The Church of England headquarters in London have released videos showing passionate Christians, men and women from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on down, share passionately about taking the message of Jesus Christ onto the streets of England.
This is part of a new initiative by the Church of England, under the leadership of the Archbishops of Canterbury and of York focused on sharing the Good News.
The new program which is “Renewal and Reform,” is a bold new attempt by bishops and laity to reverse the long-running decline of the Church of England which, according to latest figures released earlier this year saw the number of people attending Church of England services each week falling below 1 million for the first time. It involves a series of videos sharing new ways to evangelize using digital strategies and other ways of sharing the Good News.
However, for the man whose vision has made this new strategy possible, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, it is really not about reversing decline at all. Nor is it about getting more people in the pews – or on cushioned chairs, as in many cases they now are.
“It’s nothing to do with survival strategies or rebuilding the numbers in the Church,” he said.
“It’s that we have found and experienced the love of God in such transforming power, in ourselves and in our communities, in our households, in all those around, that we want others to find the hope, the security, the reality, the challenge, the excitement of following Jesus Christ as his disciple.”
Archbishop Welby explains further: “Witness to who Jesus is and seeking to bring others to know him, what we often call evangelism, is the overflow through us of what God has given us in Jesus Christ.
Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu in addition, said, “Our job is to be out there, on the streets, wherever it is, sharing this amazing message of Jesus: that he actually forgives us our sins, gives us new life in the present and hope for the future.”
Bishop of Burnley Philip North says: “The renewal and reform programme is serious about the major challenges that confront the Church. But it faces those challenges, not with anxiety, but with a real hope, a hope born out of utter confidence that Jesus has won the victory and that the triumph of his love is sure.”
He says this is not some “vague wish list or a letter to Santa”.
These hopes are based in utter confidence in the goodness of God.
“We can at times fall into the temptation of being an anxious Church, worried about our future as an institution. But there’s no place for anxiety in God’s kingdom. The future is hopeful and the renewal and reform programme invites us to embrace that hope for the future, a hope based in the promises of God.”
Two new videos have been published which show how the Church is harnessing new digital strategies to the evangelism imperative.