Fresh expressions of church will be a key part of establishing new places for new people in every context of the Methodist Church. Many circuits have already started to explore new patterns of worship and gathering to reach those not yet a part of a Christian community. You might be familiar with some of the most common fresh expressions such as Messy Church, café church, alternative worship, and forest church.

Fresh Expressions/Nurturing small New Places for New People communities: An invitation 

Aim: The Fx/Nurturing small NPNP communities are learning communities, designed to encourage and support small teams of 3-8 people, to start new fresh expressions of church. These small groups of people gather around an activity or place, which enable people to find and belong to a community where they can explore questions of life, meaning and faith together. The groups are co-ordinated by a local group enabler (e.g., District mission enabler or someone with similar passions and skills). 

For: Anyone who would like to explore developing faith amongst small groups of people, who are not yet part of an existing church community. 

How: The learning community is formed around small teams with: 

  • Regular gatherings (online or physical depending on the groups preference) with input and basic teaching around the ‘listening, loving, sharing the gospel cycle’ of the Fresh Expressions methodology flexibly delivered by the Godsend app (free to download) from the group enabler. 
  • Every 6 months an online gathering with other teams to reflect, learn and plan led by Simon Goddard and Mike Moynagh. 
  • Group coaching as and when required.

 Contact: To learn more about the resource with Simon Goddard and Mike Moynagh from the Fresh Expressions Resourcing team contact Church at the Margins Officer, Eunice Attwood for further information attwoode@methodistchurch.org.uk  

 Learn more about Fresh Expressions here 

A piece of research commissioned by the Methodist Church in 2016 found an encouraging picture. The key findings suggest that

  • 31% of circuits have a fresh expression
  • 37,000 people worship regularly in a Methodist Fresh Expression
  • 24,000 of those attending have no prior experience of church
  • 59% of fresh expressions are lay-led

You can download the in-depth report ‘Methodism’s Hidden Harvest’ here: 

Methodism's Hidden Harvest (Pdf) 

Beginning a fresh expression

If you would like to begin a fresh expression there are four areas you need to consider. How your fresh expression will be:

  • contextual – shaped by the needs and characteristics of a particular community.

This means its time, location and activities will reflect those you seek to reach, not the patterns of established churches.

  • missional – enabling women, men, and children to become followers of Jesus.

This means its purpose is to find relevant and sensitive models of evangelism for people to encounter the transforming love of God.

  • formational –empowering people to grow and mature in their discipleship

This means its activities, worship and gatherings are focus on deepening faith and making it relevant to people’s everyday lives.

  • ecclesial – seeking to form a Christian community that lives out the four dimensions of ‘Our Calling’.

This means it has the potential to become a church in its own right, not simply a stepping stone to an existing church.

If you would like more information on beginning a fresh expression please go to www.freshexpressions.org.uk where you will find resources to help get started and discussions from practitioners and leaders, or contact attwoode@methodistchurch.org.uk.