Eddie and Sue Arthur

Where to look for information on the church in the UK

I was recently asked by a British colleague who works in Africa which websites he should look at for information about Church trends in the UK. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on the subject.

Church Websites:

The truth is that Church websites generally don’t give much information on anything other than the activities of their particular congregation and this isn’t much use if you want to get a broader picture. That being said, here are a few churches that I have had some sort of connection with.

Publications
A better place to look for general church information is the printed press; Christianity Magazine, Evangelicals Now and Evangelical Times all have websites as do, I’m sure, a whole host of other magazines I’ve never heard of.

The Blogsphere
However, the best place to get information on the UK church, in my view, is from individuals who keep their own websites or blogs and who update them on a regular basis with a variety of types of information, these sites are generally a good source of links to other websites. There are three sites that I visit most regularly for information:

  • Andrew Jones: A blog which concentrates on missional/emergent church issues. Andrew is a very thoughtful writer and often pulls together lots of ideas and opinion on a given topic which he calls the skinny.
  • Adrian Warnock: Adrian comes from a New Frontiers background and runs a very authoritative blog dealing with more traditional church settings. It is an interesting reflection on the changes in the UK church that I would class New Frontiers as being a traditional setting – I don’t think I’d have done that five or six years ago.
  • Dave Burke: Dave sits somewhere between the other two in terms of his approach to church and mission. His website has less by way of comment on trends and church news than the others, but there is some good thoughtful material and some excellent links (and he links to the Kouya Chronicle, unlike the other two!).
  • An honourable mention must go to Andrew Hamilton for his excellent website, Backyard Missionary. It has a lot to say about trends in the Church, but as he’s based in Australia, it doesn’t quite fit in the title of this post.

Others

These are sites for groupings of churches of various persuasions and types. You get a good look at the surface issues from these sites, though the bloggers I’ve mentioned above (and the ones they link too) dig deeper and give more insight for the future.

This post is more than a year old. It is quite possible that any links to other websites, pictures or media content will no longer be valid. Things change on the web and it is impossible for us to keep up to date with everything.

5 Comments on “Where to look for information on the church in the UK

  1. Hey
    Thanks for the link
    Am surprised you would call newfrontiers “traditional”. Can you elaborate?

  2. Hi Adrian,
    Until recently, the big issue in the Evangelical Church was the charismatic/non-charismatic split and NFI would very much have been on the radical edge of that division. However, I think that the importance of this division has is decreasing as time moves on.

    There is, however, a new cutting edge in the church as the whole aspect of being ‘missional’ becomes more into focus. Groups like the Anabaptist Network, Crowded House and such are pushing the boundaries of how the church relates to society. For me, the big question in the church today is between those who are basically attractional (which is where most NFI or FIEC groups would sit) and those who are being consciously missional.

    These are, of course, generalisations and need to be accepted as such.

  3. That’s an interesting point, re: attractional vs missional – I’d have never thought of it like that before!

    It is interesting watching the Crowded House network develop (albeit from a distance) here in Sheffield though, their most recent move being to amalgamate two of their small churches into one bigger church with more resources. Would you see this as becoming more attractional than missional? I’ve never heard the distinction made before so am interested in your point of view!

    I am very excited that I will soon be joining you in Southampton, to help start a new Newfrontiers church. We’re looking forward to coming and having good relationships with those already in the city.

  4. Hi Luke,

    I was really excited to hear on the grapevine that NFI were looking at starting a new Church in Southampton. Welcome! May the Lord bless you as you move forward with this. We look forward to hearing more.

    I don’t know enough about Crowded House to comment on their situation, so I’ll avoid the temptation of doing so. The people who make give the best explanation I know of the attractional versus missional distinction are Frost and Hirsch in their superb book, the Shaping of Things To Come. There’s a link to it in our Amazon section if you want to take a look. I also linked to a good blog post on the subject here: https://www.kouya.net/?p=75

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