British Baptists Call for Day of Prayer for Children to Revive New Generation

The Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) has called for a day of prayer for the new generation in the wake of the declining church attendance.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) has called for a day of prayer for the new generation in the wake of the declining church attendance.

At the BUGB Council Meeting in Swanwick, England, last week, Baptist leaders unanimously agreed to call for a national day of prayer and awareness for children next year, according to the Baptist Times U.K. Although the date has not yet been fixed, it aims to pray for renewed growth.

The suggestion came following the report by the BUGB mission department, which showed that Baptist church membership had declined drastically in the last two years. According to the Baptist Times, the figures showed that while the cumulative drop in the last four years was 38,000, around 30,000 of that sum came from the last two years.

"We need to get on our knees about these issues as a denomination,” wrote BUGB Mission Advisor the Rev. Nick Lear in the report, according to the Baptist Times. “This may well involve some repentance that we have neglected what Jesus said about the importance of children in the Kingdom of God, as well as asking for national and local vision about what is happening and how we can respond."

During the Council meeting, Lear tried to lay out the underlying reasons behind the decline of membership, reported the Baptist Times. He pointed out that number of adults of parental age is declining by 20,000 since 1992, so less second generation is being raised in the church through the physical family relationship. Moreover, many children stop going to church much earlier than in the past, before the ages of 10 or 11.

Lear challenged the Baptist Church to shift more resources and focus on children’s ministry with the support of an initial research, which aims find out the relationship between the growth of the church and the children’s ministry, according to the Baptist Times.

Lear told the Baptist Times, "We’re building up a picture of churches’ structures and resources, and how they’re engaging children in the wider church. We’re hoping the answers will help us discern some of the needs, and also the difference between growing and declining churches."

The emphasis of the Salvation Army on youth and children’s ministry has inspired Lear, according to the report. With reference to the model of Salvation Army, the BUGB mission advisor wishes to identify volunteers who can provide the leadership for the children’s ministry in the Church.

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