Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Evidence Comes in to Support the Fresh Expressions Movement

The culture changed, the (mainline) churches have responded with missional movements such as Fresh Expressions. We are just now, in the last few years, making these efforts in Canada. In the UK they have now been doing Fresh Expressions and other missional efforts long enough that we can do some serious evaluation about whether they have worked. Numbers aren't everything, for sure, but Jesus did say that you will "know them by their fruits." It seems reasonable to make in inquiry as to the affect of all this mission stuff. Here is what the Church Army Research Unit has found:

Church Growth Research Programme - presented by Church Army Research Unit from Church Army on Vimeo.

Is just a video summary, the written reports may be found in summary here and long form, full report, here. I haven't gotten deep into the reading, yet, but I have heard this work presented in a few different contexts and thus feel like I can speak to the bottom line which is this: it's working. Fresh Expressions of church are springing up all over the place and they are, indeed, creating Christian communities of people who would not otherwise be part of church. I'm thrilled because this convincingly demonstrates that we are talking about more than a flash-in-the-pan or flavour-of-the-month. FX are here and they are working.

It's an impressive report and I wish very much that we could do one ourselves here in Canada (even if we are a little behind them in terms of adoption of these strategies), but I'm told there simply isn't the money and scale to do this sort of research and evaluation. I'm frankly not sure that's true, but it's not a project I can really spearhead right now. Anyway, this is very encouraging news about mission!


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