acceptable and what is unacceptable about consumer culture? In what
ways can we be `in' a consumer culture but not be bound by its underlying
values? What forms of church does this require?
We offer our findings to help dioceses, deaneries and parishes discern
appropriate forms of mission for their varying contexts.
We have entitled this report Mission shaped Church. This echoes two
themes within this report: that the Church is the fruit of God's mission,
and that as such it exists to serve and to participate in the ongoing mission
The report is subtitled `church planting and fresh expressions of
church in a changing context', reflecting our ongoing and shared calling to
embody and inculturate the gospel in the evolving contexts and cultures
of our society.
We understand `church planting' to refer to the discipline of `creating
new communities of Christian faith as part of the mission of God to
express God's kingdom in every geographic and cultural context'.
expressions of church' are manifestations of this, but they also give
evidence of many parishes' attempts to make a transition into a more
missionary form of church.
The report begins with an analysis of the current cultural context of the
Church of England's mission. It then outlines the history of church planting
in England, with special emphasis on developments since the publication
of Breaking New Ground in 1994. After addressing issues of definition, the
report offers description and analysis of a number of `fresh expressions of
church' that have emerged in response to the changing missionary context.
Following the description of the current situation, Chapter 5 offers a
theological framework for the Church of England in mission. The remainder
of the report proposes a missionary methodology for church planting and
for the Church in mission, and makes practical recommendations for the
One of the central features of this report is the recognition that the
changing nature of our missionary context requires a new inculturation of
the gospel within our society. The theology and practice of inculturation or
contextualization is well established in the world Church, but has received
little attention for mission in the West. We have drawn on this tradition as
a major resource for the Church of England.
Inculturation is central to this report because it provides a principled basis
for the costly crossing of cultural barriers and the planting of the church
into a changed social context. Church has to be planted, not cloned.
At the same time, any principle based on Christ's incarnation is inherently