Are fresh expressions really church?
Fresh expressions can grow into mature church and some do that more quickly than others.
Church can be understood as what happens when people gather round Jesus. Archbishop Rowan Williams has described church as
...what happens when people encounter the Risen Jesus and commit themselves to sustaining and deepening that encounter in their encounter with each other...
What happens when people gather round Jesus has been described in Mission-shaped Church in terms of four dimensions:
- UP (in worship to God);
- IN (in fellowship with one another);
- OUT (in mission to the world);
- OF (belonging to the whole church throughout the world and through time).
These correspond to the four historic marks of the church in the Nicene Creed: one, holy, catholic and apostolic.