Head in the (quick) sand


I've been collecting historical and statistical data on church planting in Australia for the next1000 initiative.

It's scary.

Not just the findings. . . . What is really scary is the flight from reality by so many denominations. They are intentionally that are hiding from the reality of their decline. Not only do they hide the data from outsiders, they even hide it from themselves.

One denomination has spent the last 96 years adding just 700 people to its committed membership.

Another has lost half of its constituency in the last 30 years and will lose another half in the next 15 years.

But it's not just the declining mainline churches that are hiding.

I met with a leading researcher recently who told me there were about 3,000 "emerging/missional" groups in Britain. I asked him if these groups were showing a pattern of reaching new people with the Gospel or just recycling disaffected Christians. He assured me they were reaching new people.

I asked him how he knew. He told me there was no evidence but he hoped it was true.

I remain an emerging sceptic.

Jim Collins says, once you confront the brutal facts, the way forward becomes much clearer. But do we have the courage and faith to confront those brutal facts? Or would we rather keep sinking?