The Office of National Statistics has published a report highlighting the fact that more people are choosing to leave London in their 30’s than ever before.
The Telegraph reports ‘58,220 people aged from 30 to 39 left the capital between June 2012 and June 2013; a record number, and a ten per cent increase on 2010.’
So where are these people heading? More are heading to Birmingham than anywhere else. The Birmingham Post comments ‘5,480 thirtysomethings left London for Birmingham last year, making it a more popular choice than any other UK city.’
In other words almost 1 in 10 people who leave London, head for Birmingham.
Tom Cullen is one such example why not find out why through his subscription e-mail I choose Birmingham
At our 2020birmingham conference last week I outlined 14 different reasons why UK cities would benefit from city-wide church planting movements and in an earlier post I outlined the first 7 reasons. Here we look at reasons 8-14.
8. The quickest way to reach a city is through a church planting movement of self-reproducing churches.
Churches typically plant churches in isolation, although some churches or networks may be able to plant small organic networks within a city. To reach a city requires a church-planting movement that can only be created by concerted collaboration between churches and networks over a period of time.
Reaching a city requires a self-sustaining movement of church-planting churches, something that has a life of its own. Movement dynamics are only generated and sustained when plants are happening in sufficient number which generates a tipping-point for planting. To change the metaphor what is needed is a concerted effort to generate enough ‘heat’ to sustain a movement. In most UK cities that won’t happen unless we reach outside of existing partnerships to work together. Momentum develops as a city network accelerates church-planting and creates a culture of planting across the churches that becomes infectious and as churches plant, share resources, ideas, recruit planters, train interns most quickly through a vibrant city-network.
Reaching new communities and thinking how to reach more challenging communities can best be done together. In Birmingham the challenge of establishing gospel-communities for every section of society and every people-group seems too big for us as busy churches and pastors – creative collaboration helps overcome inertia when it comes to the bigger challenges.
10. City networks invite and promote partnership with non-Church planting churches
Churches that would not identify themselves as church-planting churches have a role to play in a city network.
- Adopting a church-plant: prayer, giving, sending, training leaders
It also helps partner churches consider whether they might be able to church plant themselves.
11. Working together in cities is a powerful witness to the gospel
Jesus prayed in John 17:20 ‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’
Working with churches that differ from you on secondary issues requires three gospel qualities.
A generosity of spirit – working wherever we can with gospel churches
‘Invisibility’ – City movements do not ‘own’ the church-plants but instead bless and work alongside planters and their plants. That is something that happens quietly and behind the scenes. Members of the plant may not even be very aware of the support and help the planter is receiving. In Birmingham the ‘2020’ label does not appear
Kingdom mind-set – We must get the gospel out and rather than seeing other churches as unwelcome rivals we rejoice in the work the Lord is doing through planting across a city.
13. Working together is a massive encouragement to our congregations
Our experience in Birmingham has been that congregations thrive when churches work together. Many Christians long for greater unity across the churches and
14. Working at a city level allows for local, flexible expressions of partnership
City movement will need to look different from one city to the next. The model for such movements allow for a high degree of flexibility.
2020birmingham will be holding its annual conference on Tuesday 3rd June in Birmingham. At the heart of our commitment to mission is a belief that to reach our cities for Christ we need to see churches planted that in turn will plant churches. We need nothing less than church-planting movements of all shapes and sizes. At our conference this year Richard Coekin of Co-Mission Network in London will share something of a vision to plant 360 congregations in London over 25 years.
But to reach the people of our cities it won’t be enough even to plant many more churches. To impact our cities we will need churches established that can creatively engage with the gospel across culture, class, ethnicity and every sphere and interest of life. The focus of this year’s conference will be to ask what might it look like for church-planting movements to engage our communities and impact our cities for Christ
If you live in a UK city (or have a heart for our cities) and want to think through what it might look like for you to work towards a church-planting movement where you are then why not join us. If you want to consider what it might look like for your church to engage through social action, the arts, politics and more then this could be a good place to meet with others who are also seeking to engage their communities in this way.
Here’s a short video introducing our conferences.
I have become all things to win all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Cor. 9:22-23 (NIV 2011).
1. Birmingham has enjoyed the greatest increase in ‘life satisfaction’ of any major UK over the past year (Table 17 – Life satisfaction change)
2. The city created 15,400 new jobs in the private sector between 2010-12; only London and Edinburgh figured better (Figure 3: Private and public sector job creation)
3. Birmingham has the 4th lowest employment rate of any UK city (Table 5: Employment rate)
4. It has the second highest level of inequality of any city in the UK (Table 12 – Disparities within cities)
5. Birmingham is one of the 10 cities with the highest percentage of no formal qualifications (Table 10 – Residents with no formal qualifications)
Here’s a summary of Brad Lomenick’s take on the next generation of leaders in the church and his reasons for optimism.
- Passion for God
- Willing to work together
- Don’t care who gets the credit
- Generosity and sharing are the new currencies
- They understand the holistic responsibility of influence
- Authenticity wins
- Not willing to wait
- See social justice as the norm
- Seeking wisdom and mentors
- A change the world mentality
(HT: Matt Perman)
We hope you like our new 2020birmingham video setting out our vision for 20 churches over 10 years told in 6 minutes.
1. 4.3 million people live within an hour’s commute of Birmingham centre
2. Birmingham has the youngest population of any city in Europe with 38% under the age of 25
3. Birmingham has twice the working age population of Manchester (638,200 as against 329,900)
4. 10,000 people are added the population of Birmingham every year
5. In 2011 census, for the first time ever, less than half the city’s population self-defined as Christian. 46.1% of Birmingham residents said they were Christian, 21.8% Muslim and 19.3% had no religion.
6. Between 2001 and 201 the population has increased by almost 90,000 – a growth of 9.1%. That’s 200 people a week!
7. Birmingham has the largest student population outside of London at 65,000.
8. Only 6% of the population of Birmingham ever go to church
9. 57% of the Birmingham’s under 11’s are from a variety of ethnic minorities
10. Birmingham has the highest unemployment rate of any major UK city – 10.3%
Europe’s largest public library opens in Birmingham on the 2nd September. Here are some photos along with a BBC interview.
(HT: Chris Green)
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