Will fresh expressions last or will they just be yet another fad?
Time will tell, but we believe that there are certain things you can do in a fresh expression to encourage sustainability:
- it is important to keep it fresh by holding on to Scripture and tradition but by also interacting with the surrounding culture;
- it is vital to develop disciples and help new Christians engage in lifelong learning;
- it is essential to train new leaders, offer mentoring and encourage everyone to use their gifts;
- it is necessary to have wise patterns of governance and accountability to the wider church (perhaps through formal structures, but not necessarily);
- it is wise to move towards financial stability as soon as possible;
- steady growth is important too - in holiness, in worship, in service and in mission.
Most important of all, it is vital to dig deep foundations at the beginning. If you start out having listened attentively to God, to the people you are called to serve and to the experience of other Christians, you will be more likely to initiate a venture with a long life. Too many fresh expressions suffer because not enough time was spent listening at the start.