• Serve decent coffee: no more grotty instant in ancient
• Get a properly trained welcome team - not a bunch of
depressed-looking people who stand at the back poring over the hymn
• Have a back-door policy: keep a track of who's new, visit them
early, invite them to a welcome lunch. And if they don't stick
around, go back to them, and find out why they stopped coming.
• Provide a menu of service options (it's not new: it always
used to be 8 o'clock for the individualists, 10.30 for the
families, and 6.30 evensong for the depressives!). Consumerism
means that we have to give people a plethora of choices, including
café church, ambient worship, traditional.
• Get outside your building. Mission is now centrifugal not
centripetal. The old "come to church and discover the Mystery"
stuff has less traction when people won't darken your door. Do
festivals, mass in the park, acts of kindness in the community. Be
• Have a decent website, properly maintained. Most people now
search online for a church to attend.
• Carpet your church if you can. And get decent chairs. Nobody
goes to rough old pubs any more, and they don't want to sit in a
draughty building on wooden pews with moth-eaten cushions and
kneelers embroidered at the time of the Battle of Waterloo. Unless,
of course, you're medieval and historic. In which case, play it
• Get rid of the dynasty of people who have run the church for
the last 40 years. Persuade them to stand down. Honour their
contribution. They stop being part of the solution and become part
of the problem when they block everything.
• Plant vigorously. Don't be afraid to try stuff and fail. Plant
on estates, in schools (and get the Diocesan Education Department
onside), in pubs and cafés. Partner with other churches who can
help you with this.
• Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. And pray. Nothing will work unless
it's rooted in God and the life of the Spirit.
Rt Revd Pete Broadbent
Bishop of Willesden