UK's Largest Pentecostal Church Aims To Plant 100 More In 2017
The largest Pentecostal church in the UK is looking to open another 100 churches in 2017, according to the Guardian.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), is set on a radical growth project aimed at recruiting white Brits and those who might not otherwise be interested in the black-majority charismatic churches.
In an interview with the Guardian Pastor Agu Irukwu, head of Jesus House, the largest RCCG outfit, said it was an intentional move to plant churches "other than the traditional places you would expect to find us".
RCCG, which already has almost 800 places of worship in the UK, is now the country's largest and fastest growing Pentecostal movement.
"Some people call what we're doing 'reverse mission'," Pastor Agu told the Guardian. "I don't use that term, but there's a bit of truth in it. We're working to bring the good news back to this country which in some ways has lost it."
RCCG was founded in Nigeria, where Pastor Agu is also from, and started with a handful of communities in the UK.
"We believe this nation paid a big price in bringing the gospel to far-flung parts of the world," he said.
"I see myself as fruit of the missionary effort and missionary sacrifice. People like me feel we owe these missionaries – and by extrapolation, their country – for a lot that has happened to us."
He added: "I feel a church has to be open, has to reach out to all the groups wherever that church is – exactly what the missionaries did. London, especially, is a multicultural melting pot, and if a church is in London it should aim to look like London."
The Nigerian-based church is conservative in its teaching on sexuality but Agu insisted it was open to people of all backgrounds.
"I might disagree with you about your lifestyle or orientation, but that doesn't preclude me loving you and welcoming you," he said. "Any church that condemns is not preaching the full message of the gospel of Christ."
He added his church had a "fabulous relationship" with the Church of England which in the throws of a decades-long row over its teaching on sexuality.
Pastor Agu said the two denominations had a lot to learn from one another.
"In black majority churches, prayer is a big thing. We have a culture of prayer. And the C of E is light years ahead of black majority churches on theology – we just don't have the depth that the C of E has."