How do fresh expressions relate to the rest of the church when they are so individual?
By celebrating diversity as a gift not seeing it as a threat. As Britain becomes ever more multi-cultural and multi-ethnic more diversity is needed if we are to be truly effective.
Theologically by knowing themselves to be part of the one body of Christ. In these days of many different denominations and expressions of church we may need an understanding of 1 Corinthians 12 that sees the members of the body in congregational as well as individual terms.
Creative thought and prayer needs to be given to ways in which individual churches (established and fresh) can visibly demonstrate their oneness in Christ, particularly in local areas.
Oversight and accountability are of course essential. This is especially effective when sought 'from below' rather than imposed 'from above'. Barbara Glasson's story of Somewhere Else is an excellent example of how a unique fresh expression ensured it remained in good relationship with the rest of the church.
Former Methodist President Graham Carter has stressed the need for fresh expressions to be held in relationship by love rather than by regulation.
Barbara Glasson, Mixed Up Blessing: A New Encounter with Being Church, Inspire, 2006, ISBN 978-185852305-7.