information for transformational people

fx 246The missional impact of fresh expressions 

From Church Army Research Unit

In November 2016, the Church Army published research about fresh expressions of Church - an initiative of the Church of England. 

An analysis of fresh expressions in 21 dioceses showed the following:

A growing movement of innovative approaches

  • There were 1109 fresh expressions of Church - an average of 53 expressions per diocese
  • They make up around 15% of a diocese’s church communities
  • About three-fifths are under five years old
  • The pace is accelerating - 4 times as many are starting now, compared with ten years ago
  • They are varied - there are 14 types
  • The picture of what works in the capital city is not typical of elsewhere

Reaching a new constituency
  • They mostly are small - 67% have 10-55 attenders
  • Over 50,000 people attend these fresh expressions of Church – about 6% of diocesan attendees
  • 38% of those who come are under 16 - twice the average proportion in parish churches
  • The leaders think the majority of those joining are not existing church attenders ( inherited Sunday congregations surveyed contained very few non-churched attenders, though a
    reasonable proportion of people from a de-churched background)
  • Attenders at fresh expressions of Church showed more evenness of age and gender than the attenders at inherited Sunday congregations

Developing new leaders
  • Men and women are equally likely to lead a fresh expression of Church
  • 36% of the leaders are unrecognised lay people

Sustainability is an issue
  • The sustainability of a fresh expression of Church is often intimately connected to the sustainability of its parent church - most are sustainable only as part of a wider whole
  • Sustaining fresh expressions of Church requires discovering sustainable rhythms and practices, adapting and evolving, involving others, receiving and giving, persevering and following (in discipleship)
  • Dioceses and the wider Church need to be more creative, imaginative and discerning in the way it uses money and other resources to support fresh expressions of Church

Nothing else, as a whole, in the Church of England has this level of missional impact and contributes to the re-imagination of Church 

Download the research from here.

Here is a video of George Lings and and Elspeth McGann presenting the research at the Catching Sight conference in November 2016. What does it actually tell us? Has it changed what we think? And how are dioceses responding to it?:

Retweet about this article:  
From the Church Army Research Unit, 07/11/2016

To submit a story or to publicise an event please contact us. Sign up for email here.