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.
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.
- Above Bar Church, Southampton
- Free Grace Baptist Church, Lancaster
- Highfield Parish Church, Southampton (this is one of the best church websites I’ve seen)
- Merland Rise Church, Tadworth
- Sunderland Free Church, Sunderland
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.
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.
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.