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.
A recent 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
To read the more in-depth report ‘Methodism’s Hidden Harvest’ you can download it here.
Beginning a fresh expression
If you would like to begin a fresh expression here are four areas you need to consider how will your fresh expression 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 Matt Finch firstname.lastname@example.org