Fresh expressions of church make up about 15% of Anglican church communities across the country. They might meet in a pub or in a school hall, they could be knitting groups or Messy Church, they could meet in a forest or in a skate park, they could be a social justice group or a bunch of entrepreneurs. Fresh expressions are mostly smaller groups of between 10-55 people and 38% of those who come are under the age of 16. Crucially, many of these expression of church are led by lay people who have little formal training but who are growing churches in really exciting ways. There are four key aspects of fresh expressions of Church.
missional – serving those outside the current church community
contextual – listening to people, entering their context and seeking to build community
disciple-making – discipleship an intentional priority of fxC, journeying wth people to Jesus
ecclesial – forming Church - they are not bridges to an existing church, but an expression of Church in and of themselves.
There has been some brilliant analysis work done by George Lings and the Church Army team, all of which are available from the Church Army website and I recommend them to you.
Click here to head to the Church Army website.
A little aside...
The term 'fresh expressions of Church' hasn’t always been well received in this Diocese and we should be encouraged to think beyond terminology. Think of it as a lowercase ‘f’ and a lowercase ‘e’. Part of our calling described in the Preface to the Declaration of Assent which asked you: “will you affirm your loyalty to this inheritance of faith as your inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to those in your care?” A 'fresh expression of Church' could be what it means to be ‘proclaiming afresh to each generation’ in your parish...?