Some believe the UK is on the verge of a Christian revival, but don’t be fooled, says William Wade, a move of God will be found in the most unlikely of places


There has been talk recently of an emerging Christian revival in our midst. Perhaps in the absence of real political or institutional hope, people tend to run to something. For many it’s hedonism, for some asceticism, but for others, a form of spirituality. It is interesting, though, that in these days of enlightened and scientific privilege there would be a turning towards the Christian God.

With the Church of England and our other mainline denominations in the UK statistically on the wane, confused over gender identities, the role of women in the Church, and plagued with sexual and coercive control scandals, it beggars belief that anyone in their right mind would gravitate towards a God that has been depicted in contemporary culture as either a suited and booted white patriarch with a misogynistic slant or a rainbow-tattooed non-binary hippie.

It would seem a touch more logical to at least bow out of the argument and land in either the agnostic or atheist camps, if only to avoid having to defend any position at all. But Justin Brierley points to something going on among a number of well-known historians, rock stars and former atheists that suggests that a Christian revival is taking place.

Although it may be a stretch to argue for a revival based on a few notable personalities, his observations do point towards the reality of a shift within the worlds of those that would normally shun Christianity as a medieval fairy tale.

So, where is this shift coming from? During the Covid pandemic, the phrase ‘new normal’ did its rounds in speaking of a number of predicted contexts. One of those contexts was the UK-wide Church scene. Many churches closed as a result of the pandemic and many others are still struggling to exist, whilst others – particularly the ‘newer’ churches – seem to be not only surviving, but answering many of the needs and questions in our post-covid world.

So is there a Christian revival going on in the UK? There may well be, but it clearly sits not within the hierarchical institutions of the religious; our statistics can prove that. It seems to be developing on a local level where local churches are taking the mission of Jesus seriously.

What we have in these places of growth is a bunch of ordinaries that look and dress like everybody else, understanding the same questions that people are asking – and some of them even have the same tattoos, piercings and self-confessed struggles as everyone else. But isn’t that the point of what Jesus was trying to build in the first place – a people more concerned with charity than wealth; more swayed by compassion than control; more loving of the outcast than the powerful?

It’s always an assumption to imagine where Jesus would be spending his time right now if he were to be resident in the UK. Would he be, as some would expect, swinging incense around a gothic architectural wonder, speaking in tones of ecclesiastical superiority and commanding obeyance from the pew-lined sheep? Would he be, as others would expect, the handsome, self-assured, soundbite public speaker, dressed in holey jeans and sporting a faded Ramones t-shirt for visual impact?

Would he even be a she, leading a movement of social justice warriors to rise up against the globalist elite and initiate a new society of compassionate subversives? Of course, Jesus would most likely be what we least expect, hanging out with and making followers of those we might deem unworthy and having little impact during his lifetime, other than with those who immediately surround him. However, to those who would find themselves within his reach, he would radically change their world forever, with such non-worldly attributes as wisdom, grace, mercy, truth and love.

If we are to judge whether the UK is in the grip of a new revival, then surely we can do so by tracing where these attributes are clearly evident, for where they are to be seen, you will see the kingdom of God overcoming another kingdom. A kingdom where greed, self-seeking and unholy ambition reign. And who knows – if that were to happen in enough localities, then maybe we could begin to whisper that a genuine revival is actually under way.