Pioneering fresh expressions of Church 2019

Posted By on November 15, 2019

Time was when for many people church
only look like this. It was always in a building, and always
on a Sunday. In Leicester Diocese, it’s often still in a building and still on a Sunday, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it looks like this, or this, or this. These
are fresh expressions of Church and we are committed as a diocese to growing as
many fresh expressions of Church as we have traditional ones. Pioneering mission is
a work of faithful improvisation. We’ve learned over the last 5 years that this faithful improvisation is faithful because it
takes seriously Scripture, and our hope in Christ, takes seriously the story of the Church and identify where God’s at work in people’s lives and in the lives of our communities and it spurs us to, join-in, to find people of peace, to find people we can love and journey with. But
it’s also a work of improvisation. When you start you often don’t know who it is you’re going to be working with and what kind of form or shape or type of community that might result I think this is this project is a little bit different, we’re meeting
people who wouldn’t normally be in the church, not necessarily
a church background and we’re able to, without perhaps than realising,
giving them a spiritual experience Over the last
five years we’ve been given special funding from the church commissioners
strategic development fund and now have 78 fresh expressions of Church and more
than 130 pioneering missional activities and we’ve learned a lot in the process,
we’ve learned that pioneer ministers tend to learn best in more practical and
experiential learning environments, we’ve learned that not all pioneering
missional activities end up as fully fledged fresh expressions, and best of
all we’ve made friends, seen people, many for the first time beginning to explore
faith and ask questions, and some come ti faith! When I was
pregnant with my daughter, Lydia I met a young lady called Ashley and her nan
June runs Messy Church here and they encouraged me to come back to Messy
Church which I did, and my faith has regrown from there, it’s a really
beautiful thing actually. Much like this garden, faithful
improvisation has created church like this! Church the meet in different ways
with different people, but sees itself as part of our wider community, a rich and
vibrant diocesan expression of what it means to follow Jesus, what it means to
be a disciple, what it means to live lives that make other people go “I wonder what it’d be like if I joined in?” Before
coming to Imprint I didn’t really have a personal relationship with Christ, I was
what we call a seasonal Christian I would only kind of pray during my exams
or whenever I needed Him. But over the last several years Imprint
has really shown me how to develop a close and intimate relationship with Christ
through my quiet time, and it creates an environment of freedom where I can
jump, I can sing, I can laugh, I can be joyful and be proud of being a Christian.
Now I’m an intern at Imprint, I get to serve the church and I’m so excited for
what else God has in store for us. Pioneering is not designed to be
coherent, it’s designed to encourage life now we may get it wrong, they may need
change, we may need to rethink I’m not commenting on that But, but incoherence is not a criticism, its about dying to become. So how do we do it? How do we make sure
that we can let go? This pioneering mission, this work of faithful
improvisation is something that the Holy Spirit leads us in, has already gone
before us in, we’re kind of responding to what’s already happening rather than
making it of our own devices, and even if we weren’t encouraging this mission to
happen, we think it’d be happening anyway! In fact getting on for 20% of our
congregations in the diocese worship in a fresh expression of Church in,
something that’s genuinely pioneering mission. And as we know that they happen
all over in every Deanery, in every parish it’s possible, in every church it’s
possible, the question should be if you’re not involved in it so far, why not?

Posted by Lewis Heart

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