“I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and, frankly, more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.” (David Cameron, Easter Speech)
We are still a Christian country – or so the Prime Minister says. Clearly not everyone agrees. But what are the facts?
A 2007 survey conducted by Tearfund, the Christian relief and development agency discovered that one in seven adults in the UK attends a Christian church each month. That is at least a sizeable portion of the UK population.
Perhaps the church is not dead or dying as certain sections of the press and media suppose. But this is not surprising to us who share active and vibrant faith with the thousands who attend KT each week as well as the many thousands more who worship God in this city. When it comes to London, twenty-two per cent of the population attend church each month.
Another finding of the survey is much more interesting to me. The poll revealed that nearly three million people say they would attend church if only they were asked. Undoubtedly, some are hardening their attitudes with roughly the same number who state they would never go to church even if asked.
This means that if you approached your friends, colleagues or family members in the right way you could stand a one-in-two chance of them accepting your invitation. This is on the basis of statistics alone, before you add other factors, such as effective, fervent prayer and the witness of your own transformed life.
The three million who are waiting for an invitation represent six per cent of the UK population. What an opportunity!
Two thousand years ago the first believers were also waiting. There was a crowd ready to gather outside the upper room, where the disciples were waiting for the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit who would empower them for witness to Christ. Now for us the waiting is over. Pentecost Sunday is just around the corner, but we don’t have to wait one moment longer. The Holy Spirit has come. His enabling power is here. All that remains is for us to rise up in that power and declare him to the millions outside.
Perhaps our problem is that we are still waiting. For what? For power? The Spirit has come! For boldness? That’s a natural consequence of letting the Holy Spirit loose in our life! The only people who are waiting for the right reasons are those who are waiting for us to give them an invitation.