Simplicity is a key to sustainability
Keeping a fresh expression simple (or 'lightweight') could help to ensure that it is manageable within existing resources and time constraints.
Having a 'simple church' in someone's home around a bring-and-share meal might have great potential. Everyone's got to eat, so it would not be such a big time commitment. Bring-and-share would make sure the burden did not fall on one person. Watching a video or listening to a CD would avoid someone having to prepare the input.
'Simple church' may be especially promising if it is combined with attending a 'big church' celebration from time to time - either on a town-wide basis or going to one particular church. The group would get additional stimulus and be reminded that it is part of a much larger whole.
Going to a festival like Greenbelt or the Walsingham pilgrimage could have similar benefits, but on a much larger scale.
If simple equals small (which is not always the case), you might want to think of creating several small cells that cluster together periodically - perhaps every few weeks. The cluster would join up different fragments of church and provide an opportunity, perhaps, for a different style of worship and teaching.
Simplicity might mean pruning your activities
Taking simplicity seriously could help Christians at the core of a fresh expression to avoid getting bogged down by church events. A planting team of 25 people in their twenties and thirties, for example, might agree:
'We're all busy people, so we must be realistic about how much time we can give. Why don't we commit ourselves to normally one session a week, to allow us some leeway to give extra time as the project develops?
'We might meet as a whole group once a month, which will include worship, eating together and doing any business. No extra meetings for business!
'The other three weeks we'll work in threes and fours to develop hubs of activity among our friends. Before the activity, the three- or foursome will worship and pray together for half an hour, so that we maintain regular worship but connect it closely to the activities with our friends.
'That will mean that as relationships develop and we start an introduction to Christianity course, we've got some space in our lives to put on a further event. Maybe the half-hour times of worship will evolve into some form of cell church, involving our friends?
'Perhaps every six weeks or so we'll go to our parent church to keep in touch.'
This is a short extract from Sustaining a fresh expression.
For more thought-provoking articles on different aspects of fresh expressions of church, visit the Share website.