Warning of the dangers of putting meetings before mission, James Jones, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, said that churches should put the brakes on holding too many meetings.
Jones was speaking to The Church of England Newspaper (CEN) as he took up the chairmanship of the church's Board of Mission.
The bishop's views were later echoed in remarks of Captain Philip Johanson, chief secretary of the Church Army, a leading Anglican society with an evangelical emphasis. Johanson told the society's annual conference that the Church of England and the Church Army had become "bogged down in bureaucracy."
In his interview with CEN, Jones complained that every time a difficult issue arose, someone suggested setting up a consultation. "Nobody ever audits the amount of time and paper, or person hours, that will be spent on this. We have really got to exercise some leadership and say: 'Do we really need as many meetings? Do we really need as much consultation'?"
The bishop suggested that people be given more time with their friends and families so they could "share the lover of life, who is Jesus, with the world."
He said, "One of the problems in our mission is that we berate and beat over the head the people who have been Christians a long, long time—and of course they have got no friends left who are not Christians … Over 80 percent of people who become Christians do so not through a strategy but through a personal relationship."
It was "slightly strange," Jones said, for the church to have a board of mission because "the church is mission." It was like a political party saying: ...1