I have some disastrous news: The church has gone middle class.
Let me evidence this claim:
- Our church in rural Cheshire has 300 odd members. We co-planted a church in the local council estate years ago. Few attend and few go to help.
- A church in Kent and a church in Newcastle advertised for a pastor. The Kent church was flooded with applications. The Newcastle church had one.
It’s certain. The church is middle class.
How many people have been educated at a red-brick University? Not many. Say 0.1% of the population? Yet this is most evangelicals only mission field. No wonder our numbers are so few.
This has never been our way:
- Whitfield preached as workers came out of the coal mines.
- The Reformation was so popular amongst the populace Luther had to hold off a Marxist revolution.
- Paul’s converts were rarely wise or of noble birth (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).
I’m not saying leave the academy. Wesley, Whitfield, Luther, Calvin and Paul were all well educated. Yet I do say gifted middle-class pastors should give up their suburban dream and move to the city. They should consider preaching to drug addicts and prostitutes as their master would.
We must give up our prejudices. The gospel is for everyone, not just undergraduates.