The credit crunch will change the church (Graham Cray)

Monday, 22 December, 2008

Graham Cray, incoming leader of the Fresh Expressions team, gives his thoughts on the future of the church.

Graham CrayI think the church over the next few years is going to hear the word of the Lord through the credit crunch. A former diocesan secretary in Canterbury used to say:

The Church of England as it is now structured cannot afford the Church of England as it is now structured.

And my guess is, that is true for almost every historic building with plants and churches and manses and so on.

The critical question then is, if we have to be a more lightweight church in terms of plants and bureaucracy - not in terms of theology and spiritual vision - then will we find the way to live the mixed economy in the new realities? I'm quite convinced that means a townwide partnership of every church willing to take part; that we dare not compete with one another. We do need to complement one another's strengths. And one of the threads that runs right through that sort of ecumenism is actually fresh expressions.

The real changes will be renewing of imagination to do church with less of the very costly historic resources

So it may be that in God's economy - and having been taken by surprise by what he's done already, I'm just having a guess at how he might take us by surprise in the future - that this becomes critical in enabling the energetic partnership of churches together doing lighter weight church in serious mission and involvement in their communities. Hope08 gives a hint of that. I think fresh expressions gives a hint of that.

The real changes, I think, will be renewing of imagination to do church with less of the very costly historic resources. That doesn't mean the mixed economy disappears, because we will still in historic denominations do beautiful liturgy, do dignified worship. But I am convinced that there's got to be some significant change in the use of our available resources.

About the author: 

Graham Cray is the incoming Archbishops' Missioner and Fresh Expressions Team Leader.

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