How to Be Sustainable

The challenge here is to understand sustainability in ways that do not pre-judge what the venture will become. We should not assume that a sustainable fresh expression will look like inherited church.

The Challenge:

To sustain those who have started a Fresh Expression they need adequate spiritual and practical support.

To birth a venture on a scale that fits the context you may want to avoid financial commitments that can’t be sustained in the long term. Simple church, well connected to the wider church, may be an answer in many cases.

To take seriously the nurture of second generation leaders they should take over as quickly as possible. As you start, might you shape your venture around the nature and availability of the leaders who might take it forward?

To manage other transitions by going back to your core values.  Keep asking ‘What are we seeking to do and why?’ Agree on principles that will guide how these values are expressed and giving members maximum freedom to be creative within this framework.

To keep the Fresh Expression fresh regularly review what you are doing, encourage members to come up with ideas and use their gifts, and constantly introduce – as appropriate – small changes.

Building a strong team

Helping the core team (the ‘missional community’) become not just a community, but a Godly one will set a healthy tone for the fresh expression as a whole. It will involve attending to the following processes:

Forming

Forming the missional community, which includes helping members get to know each other better – perhaps using a Myers-Briggs test, for example, and ice-breakers that encourage members to start sharing their lives.

Norming

Norming entails negotiating and nurturing communal, task and spiritual norms that will govern the missional community’s behaviour and how members relate to each other. It is vital that members cultivate their inner hearts.

Storming

Storming is about managing conflict constructively and should be a normal part of a missional community’s life. Agreed practices for handling conflict may help (including periods of prayerful silence). The leader must articulate divergent views so that everyone feels heard. Returning to the inner heart to practice forgiveness and make apology will assist teams to become grace-full.

Performing

Performing – getting the task done – requires that the missional community pays careful attention to its training needs (eg. mission shaped ministry), to other forms of ongoing support and in particular to the spiritual health of its leader.

Adjourning

Adjourning happens if the team disbands after a time. Sharing what the community has learnt with the wider church may help to turn what can be quite a painful experience into something positive.

HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR SOUL

Taking care of your own soul is just as important as the work of pioneering itself. There are some particular challenges unique to fx practitioners simply because you’re starting something new. Not everyone gets you, the work is tough and it can be very lonely. But don’t worry, you’re not alone; here are some reflections from fx practitioners about how to take care of your soul on this journey.

FX VALUES

FX Associates are the core of the movement. They’re a growing community of hundreds of Fresh Expressions practitioners across the UK who are passionate about equipping, encouraging and championing fellow pioneers and Fresh Expressions. If you’re currently involved in a Fresh Expression and looking for your tribe then come and join us!

FX ASSOCIATES

FX Associates are the core of the movement. They’re a growing community of hundreds of Fresh Expressions practitioners across the UK who are passionate about equipping, encouraging and championing fellow pioneers and Fresh Expressions. If you’re currently involved in a Fresh Expression and looking for your tribe then come and join us!

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