by Martin Robinson, sent in by Andy Blakey

ABC quoteJustin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking at a conference a few weeks ago, reflected on the present spiritual situation of our nation. “The winter is over”, he said. He commented further on how he felt that the frozen landscape was thawing and a new responsiveness to the gospel coming. I sense he is right.

A few days ago, I met with the Missioner for the Anglican Diocese of Leicester and he told me something of the work they have been doing for the last decade or so. It is an encouraging story. He said that their diocese has 320 parishes and they are committed to starting 320 church plants, or fresh expressions of church, or significant missional communities, over the next few years. Quite frankly, that is amazing news!

Justin Welby, in the same talk mentioned above, also spoke of his desire to see at least one major resource church in every diocese in the land. By that he means a Holy Trinity Brompton style church in terms size, passion and purpose. I can’t remember a time when the Church of England has been so focused on mission, evangelism and growth – something we celebrate and rejoice over.

God is doing something amazing in our nation. I agree with Justin Welby that the spiritual climate in the land is undergoing a significant shift and has been for the last few years. Its time for all of us in ministry (or training for ministry) to grow our expectations of what might be possible in terms of church planting, the re-planting of existing churches and the missional growth of churches.

The prospects for ministry in the UK have not been as exciting as they are now, possibly for 100 years or more. What a great time to be in training and what a great time to be in a mission placement. The missional bar is being raised!