Steve Leach, a Pioneer Ordinand in this diocese, has written on the subject of Fresh Expressions and young people in Premier Youthwork magazine. Here’s what he has to say:
Lots of churches are great. Lots of congregations which meet to worship in buildings up and down the land are genuinely forming communities of equipped disciples who are working, together with the Holy Spirit, for the transformation of the world. Many have a good spread of ages, are growing, and seeing the kingdom come in their communities.
Unfortunately, lots of churches are less great. Hopefully you are involved with and know of exceptions to the norm, but the general trend of Church decline and aging in the UK is both undeniable and devastating. There are a plethora of sad looking graphs confirming this.
The reality is that we live in a time of incomparable change. This side of the industrial revolution, the world wars and the digital revolution, the only thing for certain is that change is here to stay. In the midst of this turbulence we can take great comfort from the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever but this does not mean, as some presumably assume, that church should remain unchanged. A changing world needs a changing Church. The vast majority of the churches in the UK basically operate in a format that is hundreds of years old, with the best of them only achieving relatively minor cosmetic changes to service style, language and music. This might be a bold statement, but unless we re-find our story and discard the baggage unquestioningly inherited, which was designed by prior generations and is no longer fit for purpose, we are destined for extinction. Like David refusing to fight in Saul’s heavy bronze armour, a fresh look at a stalemate might just be exactly what the Spirit is requiring.
You can read the rest of the article on the Premier Youthwork website.