The official definition of a fresh expression of church (from the fresh expressions website) is:
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 principles 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 for its cultural context.
And after watching the DVD we agreed that some of the examples were much more like church than others. Some had all the essential marks of a church already, and others were community projects that had the potential to become church sometime in the future.
We discussed what the examples in the video all had in common – they were all fun, they fitted in with the existing lifestyles of the people they wanted to attract, most of them had informal times of sharing food. Some originated with friendship and for others it was a bit difficult to see exactly how people would become Christians. Most of them had an element of freedom – a choice in what to do and plenty of time to mix and mingle with other people there.
Out of that came a discussion on examples we had seen elsewhere and which could possibly fit here. Messy church was something that the whole family could do together. Church wasn’t something that ate into family time. It was mentioned that many people here are looking for something to do with kids at the weekend.
We also noted how many families on the development lived quite a long way from friends and family – their support network. As a result going out/finding a babysitter was hard. We found that when looking for a cat sitter when we first arrived. Who do you leave your children with if you need to take others to the hospital or something like that.
Whatever fresh expression we do being here, we agreed that initially it must be to kept simple, given the current resources we have.