Archbishops of Canterbury and York warn of Anglican collapse

John Sentamu

From John Bingham at the Daily Telegraph:

The Church of England will no longer be able to carry on its current form unless the downward spiral its membership is reversed “as a matter of urgency”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have warned.

It could face a dramatic shortage of priests within a decade as almost half of the current clergy retire, according to the Most Rev Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu.

Meanwhile dwindling numbers in the pews will inevitably plunge the Church into a financial crisis as it grapples with the “burden” of maintaining thousands of historic buildings, they insisted.

But the two archbishops also called for the Church to invest more in building up its presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to get its message across online as part of a “major programme of renewal and reform”.

Sunday attendances have halved to just 800,000 in the last 40 years – although the Church has previously claimed the decline has been levelling off in recent years.

Every year the figures are released, reports are written, and statements are made.

One thing for sure, this is not the solution:

If the Church of England is to return to growth, there is a compelling need to realign resources and work carefully to ensure that scarce funds are used to best effect.

Nor is this:

Last year The Rt Rev Christopher Goldsmith, the Bishop of St Germans, in Cornwall, warned that the church in the areas was facing a “death spiral” unless parishioners put more money in the offering plate.

This is not the real problem:

[The Archbishops] said the Church’s current arrangements for deciding each diocese’s allotment of clergy and cash are increasingly viewed as out of date and widely ignored.

Nor is this:

There is no central investment in reaching out into the digital and social media world.

No answer here:

The burden of church buildings weighs heavily and reorganisation at parish level is complicated by current procedures.

Perhaps it’s time for General Synod to reconsider progress on Challenges for the Quinquennium. That makes 21 things to do while you’re not multiplying disciples and churches.





Hudson and Maria

Hudson Maria Taylor

I’ve been captivated by the story of Hudson and Maria Taylor.

It’s a love story and an adventure story intertwined with one of the most significant breakthroughs in the spread of the gospel beyond the boarders of Western Christendom.

It’s the stuff great movies are made of. Yes I cried and yes I was inspired.

Lessons if you’re single and trusting God for a partner who shares your vision for multiplication movements.

Lessons if you’re married with a family. The joys and the cost.

Lessons for aspiring movement pioneers.

“Hudson Taylor And Maria: A Match Made in Heaven (History Maker)” (John Pollock)

Paris every day


Our attention has been rightly focused on events in Paris recently. But spare a thought and a prayer for those who face persecution daily without the protection of an impartial and effective police force.

They have been burning churches and murdering Christians again in Niger. You’d think that they’d have more immediately pressing concerns than worrying about a cartoon, Niger regularly winning the award for being the worst country anywhere on God’s earth, and the poorest. But nope, it’s kill-a-kuffar time once more. Some 45 churches set alight and at least five people killed and 50 injured. Adherents of the Religion of Peace (© all UK politicians) included in their pyromania a Christian orphanage…


UPDATE: We also need to remember that it’s not only Jews, Christians, and secularists in the firing line. Islam has been divided against itself since the first generation after Muhammad—around 1400 years. The Sunni-Shia divide is at the core of the war in Syria which so far has cost 200,000 lives and displaced 1 million people. Only the Prince of Peace can heal the troubled heart of Islam.

Still learning

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Here we are passing through Bangkok. Visiting our workers. In Bangkok I can recommend the Quest Cafe.

We’ve just come out of India and before that the Middle East. We’ve been in Muslim-majority, Hindu-majority and Buddhist-majority nations. A mixture of learning and helping others learn how to apply movement principles in everyday practice that results in multiplying disciples and churches.

Here’s what I learned from Jeff Sundell—practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice makes perfect.

This is a variation on the principle that they don’t know it unless they can do it.

When you’re training, assume people haven’t got it until they have practiced a new skill six times. When you lead someone to Christ get them to practice sharing the gospel with you right away before they share with their friends and family. When you catch up next, practice again and keep practicing.

When you want a group to become church,  you need to practice what church does. Six times. You model it then what while they do church.

So next time you blame your trainees for “not getting it” ask yourself, did I get them to practice six times?

Here’s an insight from Chuck Wood on helping people reach their relational world/s—oikos mapping.

As soon as someone comes to Christ get them to map their significant relationships. I used to get people just to list them. Mapping is a better way to go. Chuck Wood has produced a video on how to do oikos mapping. Once their relationships are mapped they can pray for each person and begin sharing. They bring the map each week to discipleship and update you on how they are sharing. You pray over the oikos map out they go again. Do that every week and you might just see the gospel reach networks of people rather than just individuals.

So two things you can start doing today—practice every skill six times, everyone has an oikos map and updates it every week.

Movements among students — Berk Wilson [podcast]


Berk and Barbara Wilson

Today we talk to Berk Wilson about multiplying movements among students.


What went wrong at Mars Hill?

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Following the resignation of Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill has announced that it is closing and will dissolve into eleven separate new churches. 

Ben Tertin’s asks, What went wrong at Mars Hill?

David Garrison and Nathan Shank in Georgia


Definitely worth a trip to Georgia to hear David Garrison and Nathan Shank (Feb 25-27, 2015).

There will also be practical training offered in the breakout sessions in multiplying disciples and churches.

Earlybird registration ends January 14.

The silence of the lambs

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David asked an important question

Do you mind if I start a conversation about #2? Don’t train in order to change people priorities. Train people who want to make disciples.

Earlier this year I translated Ying when he was speaking at a service here in Hamburg. After giving some basic training Ying asked for a show of hands who wanted to start sharing the Good News with someone. Only a handful raised their hands.

Ying wasn’t satisfied and shared this analogy (in my own words):
“Imagine David would give me a gift of $10 and I would call my wife in the middle of the night to tell her: ‘Grace, I need to tell you something. David gave me a gift of $10!’ – what would she tell me? Probably ‘Ying, are you crazy to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me this?’” Then Ying continued. “But what would happen, if David gave me a gift of $ 1.000.000 and I would call my wife in the middle of the night to tell her this? She would be excited and thrilled about it.”

Then Ying continued and told the audience: “You have something that is like the one million dollar gift”

After the service I shared with Ying my observation in a lot of churches in Germany. I said to him: “You are right in what you said, but the problem is that many Christians feel that what they have or experience in Jesus is like the $10 gift. They are not excited about what they have. And I wouldn’t be either if I would believe what they have been told in their church experience.” Background to this: We have a lot of legalistic thinking in our churches. People believe, that they need to perform (or behave well) in order for God to love them. (I imagine you would find lots of those in the UK as well)

Ying in a later training started with the Father heart of God. So that people would first change their thinking about God.

So coming back to #2: f I would really only focus on those who want to be trained, I would find only a handful (plus in this handful I would probably also have some who feel they need to share the Gospel, in order to be loved and accepted by God, not BECAUSE they are accepted and loved – which is not helpful either).

What’s your take on this problem?



Here’s my response:


The accepted and loved was definitely not my problem. I had that. The real change occurred when God spoke through my wife Michelle after I wrote my book on Movements. She said, “Great book Steve, but when are you going to do something?” I felt God’s rebuke and his challenge in those words.

Deep down I didn’t think I was any good at sharing my faith. I didn’t think God could use me. The solution was nothing less than faith expressed in obedience. Then came the excitement of seeing God at work and a deeper love for people far from him because they now had names and faces.

Jesus’ command and promise has meant a lot to me since then, “Come follow me, and I’ll teach you to fish for people.”

I think there are a lot of reasons why people don’t share. Not having a vital relationship with Christ is an important one. Following comes first. Then as we step out in fear and trembling Jesus promises to be our teacher.

I also keep in mind that the best evangelists are not experts like me but new disciples.

A simple and clear explanation of movements that multiply disciples and churches

Thanks to Mike for sending the link.

When it comes to training, what’s true north?

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As I mentioned, we’re learning a lot about training and mobilising in the short time we’ve been in the UK.

Here’s a few lessons that point to true north when it comes to training.

  1. Train just enough to get people started in the harvest.
  2. Don’t train in order to change people priorities. Train people who want to make disciples.
  3. The more people apply, the more training and input they receive.
  4. Let the stories of what God is doing attract others to the training.
  5. Start training with the basic skills, not movement principles.
  6. After people start doing something it’s time to teach them movement principles. Not before.
  7. Stay in touch after the training and look for those who are quick to do something. Give them your time.
  8. Don’t make enemies. Give people permission to opt in (or out) at the level for which they are ready.
  9. The end game is a team of people who want to make disciple and mobilise others.
  10. Train broadly to find the people you need to go deep with.