’s that going to do?
Where Fear Sees A Crisis
Whatever the stats tell us, the Church is not as big as we may like to think (and we don’t even think it’s very big!). Overestimating/ counting how many people are ‘in church’ or we hope will come back (even if we call it faith or optimism) is akin to economic miscalculations that have triggered previous recessions.
Speaking of which, many churches are of course feeling the pinch financially. The CofE’s giving dropped by £40million last year. Churches were already losing people, especially young people, at precipitous rates, while not winning anything like enough new people to catch up or even keep up with population growth.
However your church is doing, the Big C Church in the UK is smaller, shrinking, and strapped for cash which means…
We have a GREAT opportunity!
As my friend Dave Ferguson says, “Where Fear Sees A Crisis, Faith Sees An Opportunity”
I’m thrilled that Dave and other great leaders will join us at LAUNCH this week so we’ll get to see and seize new hopeful possibilities to reach out wherever God has placed us, rebuild gospel movements and restore the culture of multiplying discipleship that first took the world by storm 2000 years ago and will do so in our generation.
I’m not just talking about how to stop losing ground, but how God plans that we take new leaps forward – to reach those millions here and even more around the world.
I wanted to say today IT’S NOT TO LATE for you to book in now and bring your church or organisation to join us at LAUNCH this Thursday, or add to the booking so you can learn with others. There will be coaching, ideas and inspiration but above all that I guarantee you’ll be able to connect with others who are not just dreaming about how this can happen in our time, but making plans to see God do a new thing – and be part of it!