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.
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