The fall out continues from the recent announcements of cutbacks in the Church of England. If the church of England had a particular strength in the past, it was that it was a church for the whole country and this was reflected in the Parish system. The risk with this was that the CoEE got confused, seeing everyone as members of their church regardless of whether or not they attended regularly never mind had been baptised or believed. At it’s best, it meant that the church was organised to serve the whole country with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Recently, I have been challenged by the fact that Jesus calls us to pray for workers in the harvest fields which are white and ready for harvesting. The problem is never the shortage of a harvest but rather a shortage of workers.
So, here’s a further challenge. If that’s the case, and noting that I believe the financial resources are there and indeed the potential workers in terms of people who have put their hand up and expressed an interest in Gospel ministry, then what are we doing to ensure that the workers are deployed in the harvest field? I believe we should be committing to a position where the number of workers supported is determined by the needs of the mission field, not the size and strength of our churches.
This will mean a partnering together and a sharing of resources so that workers are sent and supported into areas where there are not many resources rather than always kept within larger churches in more prosperous areas on the basis of supply and demand.
But, as a minimum, it will entail a commitment to ensure that there is a supported Gospel worker in every single Anglican Parish with n aim of seeing at least one thriving Gospel worker there. That might be the existing parish church and vicar if they are committed to the Gospel, believe in Jesus and proclaim his word. However, there will be areas where there isn’t a gospel witness either because the parish church is closed down, is dependent on a team ministry provided within a united benefice or where the vicar does not preach the Gospel. In such cases, it is an urgent priority that Evangelicals from other denominations and independent church backgrounds commit to ensure that a Gospel presence is established.