Drought or drizzle

Drought or drizzle
Paul Smith
Paul Smith Paul Smith is full-time elder of Grace Baptist Church, Broadstairs, Kent. He is also a director and the book reviews editor for ET.
26 July, 2023 5 min read

What has the Holy Spirit been doing since the 1980s?

Was there a change in the work of the Holy Spirit in the 1980s? It certainly seems that way for England and Wales, at least. The best measure of the Spirit’s work is lasting conversions. This is different from the standard indicators of church health like counting attendees, members, or churches in a particular network.

Who is being converted? Over the last two decades on mission teams I have read and heard hundreds of testimonies of believers from across England and Wales. Whether the believer came from an independent, Baptist, Presbyterian, or Anglican church the pattern is clear. The vast majority saved from the 1990s onwards had an evangelical background.

But it is not uncommon to hear a heart-warming testimony to God’s grace to a believer saved from an unchurched or non-evangelical background in the 50s, 60s or 70s.

1980s: A turning point

I have discussed this pat tern with those ministering in different places, especially seasoned saints. My cautious claim is this: the 1980s was the last time when the Holy Spirit converted significant numbers of the unchurched in England and Wales. (I wonder if the situation in Scotland is similar, but I have insufficient data; Northern Ireland may be different.)

Become a church agent - The cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to get the print edition of ET