The Methodist Church of Great Britain has launched a major new initiative to reach young adults who have no contact with the Church.
The Church has allocated over $9.8 million to invest in a scheme called "Venture fx" over the next ten years and has appointed the Rev. Ian Bell as its new Pioneering Ministries Coordinator to oversee the project.
Venture fx will seek to recruit 20 lay and ordained people who demonstrate vision, motivation and the ability to inspire others. Over the next five years these people will be appointed to pioneer new Christian communities among those who are in their twenties and thirties in 20 different locations.
The Methodist Church will support the motivators with training as they seek to build new "viable independent Christian congregations rooted in the Methodist tradition."
"Increasing numbers of people have little or no understanding of the Christian story and might find the idea of going to church strange or irrelevant," said Bell, currently Superintendent Minister of the South West Tyneside Methodist Circuit.
"This is the challenge that the church is facing and we have to develop new models of church that speak to people about where they are in life and the issues that matter to them. Venture fx is about tackling this challenge head on, meeting people where they are and challenging perceptions of what 'church' should look like."
Bell, who will take up his new appointment full-time in September, has years of experience in developing new expressions of church in the Sheffield and Doncaster areas, including a cafe-based church and youth congregation.
He is currently involved in developing an emerging church in a branch of Starbucks in the Metro Center shopping complex in Gateshead, UK.