Chris unpacks his thoughts with us of where the church is at in the UK.

Chris Cole FRSA
Chris Cole FRSA

I want to paint on a broad canvas of thought. Give me the time to reflect on what is going on in our nation, spiritually, because if you're a Christian then you are part of the solution. I'm not filling in the detail here, but just bringing to your attention the reality of the larger picture. My motive is that many people who are aware of the Cross Rhythms ministries are into what the church could look like in the future. This is important if we're to plan and position ourselves for the future. The health of our church communities will depend on at least giving some time and energy into this kind of thinking.

In the Tale of Two Cities, Dickens starts this classic with the lines ".. They were the best of times and the worst of times.."

I've often quoted this at various Christian conferences that Kerry and I have shared at because this statement aptly describes the reality of our spiritual journey. I'm amazed at the capacity we have as Christians to maintain hope in hopeless situations, but there comes a time when hope deferred does make the heart grow sick. As I travel the country there is a reality coming about the state of the church in this country which I believe, wholeheartedly, God wants us to shout a message from the roof tops through the vehicle of Cross Rhythms ministry. Like any prophetic message it doesn't tickle the ears, but challenges us all to come out of denial. As Grateful Dead said in the sixties."Denial ain't a river in Egypt, baby."

The message is that the Emperor has no clothes on and the Church in the UK is starting to face up to the reality that she isn't all she is cracked up to be by her members. This statement isn't motivated by condemnation, but by the liberating power of truth. Here, I have to trust that you know the fairytale regarding the Emperors new clothes. It is time to focus on the Christ of the Christianity and not the Christianity of the Christ because unless we truly worship and honour Jesus Christ from our hearts, then the dishonour of the Body of Christ in this country will continue to grow in the UK. Thank God that the universal Church is growing worldwide.

There is much to be encouraged by in the Body of Christ. Initiatives such as Alpha; Spring Harvest; The growth of Christian media initiatives; The Message Trust in Manchester; Faith Works; A more serious approach to prayer; The growth of larger congregations from London, Bradford, Liverpool to Solihull and much, much more. Equally, the other side of the coin is the discouragement of numerical decline in our churches and leadership struggles from the debate in the Anglican Communion on Gay Bishops to secular cultural shifts and pressures which are forcing leadership to re-evaluate how to lead God's people.

If you have a passion for God, then let me encourage you. There has never been a better time for you to be used for the radical change for good. It's a little like finding yourself in a major season of change. This is a time of opportunity where your life really can make a difference. Many quote the phrase 'For such a time as this' from the book of Esther. Whichever way you look at it, it is a time for the Davidic generation to be released from the religion of Saul. Let my people go say's The Lord. It is time to build communities of deep genuine love where every believer is released into his or her God given destiny and purpose. At the same time every believer must recognise the responsibility that he or she has to the whole community. Right's with responsibilities is the balance we need to cultivate. You are not just a pew-filler but a person who is guided and directed by Jesus Christ himself. You have an eternal purpose. Be encouraged.

If any of this resonates with you then give us a call and together we can build a positive future for the Church  CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.