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Fresh Expressions of Church. So what is church ?

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Presentation on theme: "Fresh Expressions of Church. So what is church ?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Fresh Expressions of Church

2 So what is church ?

3 If a fresh expression can properly be said to be a church then it must contain the fullness of the universal Church and thus contain everything that is required to sustain a spiritual & sacramental life in communion with other churches.

4 How can we seek to re-imagine what it means to be the Church and create new communities if we lack the language and ability to talk and reflect about what it means to be the Church in dialogue with Scripture and our tradition. Steven Croft, Mapping Ecclesiology for a mixed economy in Mission Shaped Questions.

5 Are fresh expressions proper church? what is at the heart of church?what is at the heart of church? what must always happen in church?what must always happen in church? what can change?what can change? how can we preserve our identity?how can we preserve our identity? SHARE website

6 1. A large city centre church has started a student congregation. 2.A church which has two congregations which meet in the same premises at the same time – one using English, the other using Korean……. 3. A congregation that meets in the school hall at 3.30 pm on Monday afternoons in order to reach parents/carers and their children. 4. People can log onto a cyber-church to receive teaching and pastoral advice, leave prayer requests and share in discussion. 5.An Christian organisation has started a meeting for prostitutes and drug addicts who have been converted through their work. 6.An evangelist is starting a walkers church – a monthly hike with Christian meditations en route 7.A gathering in a pub organised by a pioneer after playing football together which includes eating together and prayer 8. A church founded by a Nigerian pastor to reach Nigerians in the City centre

7 What does it look like to form Gods What does it look like to form Gods people in a place where the maps that once guided us so well no that once guided us so well no longer help us to make sense of the territory in which we find ourselves. Alan Roxburgh

8 Theological reflection on the identity and calling of the church follows on from its existence as a community of faith. Alister McGrath

9 Holy UP Apostolic OUT Catholic OF IN One Enduring Marks Four linked Journeys Jesus focus Jesus followers Church is any expression of the life of Jesus in communal form OHCA

10 Eight criteria for proper Church. p181 1.Community of people called by God 2.Regularly worships and is sent out in mission 3.Gospel is proclaimed 4.Scripture preached and taught 5.Baptism 6.Holy Communion 7.Authorised ministry for Lords Supper 8.Connected to wider church through various ways

11 The church is comprised of four sets of relationships centred on Jesus, to the Godhead, between members of the local church, to the world and between each part and the whole body. p106.

12 Church as four sets of relationships. Moynagh, Church for Every Context p 106. of up in out

13 Organised Organic One Diverse Holy Charismatic Catholic Local Apostolic Prophetic Howard Synder, Decoding the Church. Baker Books

14 Unity in freedomUnity in freedom Catholic in partisanshipCatholic in partisanship Holiness in povertyHoliness in poverty Apostolic in sufferingApostolic in suffering J. Moltmann, The Church in the power of the Spirit. SCM 1977

15 Basic questions of church 1. Who? 2. What? 3. Why? Maybe we should ask Where from? Where to ?

16 Four voices of theology Four voices of theology 1. What people on the ground say. Espoused 2.What is practised and experienced. Operant 3.Scripture and the tradition. Normative 4.Theological voices from the academy. Formal

17 Concrete Church The identity of the concrete church is not simply The identity of the concrete church is not simply given, it is constructed and ever reconstructed by the grace enabled activities of its members as they embody the church practices, beliefs and values. Nicholas Healy Nicholas Healy

18 Where from ? Where from ? The Body of ChristThe Body of Christ PentecostPentecost The TrinityThe Trinity

19 Where to ? Where to ? Following Jesus - disciple Pilgrims- alien Eschaton- mystery of the future

20 A gospel of reconciliation can only be A gospel of reconciliation can only be communicated by a reconciled fellowship. Four areas 1.Eschatological church 2.Reconciling church 3.Foretaste of the Kingdom 4.Uniting-restoring harmony Lesslie Newbigin

21 the theological doctrine of the church the theological doctrine of the church cannot be simply expressed in abstract terms about the churches timeless nature. It will have to provide points of departure for reforming the church, for giving it a more authentic form. Faithfulness and the fresh start are not antitheses in the history of the Spirit. Jurgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit

22 The missionary church will not aim to spread The missionary church will not aim to spread its own form. It is not a subsidiary of the old one. It is a new church of the same apostolate. It preserves its unity when it fulfils Christs apostolic mission to its own historical situation.

23 And so from the start, where Jesus is, And so from the start, where Jesus is, there is the church, the church is the assembly of those who are finding their relationships, their lives transformed by the presence of Jesus.

24 What happens when the news and presence of Jesus, raised from the dead, impacts upon the human scene, drawing people together in a relationship that changes everyone involved, a relationship which means that each person involved with Jesus is now involved with all others who have answered his invitation, in ways that are painful and demanding but also life giving & transforming beyond imagination.

25 how to manage the crossover from what we do to what God does…..with the sacramental life flowing through as a sign and channel of Gods action. We might need to sit light to a lot of the externals, to break the mould and concentrate on what sort of environment allows God the space to be God, actively and transformingly.

26 Each Christian generation makes itself responsible, as did Jesus first friends, for bringing people into relations with him and so with each other. When that happens, the Church happens.

27 Church as a place where certain things take place to a body of people sent on a mission Community gathered by a common calling & vocationCommunity gathered by a common calling & vocation to be a sent people God centred mission rather than church centredGod centred mission rather than church centred church as missional with calling and sending action ofchurch as missional with calling and sending action of God forming its identity

28 Unity Diversity is part of Gods gracious purpose but Diversity is part of Gods gracious purpose but separation and mutual recognition is not. There must be new forms of church, outside the walls There must be new forms of church, outside the walls of the existing church and distinct from the community from which it came. Separation there must be- for the sake of mission but equally separation cannot be the last word for the gospel is about Gods purpose to unite all things in Christ. Ecumenical Review 29

29 Long term issues resources leadership mission community autonomy and accountability

30 1.Start at different places 2.The danger of waiting for the perfect church 3.Bigger and broader than we conceive 4.Gathered and dispersed 5.Issues of maturity and sustainability 6.Importance of interdependence

31 1.Passion focused more than project 2.Network not just neighbourhood 3.Fluid more than fixed 4.Fragile more than finished 5.Lay not just ordained

32 There is no single authorized source that contains a comprehensive statement of the Church of Englands official teaching concerning the nature of the Church itself. p91

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