The Christian Church must adopt new methods of communication to spread the Gospel in the 21st century, according to Dr Richard Chartres, The Bishop of London.
“If we are to speak the word afresh to this generation, we’ve got to come to terms with the fact that the way in which people are communicating is quite different,” he told Premier Christian Radio’s Martyn Eden in an interview this week.“And, for that reason, we don’t need young people to come in just as ballast for our old gigs, we need young people of spirit and imagination to devise the new ways in which we’ll be representing Jesus Christ and communicating his teaching in the 21st century.”
Speaking ahead of this year’s annual Premier Lecture – ‘Building Jerusalem in England’s Green & Pleasant Land’ – Dr Chartres gave an up-beat assessment of the progress of ‘Capital Vision 2020’, the Diocese of London’s vision of the next seven years. “We’ll be setting out to double the numbers of young people participating in the worship and governance of their churches by 2020. So, at the very least, I expect to see a large increase in numbers and an emphasis on that part of our work which you simply can’t do by wishing for it,” he said But he warned that there were sometimes unintended obstacles for young people hoping to join churches. “All sorts of people say to their vicar, ‘vicar we need more youth in the church’ but, actually, they really don’t make it easy to join the churches they’re part of, so if we’re really serious about the great participation of young people – change comes with it.” Referring to the progress being made in London, Dr Chartres said that he was often asked by people if he was demoralised and depressed by media coverage of decline and attrition. “I look around and, frankly, I don’t know where to start to try to help them to see the reality here in London. It’s absolutely thrilling.” And he said that Premier was at the heart of the battle to “convince people there’s life in the old church yet.” He and Premier had a huge hill to climb together.