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My most recent publication is the Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the Book of Revelation. You can order it from Amazon and other online retailers (make sure you order mine, and not the previous edition by Leon Morris!), or directly from the publisher on the IVP website.

My other recent publications include:


Where are all the young people?

One of the most important debates in General Synod last week was on children and young people in the Church of England—or rather, why they aren’t. The paper we were offered summarised the analysis of where young people are in the Church based on church attendance returns, and built on a question asked at a previous Synod by Charlie Skrine who is on the staff of St Helen’s Bishopsgate. The paper and its accompanying research can be read here online, and it is very sobering reading; it should be read by anyone in church leadership who is at all concerned with mission. Some of the headlines were summarised as follows:

We have many opportunities as a Church to engage with children and young people through schools, Messy Church, Toddler Groups and midweek youth and children’s ministry. These activities often happen outside Sunday services and are picked up in Statistics for Mission in Worshipping Community Statistics and October count mid-week attendance. We have more limited information about activities that are not acts of worship or fresh expressions of church.
But we also need to recognise that in 2018 we reached a new stage where nationally Sunday attendance for 0-16’s dropped below 100,000 for the first time ever.
According to the single church returns, 38% of these churches have no 0-16’s and 68% of them have 5 or fewer 0-16’s.
The statistics show that under 16’s are not distributed evenly across our Church. In the 2018 Statistics for Mission, 903 returns reported having 25 or more 0-16’s which equates to 41,540 under 16s. This means that 44% of all of 0-16’s are to be found in 6.4% of churches and parishes.
Decline among under 16’s is much faster than decline among all other generations. The number of under 16’s reported in Average Child Sunday attendance has decreased by 20% over the last five years compared to a 12% decline in average adult Sunday attendance.
There is no room for complacency as even amongst those churches and parishes with 25 or more 0-16’s, there is still a pattern of decline. Of the 903 returns with 25 or more 0-16’s in 2018, only 394 (44%) had experienced growth in the last 5 years compared to 461 (51%) who had experienced decline.
We need to remember that there is no one simple solution which will solve all the issues we face. There are some common themes which emerge such as engaging with Youth & Children’s ministry organisations such as Messy Church or Open the Book or developing relationships with Church of England schools but there is clearly no single way to do children and youth ministry. (Of the 903 parishes with 25 or more 0-16’s 359 (40%) had a strong link to an affiliated Church of England School.)