what is church planting and why does it matter?
However, Anglicanism has a basis that should especially motivate it to
connect with fresh expressions of church and church planting.
to fulfil the Anglican calling
The Church of England exists to be a Church for the nation. This is not a
comment on the issue of the Church being established, but a statement
of its mission purpose.
The parochial system, which for centuries has been the delivery system of
the conviction of `Church for the nation', might be compared to a vast slab
of Gruyere cheese. Its nature is to present as one solid reality, but
examination shows that by its nature there are lots of holes where there
is no cheese. In theory everyone has their local church. Breaking New
Ground identified the reality:
There is increasing recognition that in many areas of urban England
there are pockets of 2000 5000 people who are unchurched for all
The Anglican calling, because of theological conviction, is to be a Church
for all. Church planting and fresh expressions of church can help to identify
and begin to fill the geographical and cultural gaps. They also represent
ways to engage with the cultural and network patterns within which people
live their lives. To be a Church for the nation, the holes in our national
network need to be filled. To be Anglican is to want to be rooted in
communities and to be accessible to those communities (however those
communities define themselves).
to affirm Anglican diversity
An important feature of Anglicanism is its comprehensiveness. The Anglican
Church is committed to diversity, held by a sense of unity that transcends
narrow claims to truth. In addition, a feature of Anglicanism is that it is found
among all kinds of people. Diversity is part of our strength in mission.
But at a local level this commitment to diversity and accessibility to a wide
range of people faces difficulties. How can diversity and accessibility be
sustained through one style of ministry and worship, in a single congregation
or single church parish? A combination of clergy and congregation that is
simultaneously Catholic, Liberal, Evangelical, Broad and Charismatic does
not exist. Further, this impossible combination is simply a selection of
ecclesiastical styles and interests it does not include the wide variety of
personalities, cultures and experiences found within non church society.
Diverse, principled, sensitive church planting and fresh expressions of
church are one way in which the Church of England can further our