With fewer people going to church every week and with the decline of church influence in civic society, contemporary Christians have a responsibility to refashion the church to help the outsider become an insider. What is presented here is a biblical, social and historical report on Crumlin Road Presbyterian Church (CRP) in the city of Belfast.
Demographic, social, and spiritual changes in society have led to the transformational nature of the congregation. The recognition of weakness presents opportunities which need not lead to surrender but for a well thought out practical theology for congregations
that are in decline. The challenge of change should be seen as an opportunity to be grasped rather than an obstacle to be overcome. The presence of the church building is no longer enough to attract people to come inside where they will hear the good news.
Today God’s people need to be proactive, whereby the church, through the lives of its members, is engaging with the local community. Becoming a church that views those outside its walls as the focus of their mission is what this paper is all about. Because of socio-economic challenges, exacerbated by over thirty years of ‘The Troubles’ (1969- 1997), and the decline in church membership, any renewal of the city calls for collaboration between all the interested parties and stakeholders. Since people matter to God and since believers are called to, ‘work for the welfare of the city, CRP will work with suitable partners to collaborate in rebuilding the fabric, restructuring ministry, and
reinventing the church to work for the renewal of the community.