A contributor to the Genevanet list tipped us off regarding the Church Survey UK. It has been around for over a year, but it makes for fascinating reading about the reasons for the decline of the mainstream churches. The aim is flawed since it takes essentially a marketing approach to the problem:
The aim of this committee was simple. It was to investigate and examine exactly what it is that people are wanting from their church. Only when churches discover what ‘the people want’ and provide for those desires will church attendance become appealing.
The makeup of the survey committee was ecumenical. Nevertheless, it seems like it was an honest attempt to understand the problem at least.
It is clear that there is a massive disconnect between what is felt to be necessary by ‘laity’ and the ‘clergy’. Having read the first chapter, it is clear that there are many who are near-blind and desperately want to see clearly, while many of those who lead think they can see but are in fact blind.
There was an interesting comment about housegroups:
Housegroups … urged minsters to recognise the need for clear teaching in the form of apologetics. Replies indicated that house groups now form the backbone of many Irish and UK churches. Hundreds of groups revealed that the main reason for their popularity was not so much ‘fellowship’ as the teaching they provided.
Interesting. Housegroups seem to be a defence against bad teaching and leadership in many churches.
Worth downloading and pondering.
One of the hats I wear is to be a member of the organising committee for Bible Week in Derby (though I will soon remove it for good as I step down). This is a yearly event where we get a speaker to come in and give good quality Bible teaching over successive weekday evenings. This year there has been a great innovation: we have a website! It is pretty simple, set up by my good self. Have a look.
I have long wanted to make the messages more widely available than simply to those attending. Now I can do it. I have just put on mp3 files of the messages from the last two years.
In 2004 Andy Gemmill gave an excellent series of “Studies in Ephesians”. Andy is a minister at Beeston Evangelical Free Church in Nottingham.
In 2005 Edward Lobb spoke on the theme of “Christ the Fulfilment”. Shortly after Bible Week in Derby, Ed moved to Glasgow to become director of Cornhill Scotland. (If you want to hear more of Ed Lobb’s preaching you will find some recordings at the website of St. George’s-Tron Church of Scotland.)
You will find the Bible Week mp3 files of these series’ on this page. What’s more, they’re free! As I get time I will add sermons from previous years. I will notify readers on the Bible Week blog, so you can subscribe to that if you want to know when they are available.
Meanwhile, help yourself!
I preached on Philippians 2:12,13 a couple of Sundays ago at DFC. However, I have since discovered that Eric Alexander preached on the same topic at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia the week before. So, if you want to know how to really do it, go and listen.
(Which reminds me – here’s a vital question that has dogged me for the last couple of decades since James Boice came to the Tron when I was an undergrad – what happened to the other nine?)
The ‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’ page is showing how a rock slab is growing at the Mt St Helens volcano (remember it errupted spectacularly in 1980). Be sure to see the time lapse movie taken over the last few days.
Weird. My postings have dropped to less than one per week, yet the number of readers has not dropped substantially.
I feel a cost/benefit analysis of this lark coming on…
This story seems a bit far fetched.
If it’s true, I’m sorry … but I laughed.
May promises to be an important month for the Church of Scotland on the question of civil partnerships and same-sex relationships. Pray for our brothers who are witnessing to the historic evangelical gospel, and faithfully shephering the sheep in their flocks. One such is David Court, minister at New Restalrig in Edinburgh. His May Parish Newsletter (pdf file) spells out the issues.