“We need to learn from industry,” he says. “When I was in marketing at Unilever we tried things out and if they didn’t work we dropped them. It encourages an innovation culture.”
Bishop Ric’s key objective for his ministry is overseeing the creation of new worshipping communities across England. He founded the Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication, using St Edmund’s as a training base.
His first “planting” success came in 2005, in the east London parish of Shadwell, where the church was facing imminent closure because of its dwindling congregation.
By adding a more relaxed family service and evening worship aimed at young people, numbers swelled to 200 regular worshippers, and groups quickly formed from among this congregation of new Christians and those who already had a faith that had moved to the area to repeat the exercise in four neighbouring churches.
Attendance across all five churches rose from 55 to 765 in a decade, Bishop Ric tells the planters assembled at St Edmund’s. “Planting is the most effective way to grow the church and if we can focus on that goal, with help, we can create growth,” he says.
“General Synod [the legislative part of the Anglican church] recently passed a motion that a new church should be created in each of the 12,500 Church of England parishes. That could mean one million people coming back to church.”
How the faithful borrow ideas from business to create start-up churches https://t.co/K3w2PiJxIB
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) February 9, 2020