Asian Tigers for Christ

As the Adviser on Evangelism to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, it seems fitting that Michael Green should bring to the church's attention the enormous contrast between what is happening in the Anglican Church in South East Asia and the United Kingdom. He begins by explaining that, although we are separated by thousands of miles, socially and industrially there are many similarities. So, if it can happen in South East Asia, why can't it happen here? Of course, he is talking about the phenomenal growth which the Anglican Church has experienced since the mid-sixties after independence.

The author plots the developments which have taken place and says how important the bishops have been in providing effective leadership. Even though heavily influenced by the Charismatic Movement they have been keen to retain a focus upon both traditional and modern expressions of worship. A significant factor has been the change in the way that they 'do church'. 'Authority that comes from optimum effectiveness based on gifting and anointing is slowly replacing the old paradigm of authority and seniority being measured by the hierarchy in the organization'. This has been shown in the enormous growth of Cell Groups where the focus has been on creating mature lay-leaders by providing effective leadership training. The norm has been for lay-leaders to spend at least three years as a successful leader of a growing Cell Group before going to theological college, should that be their calling.

The whole ethos of the church is summed up in the quotation - 'there is a growing expenditure on the lost rather than the saved'. Being Cell Group based also means that church buildings, although used on Sundays for communal worship, are not the focus of so much fruitless effort. Also, the Cell Groups are strongly involved in community work so that the balance between faith and works is maintained. The whole of chapter 3 is devoted to analysis of how their Cell Groups operate.

The author spends some time at the end of the book bemoaning the situation in the UK and expressing his disappointment at the slowness of the British church to learn lessons from our overseas brothers and sisters in Christ. However, there are many encouraging signs of change in this country with Spring Harvest and Easter People, Alpha and many other local initiatives, not to mention the interest expressed in the Headway Roadshows. Nevertheless, he is right to raise his concerns because the mainstream churches, Anglican, Methodist and others are seeing a staggering decline