fresh expressions of church
Discernment is needed to identify signs of God's kingdom. The use of a
particular methodology, inherited or fresh, does not guarantee mature
church or the presence of the kingdom. To conclude this chapter we offer
some criteria for discerning authentic missionary churches.
five values for missionary churches
The Anglican Consultative Council, followed by the Lambeth Conference,
has identified `Five Marks of Mission'.
Alongside these indicators, we have identified five values of a missionary
church. These are intended to offer a framework that can be applied to an
existing local church or to any strategy to develop, grow or plant a church
or a fresh expression of church.
One additional element is assumed rather
than specifically identified. That is the credal foundation of any missionary
church, congregation or initiative within the Church of England. This report
assumes, but does not take for granted that, to be missionary, a church
has to proclaim afresh the faith of the Scriptures and the creeds. This is
not a `value' of the church, but the foundation upon which church is built.
a missionary church is focused on God the Trinity
Worship lies at the heart of a missionary church, and to love and know
God as Father, Son and Spirit is its chief inspiration and primary purpose.
It worships and serves a missionary God, and understands itself to share
in the divine mission. All of its life and activity is undergirded by prayer.
a missionary church is incarnational
A missionary church seeks to shape itself in relation to the culture in which
it is located or to which it is called. Whenever it is called to be cross
cultural then its long term members or initial team lay aside their cultural
preferences about church to allow the emergence of a form or style of
church to be shaped by those they are seeking to reach. If a church is
long established, then it evaluates itself in relation to the culture of the
community it serves, and strips away whatever is not required by the
gospel. An incarnational church seeks to be responsive to the activity of
the Spirit in its community.
a missionary church is transformational
A missionary church exists for the transformation of the community that
it serves, through the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit. It is not self
serving, self seeking or self focused. The kingdom of God is its goal, and