My conviction is Hope 23-24 presents every Baptist church with a tremendous opportunity. It’s a big vision – uniting as a church across denominations and organisations to offer the hope of Jesus again to our nation starting September 2023. It’s a real privilege to be the Baptist person on the Hope 23-24 Steering Group, so I confess my bias, but I don’t want any of our churches to miss out on this opportunity.

  • People across the UK are more open spiritually than for a very long time
  • Many people are anxious, asking ‘will it be alright’?
  • Many people are recognising their hope in material things, or even the NHS, is not answering the fundamental question, which is nagging away inside: ‘what happens when I die’?

As Christians we know Jesus, the ‘living hope’ of the world. An element of our frustration is, whilst many people are consciously, spiritually, searching, most do not consider the church of Jesus Christ might hold the answer in their search. Starting during the pandemic, I’ve been very encouraged by hearing story after story within our own region, of one’s and two’s finding Jesus, or more often, Jesus revealing himself to them, despite us. However, our churches, which have witnessed the greatest response to the gospel have been those who have been unashamed and intentional about sharing the good news of Jesus in word and deed. That is precisely what signing up for Hope 23-24 will encourage to do.

We’re almost a whole year away from the launch of a year-long season focusing on missional engagement with people in our communities (geographical, social, virtual, etc.), but now is the time to begin preparing.

The very first step is signing up. It will hardly cost you anything in time, or money, but we all now little happens without intentionality. It may be a small step, but the first step towards anything is always the most significant one. My personal commitment, around the Steering Group is to pray and encourage 600 Baptist churches to take part. That’s not to make me feel good, or you for that matter, but an expression of concern we don’t miss out.

It’s also an expression of my faith and expectation, so please, please, please, prove me wrong. How I’d love to report back on my little faith on discovering we’ve exceeded that target!

We are slowly waking up to the realisation we are living through a period of permacrisis. This is not the ‘new normal’ many anticipated following the pandemic. However, life will continue to become more challenging on a variety of fronts when we factor in the economic, climate and wellbeing crises. However, for anyone who desires to continue along the upward trajectory of comfort and luxury we have become so accustomed to, we are on the brink of considering it a human right, the gap between expectations and reality will continue to grow. At this point, one of the key findings of The Talking Jesus research becomes very pertinent: ‘will it be alright’ is not a question likely to dissipate any time soon.

Are you aware of the plans for Hope 23-24 yet? I believe you need to be, so check out the details here:


Nigel Coles

Nigel is Regional Team Leader of the West of England Baptist Network. He facilitates the life of the webnet team and oversees the missional strategy for the region. He also works to develop missional strategy over a wider geographical area with our partner Associations and Baptists Together. Nigel believes that when Jesus sent out seventy-two others, he meant everyone who was there, and this passion to help everyone find their way in the mission of God is what inspired the development of Seventy-two.