To my surprise and pleasure, I found that he was the subject of a programme on Radio 4 called ‘The most Godless town in Britain‘. (You can listen again to the programme via the BBC 1 player on this link for the next 7 days.)
Mark is based in Telford, a Shropshire new town in Middle England. I have spent some time there as a friend lived in Telford and asked me to lead worship at his church a few times ten years or so ago. It is a strange place- a planned new town, with integrated transport and industrial units surrounded by scrubby planting. To the uninitiated, it all looks the same, and it it very easy to get lost.
Telford apparently has the lowest per capita Church attendance in the UK, and the Church Missionary Society sent their secret weapon- personified in Mark.
Except the secret is out- thanks to this interesting radio programme.
For those of us who have been part of this emerging/missional conversation- it is all in there. The call to live for Jesus in a post-modern context, and engage with people who are ‘Spiritual’, but not Christian.
How is he getting on- well, check out his blog, which records some really interesting projects, including ‘Safe Space Telford‘. I think these things are a living example of missional living, now displayed in the national media.
Will exposure like this be helpful, I wonder? I reckon Mark will need some people to stand close with him, as I would think the pressures and strains will be considerable.
The radio programme gives a mixed bag of a conclusion- the presenter seems to be interested, but bemused- returning ultimately to a measure of faith and success that is based on numbers primarily.
Well worth a listen though…