Saturday, September 03, 2005

Unattractive Behaviour

The latest volume (5, I think) of Christian Research's statistics on Christianity in the UK was published today. Broadly speaking, it reiterates the observation of their previous volumes in predicting the demise of Christianity as a visible, public religion by between 2020-40. Executive Director Peter Brierley, who has been compiling church statistics for over 40 years, is quoted in the press as noting, "I hope that these findings concentrate minds in what is becoming a real crisis...The story behind them is how few young people are being attracted to church."

And this, it seems to me, is highly telling. Why should young people be attracted to church at all? The strategy - and underlying attitude - of, "Here we are in the community (whether that is the parish church or even the youth facility); come to us" is highly problematic. By which I'm not opposing high-quality recreational facilities for teenagers built and run by Christian charities in areas where there are no other amenities for the local youth to own; but, as the general strategic thrust, we need to be prepared to abandon our "come to us/our groups, activities" in favour for going to "them," getting involved in what is already taking place in our communities, playing a part in them - as befits disciples of an incarnational Saviour. As such, I'm looking forward to finding out what is going on in and around Cottesloe as much as what is going on in and around St Philip's, Cottesloe.

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