Recent census is 'call to action' for London's Christians
The chairman of a major new mission movement in London is rallying churches to action following the recent Census results.
The 2011 Census revealed a significant drop in the number of people in Britain describing themselves as Christians, down from 72% in 2001 to 59% last year - a fall of around four million people.
At the same time, the number of Muslims has risen from 1.5 million to 2.7 million - or 5% of the population - while the number of people describing themselves as having no religion rose by 10% to 25% of the population. London registered the lowest level of Christian belief, at 48%.
Stephen Gaukroger is Chairman of Crossing London, a yearlong initiative aiming to see churches restore broken communities, share their faith with thousands of people, and the whole of London touched by God.
"All the evidence points to the fact that a large number of people over the past few years have either rejected or not engaged with an old style religion," he said.
"However rather than viewing these figures in a negative light, instead it provides a call to action and an exciting opportunity for the Christian community and churches involved in Crossing London.
"This is to present the claims of a living and vibrant faith to those who may not have ever considered them or heard the truth of the gospel explained properly."
Crossing London will hit the ground running in 2013 with a major event for church leaders at Westminster Central Hall on 26 January.
"Inspire" will be joined by Samaritan's Purse president Franklin Graham.
The free event aims to encourage, equip and motivate leaders of churches across the denominations.
Geoff Andrews, Regional Minister Team Leader of London Baptist Association said, "I see the Inspire event as a time when God meets with the churches drawing them together with unity of purpose around the gospel.
"I expect to be spoken to in a powerful way by the Spirit of God cutting through the distractions of church life and energising disciples for whole life mission."
Mr Gaukroger added, "These are unique and complex times but the message of the Gospel is surprisingly simple - peace with God and peace with one another.
"This is the priority of Crossing London and will continue to be the focus of all those involved in this initiative."