1. Our Current Vision
‘Mission Britain’– (www.missionbritain.wordpress.com) Our Vision is to see Church Planting Movements in each of the 12 EU Regions of Britain.
2. Our Major Success
‘Intermission’: Starting in 2009, I (Peter Farmer) have been travelling to 1 region per month for a period of between 7-12 days. This has involved prayer walking, strategic research and meeting and staying with those who have started a simple church in their home, work or leisure.
I have managed to visit around 3-4 churches in each region. Most simple churches I have visited are about 1-2 years old.
The Simple Church UK site’s directory lists names of 70 people involved in simple/house church (although the data needs updating).
Some of these names represent individual simple churches whilst others are small networks. There are many more unregistered simple churches (estimates are approx 40,000 people involved in house/simple churches in the UK).
Our major success this year has been in helping to facilitate networking between otherwise isolated simple churches.
Our City Mission Team has also seen success this year in finding people of peace in our home city of Nottingham and are in the process of coaching and forming evangelistic bible studies/outreach groups in the 9 wards of the city with the hope if these becoming simple churches.
3. Our Greatest Challenge
Britain’s Challenge (the stats below are from ‘Religious Trends’ a statistical analysis of religious practice in Britain):
• 10% of the UK adult population go to church at least weekly.
• 15% attend church at least monthly.
• 26% attend church at least yearly.
• 59% never or practically never go to church (Tearfund 07)
• Between 1998 and 2005, half a million people stopped going to church on Sunday
• Daily Telegraph’s religious affairs correspondent, Jonathan Petre, says “While 1,000 new people are joining a church each week, 2,500 are leaving”
• 6.3% of the population go to church on an average Sunday, compared to 7.5% in 1998
• 29% of churchgoers are 65 or over, compared with 16% of the population
• Sunday churchgoing is declining at 2.3% per year, slightly slower than the 1990s rate of 2.7% per year
• Nearly all Church ‘growth’ is due to immigrants. A massive influx of Polish workers have filled some churches
• “The Roman Catholics have recorded the largest drop […], it has halved over the past sixteen years”
• The drop in the 20-29 age group was 29% (English Church Census 2004)
• ‘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.
• In contrast, the number of actively religious Muslims will have increased from about one million today to 1.96 million in 2035.
• According to Religious Trends, a comprehensive statistical analysis of religious practice in Britain, published by Christian Research, even Hindus will come close to outnumbering churchgoers within a generation. The forecast to 2050 shows churchgoing in Britain declining to 899,000 while the active Hindu population, now at nearly 400,000,
will have more than doubled to 855,000. By 2050 there will be 2,660,000 active Muslims in Britain – nearly three times the number of Sunday churchgoers.
• The crisis is particularly acute for Methodists and Presbyterians, as many worshippers are aged over 65. The report predicts that these churches might well have merged with others by 2030. “The primary cause of the decrease in attendance is that people are simply dying off,” the report says.
• By 2050 there will be just 3,600 churchgoing Methodists eft in Britain, Christian Research predicts. Anglicans will be down to 87,800, Catholics to 101,700, Presbyterians to 4,400, Baptists to 123,000 and independents to 168,000.
Simple Church Challenges:
Many of the simple churches I have visited throughout the UK are very small (between 4-6 people), are made up of Christians who have left traditional/inherited churches (mostly new charismatic churches like Vineyard and Newfrontiers) and are very inward focused. Most groups are also amongst the white middle class.
Churches need to become outward focused, there’s need for greater networking across simple churches, the need for more regional training and home-grown resources and tools, strategic targeting of unreached people groups and greater understanding of multiplication and movement dynamics.
Our greatest challenge in the UK is to see churches birthed amongst the harvest, reaching out to our surrounding communities and seeing multiplication occur at every level.
4. Our Main Strategies
12 Apostles/Regional Strategy Co-ordinators
We are praying that God will network us with those who feel called to see CPM’s in their region. Through travelling this year we have possibly met about 6 people in this respect. We are currently building relationships and exploring ways of encouraging one another.
72 Apostolic/Evangelists Circuiting Counties or Cities
We are also praying for those who have a call to preach and plant churches across a county or city to partner with us in the work (Mission Britain).
City Mission Pioneers
In 2010 we will be training others to go out in 2’s as pioneer prophets, preachers and planters.
We hosted Newforms UK Gathering June 09, a weekend conference with friends and co-workers involved in simple/house/missional church. We are aiming to host a UK gathering each year.
We have set up a Newforms Social Networking site that facilitates communication.
We have just piloted regional training– Newforms Episode 1: Planting Simple Churches that Multiply and hope to launch Newforms Episode 2: Reproducing Disciples, Leaders, Churches, Tribes and Movements in March 2010
Peter J. Farmer