On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away. She had dedicated her life to the service of her people and the United Kingdom. With 70 years as monarch, she surpassed every other British ruler in the duration of her reign. The dignified and kind manner in which she presented herself made her well-loved, not only by her own people but also worldwide. Her passing initiated a period of mourning throughout the nation extended for a week after her funeral.
On Monday, September 19, in a funeral service at Westminster Abbey, much was said about the life and service of Queen Elizabeth II. An emphasis was placed on her promise made and kept to faithfully serve the people of her kingdom. It was implied that she believed her role as both a Christian and a monarch was to follow Jesus’ example of servant leadership. This belief is one that should be shared by all Christians no matter their sphere of influence.
In the United Kingdom, which was once a vibrant hub of Christianity, only 8% of the 68,207,114 inhabitants would claim to be evangelical Christian. The Church of England is the national church, however, it is not particularly a growing religion. Knowledge of the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ is shallow at best and in many cases, non-existent. This country is in desperate need of a revival and missionaries to carry the good news to the millions. Please pray for the United Kingdom as many mourn a beloved monarch. As millions of people watched the funeral and heard about the faith and hope of the Queen, perhaps this will lead some to seek after the Truth that is Jesus Christ.
Though our window to send gospel preaching missionaries to Afghanistan may now be closed, God is sending the Afghans out to us–to the U.S., UK, Canada, Colombia, Albania, to name a few. As Christians, we uniquely understand what it’s like to be foreigners, aliens, and strangers “from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13). Christ’s death and resurrection gave us salvation, reconciliation, and peace. And now we are to be ambassadors for Him, proclaiming that same word of reconciliation that has been committed to us (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
God is bringing Afghans to our doors not only so they can escape the terrors of the Taliban, but also so that they can hear the gospel. Are we willing to help bring Afghans to Him?
The United Kingdom has enjoyed one of the richest Christian histories of any country. Many great Christians, pastors, missionaries, and authors of the past were British. The impact of this spiritual heritage is evident today in the lives of Christians and churches across the country. But there has also been much spiritual decline over the years, to the point that the country is desperately in need of evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and church revitalisation.
Despite many people claiming to be ‘Christian’, there are relatively few born-again Christians in the United Kingdom. Operation World put the number of evangelicals in the UK at 8.8% but qualifies that number with the fact that only about a third of ‘evangelicals’ (around 3%) attend church regularly.
Across the country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a Bible-believing church to attend. For years, church buildings have been closed, sold, or converted into other uses. Often churches struggle to find pastors to lead them, and many churches have few young people attending. Clearly, there is a great need for revival and renewal through evangelism, discipleship, and church planting/revitalization.
Here are some other important facts about the United Kingdom:
Comprised of England (56m), Scotland (5.5m), Wales (3.1m), and Northern Ireland (1.9m).
England is the most densely populated country in Europe.
90% of British people live in cities.
Between the 2001 and 2011 census, there was a decrease in the number of people who identified as Christian by 12%, whilst the percentage of those reporting no religious affiliation doubled.
The Muslim population has increased from 1.6 million in 2001 to 2.7 million in 2011, making it the second-largest religious group in the United Kingdom.
In a 2017 study, 71% of young people aged 18-24 said they have no religion.
Northern Ireland has long faced serious challenges, and those issues have once again risen to the surface following the UK withdrawal from the European Union.
The challenge has been for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to withdraw from the European Union and at the same time not set up any hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which is part of the EU.
Recently, animal products and food arriving from Great Britain were subject to inspection. Staff doing the inspections were threatened and those inspections were suspended.
Also, the European Union proposed not allowing vaccines to enter Northern Ireland from the EU which would in effect reinstate the border on the island of Ireland that both sides have tried to avoid.
Please pray for the work of the gospel in Northern Ireland. There are many good evangelical churches there, but some are in decline and there are still many communities without a good evangelical church.