United Reformed Church

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions of church are new types of church that tend to (though not always) develop outside of church buildings, amid contemporary culture and in ecumenical settings.

They are likely to look different to traditional church, and take many different forms, such as Messy Church, Cafe Church or Alternative Worship to name but a few.

They are formed specifically to share faith with people who don’t ‘go to’ church and have grown up without knowledge of Jesus. These churches emerge when Christians work within the community to love and serve – demonstrating and sharing their faith as they go about their work.

They are not ‘bridges’ into traditional church, they are ‘real church’ in their own right.

As we focus on sharing faith and bringing new disciples to Christ, it is important that churches connect with our communities, and the Fresh Expressions movement offers training resources to help churches and Synods as they explore.

Photo: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Seedlings growing in pots

The Fresh Expressions journey is a 6-part framework used by practitioners:

  • Listening
  • Loving and serving
  • Building community
  • Exploring discipleship
  • Church taking shape
  • Doing it again

The journey is underpinned by:

  • Prayer
  • Ongoing listening
  • A relationship with the wider church

Image: Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions values

Although fresh expressions of church can appear to be very different, they all share a set of values.

Missional: they share the love of Jesus by behaving as Jesus did – loving and serving in the neighbourhood, outside of the church environment

Contextual: they are always adapted for and adapting to their situation.

Formational: their priority is to form disciples, by journeying with people and helping them to understand and become more like Jesus

Ecclesial: they are intentional about forming some form of church.

When you think about it, these are the values should apply to all expressions of church, and the Fresh Expressions movement encourages all churches to move towards behaving according to these values.

Find out more

The URC has been a partner in the Fresh Expressions movement since 2009, and the URC Coordinator is available to provide advice and support.

For more information, visit the Fresh Expressions website.

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United Reformed Church