A common problem for a church needing revitalisation is that it has lost contact with its environment – it is out of touch with the culture of our times and the culture of its location. How do we engage our neighbors and communicate in a way that they will understand? How do we help passive or skeptical nonbelievers to consider the gospel? The use of the Arts can encourage church members to reach out to unbelievers and to do it in a way that connects with them.
It is now widely accepted that there is a great need in Europe for church planting, and that a new church plant often sees growth through conversions. But if for every church planted, an older evangelical church disappears, overall we are not seeing much real progress in penetrating a given country by establishing a network of churches. The Evangelism Commission of the CNEF has been researching and reflecting on this challenge with the help of several denominations. Peter Saunders interviews David Brown, who chairs the Evangelism Commission, about their findings.
In France, the National Council of Evangelicals (le CNEF) has the objective of seeing "one for ten thousand" i.e. the existence of one evangelical church on average for every ten thousand inhabitants. A good deal of effort is dedicated to church planting but we are becoming more aware that some churches planted as recently as the 1980s are slowly declining. The evangelism commission of the CNEF has been looking at this question and doing some research with the help of several denominations. This talk shares some of their initial findings.
Why is church revitalisation necessary? Why is it difficult? What are the barriers to revitalisation? This overview shows the need for a locally-built vision followed by an intentional process to develop the church into a place where Christians learn to love God and to love others in their cultural context.
21st century Europe is very diverse. In no area of life does one size fit all. Cinemas are multi-screen, there are dozens of television channels, and there is a wide range of restaurants to choose from. However, churches often only offer one type of worship experience. What other types would be possible in our context? How does this contribute to revitalisation? And how do we ensure unity in a church when the church members don’t regularly meet all together on a Sunday?