the story since Breaking New Ground
recommend that good record keeping is established in each diocese, so
that all expressions of church are known and taken seriously, and so that
lessons from their existence are identified and applied. In addition, we
will recommend that fresh expressions of church and church planting
should feature significantly in lay and ordained ministerial education and
planting and the experience of denominations
In the early 1990s all denominations and new church streams developed
programmes of church planting. Many appointed national officers and
prepared training materials and resources.
An interdenominational UK wide congress on church planting in 1992
grabbed media headlines by announcing enormous future goals. The
outcomes fell far short of the hopes and aspirations. A detailed account of
what has happened in church planting during the past decade is available
from a number of sources, and in particular in a number of denominational
and a recent Grove booklet.
Younger generations are moving from being ecumenical to being post
denominational. Surrounded by secularism, materialism, competing
spiritual movements and other world religions, simply being authentic
Christians seems sufficient to them. Add to this the mobility of younger
generations, and possibilities of real choice about where to affiliate, and
denominations per se are not seen as desirable designer labels, only as
different types of clothing, most of which are not thought `cool'.
Breaking New Ground urged ecumenical planting wherever possible.
However, Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs) account for only around
9 per cent of Church of England linked plants since 1967. LEPs are nearly
always found connected to new housing on greenfield sites and in New
Towns. In these contexts, there is less past baggage, and partnerships may
be easier to form. The percentage of plants begun with informal ecumenical
cooperation has been higher.
Practical advantages and disadvantages of the LEP plants are summarized
in Chapter 7. The main tension is that cooperation seems so sensible, but
mechanisms for it are so cumbersome. Further, experience shows that LEP
plants seldom, if ever, go on to plant again.