How to start a fresh expression of church

Three-minute guide

Ask another Christian. God wants us to work in teams. That's why Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs (Luke 10. 1). So if you want to a start a fresh expression of church, prayerfully find someone to do it with.

Begin with what you've got - who you are, what you know, who you know and what you have:

  • what are your passions and interests - cooking, art etc.?
  • what do you know about - mending bikes?
  • who could you share your passion with - who could you ask to help? For example, say you go cycling with friends. Could you ask two other Christians to organise food for the cyclists (and their partners?) when you get back? Then you'll be able to share your lives more deeply together.
  • what do you possess - a home to meet in, a car to transport people, time to spend with others?

And don't forget: other people can serve you!

Chat to others - to God directly in prayer, to those you are seeking to serve and to others with wisdom to share. Listen and learn all you can.

Example

Take Louise (Kairos, Harrogate).

  • Who was she?
    A health visitor attached to a GP surgery.
  • What did she know?
    An unusually high number of young mothers suffered from post-natal depression.
  • Who did she know?
    Charlie and Charlotte. They lived in the same neighbourhood as many of the mums. In a conversation, the three of them came up with the idea of starting a support group for new mothers.
  • What did they have?
    Charlie and Charlotte's home, which was where the support group first met. In time, the group evolved into a Christian community.

For example, the Fresh Expressions website contains over 200 stories of fresh expressions, often with contact details. Why not email someone doing the type of thing you have in mind?

Don't short change this listening! If you really want to serve people round you, use conversations with them to propel you forward.

Example

Hot Chocolate started with a small group of Christians offering cups of hot chocolate to young people in the centre of Dundee. As they got to know each other, the young people described how they were looking for a place to rehearse their band. The Christians offered them the church building.

That was the beginning of what became a thriving community, with a worshipping core. It started with what the Christians knew - how to make hot chocolate! But it developed because they listened to the young people and responded to them.

Hot Chocolate

Dream up lots of possibilities. Keep asking 'what if…?' 'What if we did this?' 'What if we did that?' Then ask, 'Why not?'

'What if…?' leads to 'why not?' which takes you to another 'what if…?' Eventually, through prayer, you will come up with a brainwave!

Expert designers keep exploring possibilities. Inexperienced ones miss out on creative ideas because they narrow down options too early.

Experiment like mad! Don't be shy about trying something to see if it works. Messy Church started as a six-month experiment, which the leaders adapted as they went along.

Follow the fresh expressions journey:

A fresh expressions journey

  • listen to God and the people you are called to serve.
  • find a way to love and serve the people round you.
  • build community with those you serve.
  • offer opportunities for individuals to explore becoming disciples of Jesus.
  • let a Christian community, a congregation or church, take shape round those coming to faith.
  • encourage new believers to do it again by leading others on a similar journey.

God's role is vital! So pray as you follow the ABC.

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