What are fresh expressions of church and how do they emerge?
Dr Michael Moynach
Notes made by Anriëtte de Ridder at the Missional Conference May 2017, Stellenbosch.
Mission is not a 2nd step for God (it is part of his nature, and has always been). Therefore, shouldn’t be 2nd step for us!
Fresh expressions ARE church and is always
This is the very reason why these small communities come into being.
Challenge your local church with these questions…
Do you believe in God?
Yes? Then you believe in a missional God!
Is church primary focused on missions? If not, why not?
Is missions working? Are people flooding to the church?
If not, do it differently!
There are more than 2000 “fresh expressions” churches in the United Kingdom. There are more than 100 000 people involved. But the average size of a fresh expression is 50 people. 50% of people in a fresh expression church in the UK had not been to church previously.
Anticipating the kingdom – when Christ fulfills all things
It’s a journey:
- Listening (leads to the gift of community)
- Loving and serving (leads to the gift of friendship)
- Building community (leads to the gift of deepening relationships and trust)
- Exploring (leads to appreciating Jesus and asking for more)
- church taking shape (leads to the gift of enthusiasm willingness to share)
- Doing it again…
Each stage unfolds the kingdom. It is propelled by the exchange of gifts – generosity. It is not “us” doing it for the sake of “them” but going on a journey together.
How do you know you can move on th the next stage? Wait for the exchange of “gifts” as mentioned above. Because each stage of the journey reveals the kingdom, there’s no rush because each stage of the journey is an important gift. Each stage is already the Kingdom!
Example – Language café
- Woman practicing language
- Drinking tea
- Building community
- Prayer requests
- Spiritual topics in conversation over time
- Ladies later Invited to separate course about faith topics
Fresh expressions is one of the rare places where social action is integrated in evangelism (and not done separately).
The basis is divine generosity – the church is Gods gift to the world. But the gift must be in a suitable form, it must be released. It is a Eucharistic-like movement.
Problems encountered with fresh expressions:
Starting a group with too many Christians. They come with their own agendas and “language”. Start with only 3 or 4 christians maximum.
Do not be deceived by size – keep it small.
How to start a fresh expression
Read story of Jesus
Don’t ask – what does it tell us about God?
Ask an experiential question!
Challenge each other to make an expirement and see if it does make a difference
No formal sharing of the gospel or evangelism!
Discover Bible Study:
- If this story happened today what would it look like?
- What does it mean to you?
- Might it make a difference to your life?
Did it happen? – This could be next week’s follow up question.
- The 4th question cannot always be used – can we share this with someone else?
Don’t give the answers – let them google it and discover it for themselves!
Empower leadership and participation.