CBC moves its Sunday morning services to Deer Park School from January 8th 2012. After 360 years worshipping at Coxwell Street (which will continue for our evening services), why the move?
Put simply, the answer is ‘space’. The buildings at Coxwell Street are regularly over full on Sunday mornings – not enough space in the chapel or in the eight rooms we need for children and young people. If you’ve ever arrived a few minutes late for a service and been forced to staand in the foyer or be escorted to the last remaining seats in the building you’ll know what I’m talking about. And it’s not just for those of us who are here now, but for those who will be coming to join us in the months to come.
I was in the church office a few days ago when some filing was taking place. In all the papers was a copy of CBC’s figures from the ‘English Church Census’ of 2005 when churches across the country were asked to count everyone at their ‘normal’ services on a Sunday. I grabbed this, fascinated to compare with the annual count that the Baptist Union asked us to make back in September. Here’s a summary:
2005 – 220 people at services
2011 – 265 people at services
(That’s about a 20% increase over 6 years).
The figures also had an age breakdown, and the two age groups that have shown most significant growth are teenagers and the over 65s.
What was also interesting to note was that at the morning service in 2005 the building was pretty much full. Perhaps it’s about time we solved this problem.
Now, numbers at a service are only one way of thinking about what is going on in a church. Holiness, worship, love and mission must be growing as much as numbers – otherwise we have missed the point of the gospel. Lots of people without more of Jesus is not our goal. However, more people choosing to love and serve God and be part of his church is part of the coming of his kingdom.
My prayer as we move our morning services is that we continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of God, and that more and more people are added to our number.