Planting a Christian community with fresh expressions of Christian faith – 1

I am a church planter who started a Christian community a few months ago. The book, “Fresh Expressions: A New Kind of Methodist Church for People Not in Church” by Kenneth H. Carter Jr. and Audrey Warren, has given me inspiration for my discerning and planning about the ways to continue our journey.

First, I am going to share a few pieces of his insight from this book. Then, I will share my reflections and learnings in the next post:

  1. “A Fresh Expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church. It will come into being through the practices of listening, service, contextual mission, and making disciples. It will have the potential to become a mature expression of church shaped by the gospel and the enduring marks of the church and fort its cultural context.”
  2. “…Fresh Expressions invites the church to continue to mature. The maturing takes place not by settling back into our normal routines of being church and working at doing those better but stepping out in faith and following the Holy Spirit to new people, in new places and in new ways and in the midst of its finding a renewal and rebirth.”
  3. “The truth is that while we have been working as the church to ‘change the world’, the world has changed around us.”
  4. “An important distinction in recent reflection about the church is centered around the words attractional and missional. An attraction church sees itself as the center toward which people and resources flow. A missional church sees itself as a gathering from which people and resources flow toward the world. Attractional absorbs people into community. Missional sends them out. And, of course, the most healthy and vital congregations are both attractional and missional.”
  5. “The strategic intent of Fresh Expression lies in its willingness to reclaim the content of faith, to re-center on the movement of the Holy Spirit, and to reimagine church outside the walls of our buildings and beyond the hours of our scheduled services.”
  6. “We no longer live in a church culture. And yet we as a church have not always been motivated to adapt to a culture whose rhythms of life are shifting. People live and gather in increasingly varied and nontraditional ways.”
  7. “Networks are increasingly displacing neighborhoods as our sole sources of community. This is the result of the flow of communication through technology and an increased personal mobility, especially among the young. A network might center around a hobby (running, hiking…), around work…, or around social justice…Members of networks may or may not live in proximity to each other. Their relationships will often be a combination of online communication…., and face-to-face meetings…There is much work to do in the formation of community among networks.”
  8. “Where is community discovered in our time? The sociological concepts of ‘third place’ is helpful in our exploration of neighborhoods and networks. The theory assumes that the two fundamental places where we spend a great deal of our time are home..and work. That leads into the next question: Where does one spend time when not sleeping and working?”
  9. “…new third places are emerging in our culture: coffee shops, sporting leagues, digital media, entertainment and resort cultures, and pub….”
  10. “…the church is called to plant expressions of Christianity in third places that are increasingly ‘homes away from home’ for mobile and networked society.”
  11. “In an earlier generation of new church development, church plants estimated that they would gather a particular number of participants within a specific time frame; and standard methods, such as launch activities and mass mailings, were often employed. This often occurred with little regard for cultural or geographic differentiation…”

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