Stephen Foster

The Difference Between Stuck Church and Revival

About The Episode


“The church goes upward in age and inward in focus naturally…It’s only intentionally that the church goes downward in age and outward in focus.” Meet Stephen Foster, leader of St Aldates Church in Oxford and advisor to Alpha. Stephen brings a refreshing reminder of the need for churches to embrace a vision that moves the demographic downward in age while outward in focus - all while embracing multiple generations in church culture. Listen for insights in today’s episode on how to best engage what Stephen describes as a pre-Christian context and why that is so exciting for the Church!

Welcome to Episode 094 of the Leaders in Living Rooms Podcast with Sean Morgan.

Insights From Stephen Foster


  • Sacrifices needed to grow downward in age
    • Inconvenience
    • Discomfort
    • Changing 
  • We need to love all ages in the church and bring everyone along in the vision to grow downward and outward.


  • We have a rising generation who needs to see Jesus.
  • When people see Jesus for who He is, they can’t help but be captivated and transformed by Him.


  • God is asking, “Do you want your life to be about your preferences? Or My purposes.”
  • Your passion is what you’re willing to suffer for.


  • “Pray your socks off that someone comes to faith.”
  • Once you’ve seen someone come to faith, things change!


  • Give leadership opportunities to younger people. 
    • Keep the vision clear and communicated.


  • Use your gifts in relation to the Giver. Otherwise, they will quickly become liabilities. 
  • God, in His mercy, gives us weaknesses so we will learn to rely on Him.
  • In our weakness, it’s all the more reason for God to show up in power.


  • “Fresh snow”
    • We have fresh opportunities to engage with people who have not been “inoculated” by the gospel/church/religion.
  • Where this pre-Christian culture is showing up strongest
    •  Chicago, India, China – there was a consistency in what people were saying in these churches.


  • Remember, the Holy Spirit is more interested in people encountering Jesus than you are. The Holy Spirit is more able to help people encounter Jesus than you are.
  • Take the pressure off yourself. 
  • It starts in a place of prayer and worship.
  • If you’re not passionate about this, maybe you need to spend a few months falling in love with Jesus again.
  • Don’t hang out in cynicism too long.

Episode Links

Amazed by Jesus, by Simon Ponsonby

St Aldates Church

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Who is Stephen Foster?

Stephen leads St Aldates Church in Oxford, and is an advisor to Alpha. St Aldates is a growing church with many young adults and students, which is seeing lots of people come to faith in Jesus. Stephen read law at Oxford and theology at Cambridge, and worked as a Barrister for a number of years. He is married to Beth, and they have four daughters.


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Quotes From Episode

“The church goes upward in age and inward in focus naturally…It’s only intentionally that the church goes downward in age and outward in focus.”

“If people see Jesus for who He really is, you can’t help but be transformed by Him.”

“You never graduate from the gospel.”

“Ideas need flesh…Until you’ve seen someone come to faith in your life…you know it is a possibility, but you never expect to see it happen.”

“God gives you gifts, but if you use them without relation to the Giver, then they are going to become liabilities quite quickly.”

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About the Host

Sean Morgan is a coach and speaker with a national reputation as a catalyst of fresh vision. His passion is to help ministries navigate obstacles and turn them into opportunities.

Throughout his career, Sean has pioneered initiatives impacting thousands of leaders across the country. He started out serving as Executive Pastor and CFO at New Life Church in northern California.

As host, Sean gives you access to amazing conversations, hard-won wisdom, and poignant insights from world-class leaders in intimate “living room” settings.

Your Host

Sean Morgan

Leaders in Living Rooms
Craft & Character

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