Elvis has left the building…..

If Elvis were alive, he would be 81 years old today. David Bowie is alive, and he is 69 today.

They’d both be easily in the oldest quarter of the UK population.

Anybody who was a hippie at college during the summer of love will be past retirement age – so if you can remember the sixties, you’re on a pension. Even the punks are getting old – Johnny Rotten himself is 60 this month.

Yet if Elvis, or Bowie or the Sex Pistols entered a mainstream UK church this Sunday, they could be forgiven for thinking that the nineteen seventies, or the sixties, or even the fifties had never happened.

If they were lucky, there might be a band, but the vast majority will offer an organ for most of the music, and hymns from centuries gone by.

Now if this were working (and there is evidence from Cathedrals that it can work), that would be one thing. But as mainstream church attendance falls off a precipice, it’s blatantly clear that things need to change.

Some would claim that church decline is all due to factors beyond our control, such as secularisation and a hostile media. But I believe the choices we make do matter and do make a difference. There are churches which are growing in the UK, some spectacularly, showing that it is possible.

What is needed is the will to change, and the simple realisation that fourteen times as many people listen to Radio 2, as compared to Radio 3.

So happy birthday Elvis, and here he is singing a classic hymn, in a concert from before most people were born.

What do you think?

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