A Gospel for the Estates

Feb 22, 2019 by

By Rod Thomas, Church of England Newspaper.

What a refreshing read the General Synod paper by the Estates Evangelism Task Group is!

It has many virtues:

It is not long! That makes it accessible and clear.

It has a clear vision and purpose: to reflect God’s heart for the poor, particularly by securing an effective Christian community in every significant social housing estate.

Unsurprisingly for a group chaired by Bishop Philip North, it aims for theological depth in answering the question ‘What is the Good News for the estates?’

There is a clear commitment to action that will be boosted by General Synod passing the proposed motion.

However, there is something that I long to see which is not there. It’s the word ‘salvation.’

It’s been missing throughout most of the Church’s discussion of the Reform and Renewal programme. We have spent hugely worthwhile time talking about ways of renewing our discipleship and from time to time we talk about ‘making disciples.’ But nowhere do we seem to have the sense of urgency that accompanies a belief that people’s eternal salvation is at stake unless they respond in repentance and faith to the good news of what Jesus Christ has achieved for us…

…It seems to me that if our new initiatives in estates evangelism are to have transformative success, we need to be motivated by the same desire to see people saved from the power and consequences of sin for eternal life with Christ.

If we are diffident about this, people simply will not register how good the ‘good news’ really is. The love and care we show in practice will speak volumes, but unless it leads to faith in Christ’s atoning death, we will not have done what we are uniquely qualified to do: that is, to proclaim the good news of salvation.

Read here

See also: past Anglican Mainstream Editorials on this subject by Andrew Symes:

The C of E: money for mission, but what about method and message?

I believe it’s a good thing to try to plant churches in areas where the church is weak, and in areas of deprivation, not just in traditionally more fruitful places. But why is the church struggling to maintain a vibrant witness, even a presence, in many English communities, especially the less affluent areas? Is it lack of resources and a particular type of leadership, or is something else going on?

Did we witness social action/evangelism ‘holy grail’ on BBC documentary?

What does genuine gospel ministry among the poor look like? …BBC2 screened an hour long documentary entitled ‘The Debt Saviours’. The focus was the work of John Kirkby and Christians against Poverty, the Bradford-based organization he set up and whose methods are now followed around the world.

What is good news to the poor?

The Gospel is not that I can have a say, but rather that God wants to speak to me! That I am valued enough to be able to access his friendship despite my sin and failure. So the Church’s main role is not primarily to get the voice of the urban poor to the nation, but to get the voice of God to the poor.


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