Asians in the UK
Churches in the UK need to do more to reach out to South Asians living in their community, according to a groundbreaking report from Christian mission agency South Asian Concern (SAC).
The 105-page survey – Survey of churches’ outreach experience to South Asians in the UK – revealed that there are 2 million South Asians, 75,000 of whom are professing Christians, living in the UK.
Out of the 48 useable responses to SAC’s questionnaire, sent to more than 340 churches of all denominations in the UK, it seemed that 12 out of 13 churches in areas with high South Asian population density were engaged in outreach to the community.
However, only 50 per cent of churches in ‘mixed’ areas said their outreach to this group was consistent and systematic. Others said that they prayed, but not regularly.
By far the greatest means of outreach was through children and youth groups, resulting in personal friendships (19 respondents), church attendance of families (12 respondents) and even some conversions (9 respondents).
However, all churches felt that they lacked knowledge and understanding about the culture, and that this hindered specific evangelism. They also said that they needed to know what to pray about specifically.
The report said that things holding churches back were – not knowing where to start; trying to reach several different groups of people in the local area; reluctance or fear in the congregation; apathy; and some questioned whether it was appropriate to target particular groups.
SAC chairman Ram Gidoomal CBE said: ‘One of the key findings of the survey is the importance of church leadership taking the initiative in enabling their congregations to make a commitment to reach South Asians in their local communities.
‘I would urge church leaders to engage prayerfully with the unique opportunity given to us in the UK to reach out to those of other faiths who have come to live in our midst.
‘Responding to the call of Matthew 28:19-20 to reach the unreached can no longer be restricted to sending missionaries overseas. We have the opportunity to engage with the unreached here at our doorstep’.