A mission-shaped strategy allows churches to do more with what they have. Lawrence Heath-Moore reports
The primary cause of church decline is not secularisation or the sea changes in social habits: it is that Christianity today no longer looks like Jesus. Research shows that millennials (20s-30s) in particular see churches as old-fashioned, irrelevant, conservative, judgmental and anti-LGBT+.
However, these same people really rate Jesus! He has lost none of his street cred, while the institutional Church, which claims his name, is preoccupied with its own survival and flourishing, rather than that of the world. At the same time, those churches that recognisably share Jesus’ values and practices are welcomed and celebrated.
Since 2017, the United Reformed Church’s North Western Synod has been attempting to refocus and move every area of church life from a survivalist strategy to missional living. The vision is to create ‘Jesus-shaped churches, full of Jesus-shaped people, making a Jesus-shaped difference to lives and communities. Missional Discipleship is not a strategy for managing decline, but a process of renewal and growth in faithful discipleship and mission…
Lawrence Heath-Moore is Mission and Discipleship Mentor for the United Reformed Church’s North West Synod. The missional partnership video is available online at bit.ly/missionVideo
This is an extract from an article published in the May 2023 edition of Reform