John Bowen is the author of What is a Fresh Expression of Church? A Beginner’s Guide to a Movement that is Changing the Church.
The first half of the booklet explains what is (and is not!) meant by the phrase “fresh expressions of church,” and unpacks why fresh expressions of church might be needed and how they come about. A case study of the Little Flowers community in Winnipeg MB gives concrete reality to the theory.
The second half of the booklet then deals with some of the questions raised by fresh expressions. For example:
- Is this just the flavour of the month?
- Why are existing churches not enough?
- Is there still a place for traditional churches in a fresh expressions world?
- Isn’t it dangerous for the church to get involved with culture?
- Has a fresh expressions strategy replaced evangelism?
- If we do need to start new churches, what’s wrong with the traditional approach?
- Who can start a fresh expression of church? and,
- What does a fresh expression of church cost?
The author’s conclusion is that fresh expressions is a genuinely missional movement, seeking to incarnate the Gospel in communities where there is presently no Christian witness. As such, it should be endorsed with enthusiasm but also with discernment.
As Rowan Williams has said, “Essentially the Fresh Expressions programme is not simply about a kind of scattered set of experiments. . . . It’s about that gradual, but I think inexorable, shift [towards being more missional] in the whole culture of our church that has been going on in the last few years, and which will undoubtedly continue to grow and develop.”
For the full text of this booklet in PDF format, click here