Talking Church Plants and Revitalisation with Rev Dr Jon Turner, our Director of New Christian Communities
- What is a New Christian Community?
A new worshipping community. A place where people can meet with God and find fellowship with other Christian believers.
- Is it costly to set up a New Christian Community?
It all depends upon what is envisaged.Some can cost nothing in monetary terms but will be highly dependent upon people’s time and energy. Other projects might require more financial support but need less physical input. We’re keen to support any new growth opportunities in the Church of England Birmingham, and offer support and guidance on how best to establish and sustain new activities.
- How do New Christian Communities, particularly church plants, sustain themselves in the long term?
I think it’s critical that any new initiative has a goal from the outset of becoming self-sustaining. Therefore, significant planning should occur from day one as to how that will be achieved. However, there is much creativity about how this can occur – for example, if there is a vision to start a church in a coffee shop, why not run the coffee shop too which will hopefully provide some sustainable income?
- Can anyone begin a New Christian Community?
Yes.If you have an idea to do something new then perhaps speak with your existing church leadership team or feel free to contact the New Christian Communities team at Church of England Birmingham.
- What is the distinctive difference between a church plant and a fresh expression?
A church plant is a new church initiative and perhaps resembles something familiar to how we currently do church, whilst fresh expressions are completely new ways of being church.
- Where would a New Christian Community meet?
Well, that can be just about anywhere, ranging from people’s homes, to the local community centres. Some Fresh expressions will meet in the park or sports fields, whilst others will meet in existing church buildings.To coin a phrase, the world is your oyster.
- What is a Revitalisation?
Revitalisation supports something that has gone before – that could be in terms of resourcing existing struggling congregations or thinking about a church beginning something new. All churches, big or small should be seeking to expand their mission and influence. That might be to start new congregations or new activities to accomplish that, connecting with people outside our current sphere. Existing churches can help support greenhouse projects in prayer, finances and with person power.
- Is there reference to church planting, fresh expressions and revitalisation in the bible?
There are plenty of references to the gathered people of God. There are various places and occasions where people met for worship, and we read in the New Testament of significant missionary activity that sought to reach new people, in new places, in new ways. Church planting, fresh expressions and revitalisation is one way that we seek to continue that missionary zeal today.
- What support is there for a New Christian Community, its leaders and congregation?
We have a dedicated team at the diocesan office that are willing and available to offer advice and support. We run a church planting course in the Diocese and can also suggest other resources which can offer some helpful guidance.
- Who do I talk to for further information?
Please contact Helena Moss in the Church of England Birmingham office for further information firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m on hand as Director of New Christian Communities, along with our Fresh Expressions Enabler, Mark Berry, to offer support and guidance to help initiative New Christian Communities.