As you may have picked up, the last six months have seen a “big conversation” taking place across different parts of the Fresh Expressions movement led by our denominational partners.
Fresh Expressions has spent the last 15 years enabling new mission and imaginative new churches to spring up, each of which focus on reaching those who don’t currently come to church. Research such as The Day of Small Things has provided wonderful encouragement that God is doing something incredible.
But as we enter the next phase of our journey we felt God calling us to reimagine ourselves for the next step.
Increasingly we’ve seen Fresh Expressions exist more as a “network of networks.” We have been thrilled to see wonderful networks of mission springing up all over the country – in our partner denominations, enabling by associate partner organisations or just coming together relationally as people connect with others on the Fresh Expressions journey.
As these networks have emerged, Fresh Expressions has also been changing in its make-up. In place of a small team of training and communications specialists, we now find a growing community of practitioners, strategic leaders, theologians, coaches and trainers who are willing to share their expertise and resources wherever the opportunity arises. This is the new movement and so our aims now are to grow this through:
- The sharing of learning, vision and innovation.
- Building intentional relationships between key personnel for mutual support.
- Enabling synergy and strategic partnership between its different parts.
Now, we want to release the movement itself to become increasingly responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, whilst sharing the responsibility for ongoing investment and innovation more widely and accountably across all of its networks.
As we do this, our overall sense is that this is not the time to close the Charity, but the moment to re-imagine it into a new lighter and more agile partnership. Here gifts and resources are shared more widely and creatively, and a movement fit for the urgent task of mission in our nation would emerge.
With this vision in mind, our October Board meeting agreed a number of new proposals. In the area of leadership we agreed a radical change.
Fresh Expressions will move away from a ‘team leader’ model from 14 March 2019. Instead we’ll create collaborating teams where many will contribute to the discernment of the future and bring shape to what we do.
At the heart of the movement will be a number of voluntary communities, drawing in leaders and enablers from right across the Fresh Expressions movement and often working around a specific area of mission. A core community will facilitate a coordinated working together of similar leaders across the network.
Fresh Expressions has always sought to ride the wave of God’s spirit in the way we approach mission. What is it that God is doing and how might we join in. We sense now is the time to enable and empower the whole movement to take us forward and so we hope this new structure will begin to enable this step.
Leadership can sometimes be about individual people and individual vision. Yet we see the New Testament model of a body where everyone matters as something far more in keeping with an embryonic movement of mission. We’d love you to be involved in this next step of the journey.
If you like to contribute to the debate, why not share a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Cover photo by Lance Grandahl via Unsplash)