2 quick statistics: 36,000 and 143,000.
36,000 is the decrease in the number of people in the Northern region of Sydney identifying as ‘Anglican’ in the past 10 years.
143,000 is the increase in the number of people identifying as ‘No Religion’ in the same region over the same time.
Add to these the fact that 1 in 29 Australians has never heard of Jesus and we can see that we have definitely entered ‘post-Christianity’. And it means that our neighbours have very little idea where we’re coming from as Christians. Our views seem dated and quaint at best; weird and dangerous at worst.
While this is happening, the Great Commission is only more urgent – as fewer believe, there are more people to be reached with the wonderful news of Jesus.
Yet it seems dangerous to speak up. Identify as a Christian and you risk being labelled a bigot. It seems better to keep a low profile and get on with the job of paying the mortgage. Or, if you don’t take the silent route, you might feel the need to become a culture warrior – fighting the good political fight. And there is a place to speak up politically – we need brave Christians who will seek the just ordering of society out of love for our neighbours. But what about the rest of us? Is there a way to speak boldly with our friends, even about issues we disagree on – not with an aim of political point scoring or merely winning an argument – but with the aim of pointing them to Jesus?
The Committee for Christians Engaging Culture has been established to help us carry out the Great Commission in this cultural climate. Our aim is to equip every member of St Thomas’ to turn controversial conversations into gospel opportunities. We want everyone clear on what God’s word says and confident in sharing that with our neighbours while pointing them to Jesus.
To start this journey we are holding a brainstorming session and inviting interested members to join us in the Parkview Building on Thursday 21st June, 7pm – 9pm. We want your input on the issues you think need to be addressed and on the best format that will engage and equip our members. We would like people from all congregations and age groups to contribute, as we are sure that our varied experiences, knowledge and perspectives will provide a good foundation for planning. Eventually we will be seeking people who can work on the Committee to research the issues, administer the group and develop online and other resources.
If you are interested and would like to contribute to the conversation and help us plan a way forward please RSVP to Julia Williams (10am member) at [email protected]
If you have any questions please contact Julia Williams on 0414 956 442.
Yours sincerely,
Gerard O’Brien – CCEC Chai