This post by Nigel Coles was originally published at Seventy Two
It is not difficult to see the need for the church to be revived across the UK. The numerical strength of the church has continued to decline to a point where there are currently great swathes of the countryside without any meaningful Christian presence. This is not to suggest the spiritual temperature is any higher in our towns and cities. Whilst it is possible to find vibrant Christian churches in any particular context, they are fewer and serving a greater population than for more than a century.
Whilst the picture is bleak across the board, I see the situation amongst Baptist churches most clearly. We have seen a serious decline across Baptist churches in membership with BUGB since 2000 as a result of churches closing. The number of churches belonging to the BU has declined by 7% and the combined total membership by over 20%. Annual reported baptisms are down by over 50%. Even more sobering is the fact these figures do not fully reflect the impact of the pandemic.
Will you join us in a renewed call to pray for spiritual revival and renewal, as we enter a new year?
Will you give an hour at the beginning of this year, to specifically pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God upon us?
Will you encourage others to join you in giving an hour to pray? I recognise many of you will be responsible for organising times of prayer at the beginning of this year for the church you are part of, so please promote this need to refocus our prayer energy higher up your agenda, because there are two things of which I am convinced:
- Our God is a God of mercy
- We are in desperate need
One particular concern has been highlighted for me as we enter this new year, from Jeremiah 6:16:
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”