|Lockdown is loosening right across the UK, sparking many questions about the future of our country. We at the Evangelical Alliance believe that the UK church has a vital role to play as we rebuild a renewed society.
On Sunday, our CEO Gavin Calver and Yemi Adedeji, director of our One People Commission, joined Steve Clifford, our former general director, and many others to lead a national day of prayer. We seek to lay the foundations now for what is to come, and this is one of the reasons we carried out our church and organisation survey.
Thank you so much to all who took part – almost 1,000 churches and organisations responded. We have been analysing the responses and hope to have a full report out next week, which we will be able to share with you. For now, here are a few headlines:
- 59% of churches say that since the start of the lockdown they have seen an increase in people interested in finding out more about Jesus and the Christian faith.
- 11% of churches say that since the start of lockdown they have seen an increase in people making first-time commitments to follow Christ.
- 88% of churches are working to meet the needs of vulnerable people.
- Of these churches, 72% are working in partnership with either local authorities, other churches or charities.
This confirms the pattern that we’re seeing in other polling and in the stories we are hearing: in this moment, many people are interested in hearing about Jesus and making a commitment to follow Him. Phil Knox, our head of mission to young adults, is leading a weekly session on Facebook on how to share our faith with our friends. There has never been a better time, so we encourage you to check it out.
The consistent theme of the survey is that the church has increased many of its services and is ready and willing to do more. The Dominic Cummings story has got a great deal of attention and shows how fractured and contentious things could become as the restrictions are eased further.
We are to be a calm, clear and hopeful voice. Churches will not be hasty in reopening, because we were never closed. Of course, we look forward to physical gatherings, and we will be creative in doing so, but we will prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable. Ours is a story of goodness, suffering, encounter, lament, death, resurrection and ultimately hope – in the person of Jesus.
Let’s keep contending for more.