Nov 8, 2012
neil

Why your city needs a church-planting movement

On Saturday 100 people from across the city of Birmingham are gathering together to think, pray and plan to reach our city for Christ. It’s the third time we have done this in the past 3 years. Our conference is called How to win a million.

We represent a variety of evangelicals (Anglican, FIEC, Independent, New Frontiers, etc.) and the reason we keep meeting is that we recognise that it will take many more new churches to reach our city for Christ and that collaboration in planting is the way to best achieve this.

Let me offer you five reasons why our city, and almost certainly yours, needs not just for your church to plant but churches to work together to plant so that we can reach a city more quickly and more effectively for Christ.

1. We need new churches to reach a growing population 

The population of England and Wales has grown by 3.7 million people in just the past 10 years. Such a population increase, at 7.1%, represents the greatest increase in a single 10 year period in over one hundred years.

Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe with 37% of the population under the age of 25.

2. We need new churches to replace the many churches that are closing

The total number of churches in the UK fell from 50,231 in 1980 to 47,635 in 2005 a drop of 5.16%, when in the same period the UK population grew from 56.3 Million to 60.2 Million a rise of 6.7%.

3. We need new churches to reach out to our ever more secular cities

A recent study of 64,303 adults in the UK found that of the younger generation: only 38% of the 18-34′s defined themselves as being Christian whilst 53% preferred to describe themselves as having no religion. Whilst the gospel doesn’t change and the message of Christ crucified is our only message we need to find innovative, creative and flexible models of church that best reach a secular culture. New churches have always led the way.

4. We need new churches to reach our religiously diverse cities

In the 2001 census 16.8% of the Birmingham population identified themselves as Muslim. The average for England and Wales is 3.0%. The challenge is obvious and the statistics demonstrate the direction of travel: ever-more diversity! Birmingham had a 30% ethnic minorities population in 2001 and that figure is set to grow.

New communities have entered our cities and reaching them for Christ presents fantastic opportunities!

5. We need new churches that will love and serve our cities rather than retreat from them

In that same study of over 60,000 UK adults

  • 79% agreed that religion is a cause of much misery and conflict in the world today
  • 72% agreed that religion is used as an excuse for bigotry and intolerance
  • 78% agreed that religion should be a private matter 

When 4 in 5 people are deeply suspicious of the presence  of religion in their society there is much that the church must do to demonstrate a commitment to serve and bless our cities.

The challenges are so great and the need so urgent that it compels us to work together under Christ to make his name known.

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