Ethnic minorities constitute 14 per cent of the UK population, and yet Talking Jesus research reveals they make up 25 per cent of UK practising Christians – what can we learn from each other and how should this shape our evangelism?

The sample of over 900 practicing Christians is a microcosm which reflects the national picture and reflects patterns found in other research too. In 2012, almost half of all the worshippers in inner London were black, at 48 per cent. In 2017, non-white churchgoers formed a quarter, 26 per cent, of total English church attendance.[1] The last national census puts ethnic minorities at 14 per cent but current projections for 2050 predict an increase to 30 per cent. What do all these statistics tell us?

First, the number of people from ethnic minorities is growing.

This begs the question: how is the UK church going to engage in cross-cultural mission to ethnic minorities who are of no faith, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and so on? This question is very important because it raises issues of how we engage with the other”.

In order to reach these demographics, the church needs a new apologetic that is rooted in urban consciousness. What I mean by this, is that the church has to understand and engage with urban issues such as regeneration, Islamophobia, race relations, and so on. We have to develop urban consciousness that moves us to engage in a meaningful way.

Second, ethnic minority Christians are also increasing.

Some may argue that the curb on migration is leading to a peak period for Black Majority Churches, Asian churches and Latin American churches. The increase may be coming from second and third generation migrants becoming Christians. Either way, in order for the UK church to reach out intelligently to ethnic minorities of no faith and other religions, it will require the collective wisdom of the UK church in its entire ethnic and cultural diversity.

This is because Black Majority Churches, Asian churches and Latin American churches understand some of the journeys of people in their community better than anyone else and are therefore able to help the wider UK church in this process. Sadly, I have seen white majority churches and organisations wanting to reach out to ethnic minorities of other religious tradition such as Hindus or Muslims all by themselves. We need the wisdom of the Asian church and Christians to reach out to Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.

How exciting would it be if a white majority mission organisation or church collaborated with a South Asian church to reach Hindus together? Or a Black Majority Church worked together with a white majority evangelistic ministry to reach second and third generation African Caribbeans who feel disillusioned with church because of racism?

The Talking Jesus research definitely invites us to rethink our evangelistic strategies. This has become more important because of the pandemic context which has altered our sense of belonging, causing people to seek community.

Can our churches and ministries be that answer in a humble way that invites people to journey with Jesus? This will require an intercultural approach to evangelism, such as the one highlighted above.


[1] Brierley Consultancy, Immigrant Churches in Britain. Available at: https://​www​.brier​l​ey​con​sul​tan​cy​.com/​w​h​e​r​e​-​i​s​-​t​h​e​-​c​h​u​r​c​h​-​going (Accessed 14th April 2022).