Thursday, 14 October 2010
Last night we attended the penultimate meeting on the Mission Shaped Ministry course run by Fresh Expressions. This is a movement largely sponsored by the church of England and The Methodists. Fresh Expressions is inspired by both the gospel and by the dramatic decline in church attendance, to attempt to make the Christian message relevant to people who are not already part of a church. In doing that task, the course encourages Christians to seek to redefine what it is to be church in the 21st century and aims to create new ways of connecting with the communities in which they live.
There is a heavy ,and I would say biblical, emphasis on listening,service,incarnational mission and making disciples.
The movement has a great deal to commend it,not least this great desire to reconnect the gospel and culture, as although the truth doesnt change, the ways in which we share that truth with people must change. This is partly why Luther suffered and Wycliffe died. If we accept that we live in a largely unevangelised country ,then we must engage in cross cultural mission and this will almost certainly involve "doing things differently" We should not be afrid of that.
I did have some concerns ,the theology that underpins the course wasnt always obvious,to me at least. There were in my view questions "How Fresh Expressions of church relate to other churches?" and indeed "What constitutes a true church?"
These questions however do not affect my admiration for the movement and to coin a phrase; I certainly prefer the way Fresh Expressions are doing it ,to the way so many of us Christians are not doing it!
I will blog in my next post some of the stuff about the local course