Fresh Expressions

A fresh expression of church is a gathering or network that engages mainly with people who have never been to church.

There is no single model, but the emphasis is on starting something which is appropriate to its context, rather than cloning something that works elsewhere.

Recent research reveals the positive value of a growing number of fresh expressions across our diocese. The Church Army’s Research Unit led by Can George Lings has shows that over 3100 people are regularly attending this form of our local church presence somewhere in our diocese and that 1 in 7 of our churches are now fresh expressions.

A clear story is evident of many of these new ecclesial communities starting notably since 2010, helping church emerge amongst peoples’ networks in local neighbourhoods that are otherwise beyond the natural reach of our churches. Typically just 3-12 people start a fresh expression which grows to an average size of over 40 attendees. Nearly half of the people attending have not attended church before. 84% of our fresh expressions are serving all ages and they are present in a range of areas rich, and poor and across all church traditions that reflect the variety of the diocese.

Findings reveal that our fresh expressions are all actively making disciples and most are engaged with evangelism. A high proportion of leaders (42%) are lay with no formal training. The research highlights that these new churches need praising for what has been achieved and nurturing. Read the full report here.

Across the Diocese we’re a growing movement of fresh expressions of church: rural and urban, cafe churches, cell networks, expressions for retired people, teenagers, children, special interest groups and more. We’ve a large network of Messy Churches too. Many of our fresh expressions are planted by the local parish church with both clergy and lay leadership. Other fresh expressions are lead by specialist pioneer ministers.

Fresh expressions of church can be for people of any age or background. They form a vital part of our Reaching New Generations Strategy particularly amongst young adults, where they can grow in culturally appropriate ways for their context alongside existing churches as part of a mixed or blended economy of church.

To find out more visit the fresh expressions website where you can find a wide range of stories of fresh expressions across the country to inspire you.

For enquiries about planting and growing fresh expressions please contact the Diocesan Fresh Expressions Enabler David Cundill (details below).

To find out more about the exciting Greenhouse Project, go here.

A guide to creating cafe church with top tips and links is available here.

Essential fresh expressions: three-minute guides; all the essentials of fresh expressions of church in just 21 minutes can be found here.

A comprehensive set of resources on everything involved in both thinking about and doing fresh expressions can be found here.


Vision Days

Dynamic and inspiring days which open people's eyes to the missionary potential of fresh expressions of church. 

Mission Shaped Intro

A six-session freely-downloadable course which helps people to reconnect with their communities and think creatively about new ways of being church.

Mission Shaped Ministry

A one-year part-time course for those leading, or thinking of starting, a fresh expression of church to equip you for ministry in a new form of church. We can run a flexible MSM course tailored for your context upon request.

To express an interest in us running any of these courses for you or if you’d like to be trained to be able to deliver any of them please contact David Cundill (details below)

Messy Church

One of the most successful Fresh Expressions currently running in Lichfield Diocese is the phenomenom of 'Messy Church', and lots more on local support is available here

Across the Diocese, people leading fresh expressions are gathering together in local hubs to share ideas, and experiences, best practice, support each other and explore partnership. Hubs can be for one type of fresh expression (e.g. Messy Church, Cafe Church) or for an area (e.g. rural fresh expressions in North Staffordshire). If you’d like to join a hub or help form your own please contact David Cundill on the right hand side