HAVING been away for a week or two, I missed the opening rounds of the “fire fight” about the decline, or otherwise, of Christian witness in Worthing. I can understand the negative thesis, given that local churches have been collapsing at what seems an inordinate rate, with one or two more lined up for closure. However, the converse is true, in that there are many churches in the town with very healthy numbers in their congregations, and they are outward-looking at that.
A few examples will suffice, and I write without being a member of any of them. Jubilee Church, with average numbers up to 250 each Sunday, is hoping to transfer from its present premises to much larger premises in East Worthing. Maybridge Community Church already holds two services every Sunday morning and reports potential attendees have to stay put in the foyer as “all seats are taken”.
The Elim Fellowship virtually fills St Paul’s Centre every Sunday morning. St Matthew’s is bursting at the seams, with a high take- up of its midweek meetings, particularly for children, and the four churches comprising the Broadwater parish report very full attendances, as does near-neighbour Broadwater Baptist. And, for years, the New Life Fellowship, Durrington, has had problems coping with large numbers of worshippers.
What they all have in common, other than packed services, are a healthy generational mix, a practical concern for world evangelism, effective outreach into the community and, above all, faithful biblical preaching.
So, have a fresh look, you church critics. Do yourself a favour and dip your toes into any of the above-mentioned churches – you will find the waters are warm and welcoming.
Parish Pump church correspondent