Bishop Stephen addresses the National Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)
What sort of church is God calling us to become, and what priorities should we discern? What steps should we take in order to get there? And what is there in our past that can help us own the future? These are the questions I want to address in this talk, and although I am speaking from an English context and experience, I believe that some of the issues and challenges we face affect the whole of Europe.
The first priority of the church must be to teach people to pray. Secondly, we urgently need to develop a distinctive Christian lifestyle and ethic which can be evidently lived out in the world; a rule and pattern of life for the 21st century lay Christian. Thirdly, we need to learn how to evangelise. Across all of Europe we find situations where people are growing up without reference to the church and without knowledge of the Christian faith. We are not recalling them to a faith they have rejected or lost. They have never ever received this faith. This requires a new approach. It must flow from service and the sort of distinctive Christian lifestyle and ethic.
And then go on praying, for the meaning of the Christian life is to life our lives in community with God; that community that God has made possible through Jesus Christ. Cut off from him we can do nothing (see John 15.5)