Edd Graham-Hyde
Churches in the wake of Brexit

This is the fifth post in a series of blogs about Brexit by guest contributor Edd Graham-Hyde (more about Edd below), which we're posting in the run up to the snap 2017 General Election...

One of the things that Brexit will cause is a shrinking of the economy. It has already started. Whether you adhere to the belief that it is short-term or more long-term, no one can argue with evidence that we won't experience some kind of shrink. Inevitably, this will come on top of previous years of struggle.

When there is less money about, less investment is available. Equally, expanding business and other opportunities for employment aren't as common. It stands to reason that most private investment will be heading into flagship cities such as London, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Obviously, other cities will gain some investment too. However, major towns and minor cities won't get nearly as much.

I predict, should this be the trend that starts, that church planting outside of these cities will be harder due to the people initially joining struggling for employment, or having less time and energy to give due to longer commuting. At the same time, those that join the church will struggle with giving and the emotions that come with unemployment,  among the other issues that might be considered normal for a church plant.

Established churches will also notice a change in their funding: hard decisions will have to be made about what is affordable and what isn't. Northern churches will be hardest hit and the divide between the north and south, financially at least, will be noticeable.

Church networks are going to need to be strategic in planting urban and non-urban churches while also maintaining shortfalls in established churches. This might mean planting less churches to ensure survival and longevity of those currently in existence. Larger congregations will need to step up and take the lead in supporting smaller congregations and the links between churches in the network will need to be strengthened; not just leaders but everyone as that will elicit a desire to see the others successful among the wider congregation.

Above all this though, this is a fantastic opportunity for the church to be more involved in their local community. While foodbanks have been the signpost that have put plenty of churches on the map in the last couple of years, there is still more that can be done that is entirely affordable. Leaders of churches should keep their eye on where their local councils are making budget cuts – should they notice cuts to funding that would regenerate parks, weed and maintain walkways and unclaimed land, or even graffiti removal, there is an opportunity to practically serve the community with the resource that you do have: the generosity that people in our churches have with giving their time!

I passionately believe that the model of Jesus' life can be applied to all things, and that includes politically. He washed the feet of His servants and brought healing to those that need it and He did all of this in love. We can do the same in our community and people will see that Brexit is not the cutting off from the wider world, and destabilising factor to our communities, that people claim it is but actually an opportunity for us to get back in touch locally and foster the type of community we've longed (and even complained that doesn't exist) for over the last decade, and more!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by guest contributors are those of the author. Although broadly in keeping with the objectives of Jubilee+, the views and opinions of the guest do not necessarily represent those of the Jubilee+ team and directors and/or other contributors to this site.

Edd is a fully qualified RE teacher and currently teaches A-level Sociology and Politics; he is also currently lecturing ad-hoc at the University of Central Lancashire while completing his PhD in socially fringed groups and religious narratives with a focus on social policy. He is part of the Christ Church Blackpool church plant and is an advocate for planting more churches by the beach!