Last week the Church of England published an excellent short report on the reasons churches grow and decline (mainly in numerical terms). You can read or download the report here, and here is a video about it from the Church Army, especially about Fresh Expressions of Church:
While not all of the research can be translated into the context of another denomination, such as Methodism (we don’t have too many official ‘cathedrals’), there are some clear challenges for us. For example: two inhibiting factors are an inconsistent approach to worship and a minister leading more than one congregation. The system of the Circuit Plan can lead to worship styles changing from week to week, and it is common for ministers to have pastoral charge of more than one church.
What signs of hope and challenge do you find in the report?
For the second year running, the Methodist Church is encouraging churches to give towards Mission In Britain on the first Sunday in Advent. It isn’t always the easiest Sunday for many churches to choose, since for many years it has been a popular Sunday for churches to hold ‘toy services’, where gifts of toys are distributed to the children of needy families – perhaps through the Salvation Army, or maybe through something like Prison Fellowship‘s Angel Tree project. However, churches can choose other Sundays of the year on which to support Mission In Britain.
In the meantime, here is a video in support of this year’s campaign, and here are resources for worship. May these not only inspire us to give, but also to be involved actively in mission ourselves.
Compass is a new eight-session introductory course on Christian basics.
What makes it different from Alpha, Christianity Explored and all the rest? Answer: it has some distinctly Methodist emphases.
Interested? See here for the press release.