Welcome to Greenbelters!
Quite a number of Greenbelt contributors are also part of the national Fresh Expressions team. Greenbelt has a great history of encouraging creative and often groundbreaking developments in worship, discipleship and engagement with culture. It also provides a safe place for those whose thinking is seen as too radical for their churches, and where those who struggle with church, or have given up on it, can find some Christian community.
Fresh Expressions is a partnership – (quite a large partnership – we are the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Congregational Federation, Ground Level, CMS, Church Army, Anglican Church Planting Initiatives and 24/7 Prayer at the moment, with others planning to join.) that is particularly concerned with the missional aspect of the emerging church conversation in the UK.
We help local churches to plant churches or congregations particularly for those who have never been involved with the Church, or engaged with the call of Jesus, and with those who have given up on church. We support pioneer ministers and initiatives.
Fresh expressions and pioneers you may find at Greenbelt
Barbara Glasson (story)
We are not interested in cloning standard forms of church. We want to take each local context seriously. We encourage contextual mission not cloning something from another context.
Quite a few of our colleagues who contribute to Greenbelt are part of the worship program and have a track record of developing innovative and participative liturgies. Fresh expressions of church need creative approaches to worship, but they don't begin with gathering for worship. They begin with listening to God and to the context where he has sent or placed us. Then the worship an be appropriate for the locality and its people.
A fresh expression of church is not a redesigned existing service, nor a halfway house to get people to 'real church'. It is a new congregation established for the benefit of those untouched by existing church. In our thinking it would be 'missional' – for the sake of others, 'contextual' – designed for the context, not cloned, 'formational' – about disciples not just attenders, and 'ecclesial' – it is an expression of church, a real community around Jesus.
Read Graham Cray's article from Youthwork magazine: Youth congregations: right or wrong?
This 'church' language is not about the survival of an institution, it comes from a conviction that Christian discipleship is essentially corporate. That we are inseparably linked to one another by being linked to Jesus and that we need communities of fellow disciples if we are to thrive as disciples and be signs and instruments of God's Kingdom.
On this site you can find stories, resources, training opportunities, and a network of fellow disciples.
Graham Cray – Leader of the Fresh Expressions Team and former Chair of Greenbelt.
expressions: making a difference: 28 stories of fresh expressions of church.
Share booklets: a series of booklets encouraging you to think about the basics of fresh expressions.
mission shaped intro: a free downloadable six-session course introducing fresh expressions of church.
mission shaped ministry: our one-year learning journey equipping you to plant and lead fresh expressions of church.