Eddie and Sue Arthur

Christianity in Britain. From the Times

Church attendance in Britain is declining so fast that the number of regular churchgoers will be fewer than those attending mosques within a generation, research published today suggests.

The fall – from the four million people who attend church at least once a month today – means that the Church of England, Catholicism and other denominations will become financially unviable. A lack of funds from the collection plate to support the Christian infrastructure, including church upkeep and ministers’ pay and pensions, will force church closures as ageing congregations die. Read More
The implications of falling church attendance in the UK for supporting world mission are rather worrying.

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4 Comments on “Christianity in Britain. From the Times

  1. Fortunately this report is nonsense. I can’t speak for other denominations, but Church of England attendance has been stable over the last decade at a level twenty times higher than the predicted 2050 figure. And that stability is because the decline of some churches as older people die off is being balanced well by good growth, often among younger people, in a relatively small number of thriving churches. If the C of E can keep its house in order, and the thriving churches don’t allow themselves to be milked dry to support unviable dying churches, then there is no reason to predict decline in the future.

  2. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Lies, damned lies and statistics

  3. Regardless of the accuracy or otherwise of these reports, I’m really interested in your closing sentence.

    I’m interested in your thoughts as someone who would know more than me. What world mission would look like if it wasn’t funded (and run?) by the west.

    Secondly, as an old campaigner (shall we say), do you feel that the church has more or less life in it today than say 20 years ago? One feeling I have is that as rich middle class Christians, we don’t give nearly as much as we could from our incomes, time and prayer. Maybe a committed few might be more productive than a spiritually flabby many?

  4. What world mission would look like if it wasn’t funded (and run?) by the west.

    Dare I suggest, a lot healthier? At least if “run” is the main point of change. Yes, there is a place for western-led pioneer ministry in completely unreached places. But in so many cases even when good churches have been planted westerners continue to run them, if not by direct leadership at least by funding with strings attached. They may be short of funding if westerners pull out, but somehow they can usually manage without it. The churches in Ethiopia and China grew far faster when cut off from the west than the churches in countries swarming with missionaries.

    Meanwhile western churches should be spending their spare money mainly on putting their own house in order – or else on giving without strings.

  5. Secondly, as an old campaigner (shall we say), do you feel that the church has more or less life in it today than say 20 years ago? One feeling I have is that as rich middle class Christians, we don’t give nearly as much as we could from our incomes, time and prayer. Maybe a committed few might be more productive than a spiritually flabby many?

    Less of the old campaigner, Chris. To be honest, I don’t see much change in mainline churches over my life time. You can cite stories about ‘good churches’ but you always could, but the majority have not shifted much except in terms of style. To me the exciting signs in the UK are signs of growth from the edges, I think there is a lot in the emergent/missional/nu-monastic line of thought that has great hope for the church.

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