What is a fresh expression?

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, incarnational 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.

Fresh expressions:

  • serve those outside church;
  • listen to people and enter their culture;
  • make discipleship a priority;
  • form church.

A phrase like 'fresh expressions of church' can be vague and unclear. Sometimes the label is used to cover almost anything - even a new church noticeboard! But the important thing is intention: When a new mission project or group begins, what is the intention?

If it is to work towards establishing a new community or congregation especially for those who have never been involved in church (un-churched) or once were, but left for whatever reason (de-churched), then it is a fresh expression of church in the making. A fresh expression of church like this may look very different to traditional church.

If, though, the intention is to do mission better or more imaginatively in order to attract people to an existing church, it isn't a fresh expression (although doing that is always an excellent idea). The aim of a fresh expression is not to provide a stepping stone into existing church, but to form a new church in its own right. So it is important to decide the direction you are heading in, before you begin the journey.

For more details, see What is a fresh expression of church? in the Guide.