'Fresh Expressions is a growing network of contextual, self-replicating communities of Jesus followers being pioneered around the UK, reaching and impacting local communities, such that everyone has access to a contextually relevant expression of church where they too can grow as a missional disciple.'
Fresh Expressions of Church take several different forms, From new housing to rural, urban to suburban, messy church and third age to forests, coffee shops, beaches, pubs, barns, online and even church buildings. However, several key features unite them and provide further clarity around what a Fresh Expression is.
A FRESH EXPRESSION IS CONTEXTUAL
A Fresh Expression finds culturally appropriate ways of reaching people.
Fresh Expressions, like other missional movements, seek to contextualise the gospel for a culture. Whether its skateboarders, new housing estates, sports clubs, bikers, artists, farmers or families in the heart of suburbia – Fresh Expressions don’t impose or assume a certain way of doing things, they listen and learn from the groups they’re connecting with and allow them to shape the culture of their new community of faith.
A FRESH EXPRESSION IS MISSIONAL
A Fresh Expression works mainly with people who do
not attend church.
All Fresh Expressions grow from the realisation that there are so many people who would never choose to walk into a Church building and are followed by the desire to do something about it – that’s how every pioneering journey starts.
Fresh expressions are not Bible studies for church people in unique places. They are church for people who do not attend church. We recognize that people are no longer coming to us; we must go to them and create new forms of church in society.
A FRESH EXPRESSION IS ECCLESIAL
A fresh expression intends to become church for the people it reaches in its context.
Fresh Expressions is a movement seeking to establish new communities of faith. Although they may look different to other more established churches, their vision is still the same – to make disciples.
Fresh expressions are not “ministries” of a church, they are church. While they might not have all of the marks of a mature church, they have the intention of eventually becoming a mature expression of church.
A FRESH EXPRESSION IS FORMATIONAL
A Fresh Expression aims to form disciples.
A Fresh Expression is not a re-brand or upgrade of an existing model. We are passionate about Fresh Expressions being an authentic expression of Church that has developed – a community that can become home to anyone who wants to attend it.
As communities begin to form, fresh expressions
begin exploring discipleship. Discipleship in
fresh expressions varies from formal learning in discussions to social learning inside the close proximity of life lived together.
THE FX JOURNEY
The fx journey is a 6-part framework used by practitioners. Whilst there is a natural progression from one stage to the next this doesn’t mean it’s prescriptive. Pioneering is a creative process so you can often find yourself going backwards before you move forwards which is why the whole journey is underpinned by prayer, ongoing listening and a grace-filled relationship with the wider Church.
Fresh Expressions don’t take a model and replicate. We let the place we’re in and the people around us shape what church looks like – an fx is all about doing church that makes sense to the people and place it finds itself in. So the best way to equip you for the journey you’re about to begin is to give you some tools to help navigate the next steps in this adventure God is calling you into.
One of the four key activities of fx is to enable the resourcing of the movement, by providing and sustaining a framework that empowers practitioners and pioneers within the movement to co-create and resource one another. Check out the wealth of resources and training available to you wherever you are on the fx journey.