New Christian Communities
When we talk about ‘new’ we want to emphasise that we treasure the existing and honour our heritage but we need a ‘mixed economy' of new and traditional congregations to better serve all our diverse communities.
Many of these churches are what we call “Fresh Expressions”. Fresh Expressions are new forms of church that emerge within contemporary culture and engage primarily with those who don’t ‘go to church”.
- A Fresh Expression is fresh! New, original, pioneering, innovative, different. A FX is not a re-brand or update to an existing model – it is a NEW thing that has developed because of a particular culture or context. They can be a network or a gathering, and they often don’t look like ‘church’.
- A Fresh Expression has its own identity. It isn’t a tag-on or optional extra for people already involved in church, nor is it a bridge for those outside the church into joining ‘the real thing’. Fresh Expressions are the real thing for the people they engage with.
- A Fresh Expression is mainly for people who don’t ‘go to church’.‘Un-churched’ (those who’ve never been) or ‘de-churched’ (those who left for whatever reason) – FXs tend to grow to serve and make a space for these folk.
- A Fresh Expression journeys with people. They make discipleship a priority – valuing people’s different faith journeys and supporting them as they wonder, explore and encounter.
We are committed to encouraging and enabling church planting. The Mission Shaped Church report defines church planting as follows: “Church planting is the process by which a seed of the life and message of Jesus embodied by a community of Christians is immersed for mission reasons in a particular culture or geographic context. The intended consequence is that it roots there, coming to life as a new indigenous body of Christians well suited to continue in mission.”
This can mean planting from the parish church within the existing parish’s boundaries, planting a congregation within another parish, developing a struggling church by a graft of people from another church and planting into a new housing area or development. These are all done collaboratively, working alongside the Parish and the Deanery.
Our bishops are giving people permission to try new things and want to see new Christian communities of all sorts, developing across our Diocese, from Tanworth-in-Arden to Polesworth, from Rowley Regis to Coleshill, from Hamstead to Balsall Common.