some methodologies for a missionary church
Such self governance does not mean that the local church has no links
with other churches. Rather there is interdependence of churches within
a deanery and diocese, with accountability to bishop and synod. Good
practice commends the granting of appropriate legal status to fresh
expressions of church.
Within Anglicanism, legal status and forms of self government are
closely linked. It is beyond the scope of this report to recommend
detailed legislative proposals. This report will make a number of
general recommendations in Chapter 8.
why does legal status for plants and fresh
expressions of church matter?
It can be compared to having a spine in the body. This is often invisible
to the casual glance, but most of the other visible realities hang off it
and, if it goes seriously wrong, major handicap results. Lack of legal
existence can make a plant collapse at a time of stress and, if present,
can help support it through crisis.
Legal status is protection against the possible negative impact of shifts
of personality or policy within a diocese or the `sending' church. It
ensures that a young church is properly recognized and respected.
Young churches that exist only by grace and favour can develop financial
obligations to the diocese, but no legal rights from the diocese.
Responsibilities and rights should go together.
Evangelistic enthusiasm in a young church, and even rising numbers of
attenders, may not guarantee a church plant's future. This is particularly
true in the distribution of leadership resources vigour has been used
as an argument for a church plant not to need a leader. Where a plant
remains `an interesting experiment' there is equal freedom to praise it
or to close it.
The above is not an argument for all expressions of church to be made
parishes. In many cases that would be neither wanted nor appropriate.
However, for fresh expressions of church to be simply designated as
`experiments' or `projects' is both dangerous and insulting.
When so called `emerging church' is typically reduced to a `project' that
gets done, rather than a fundamental theology/philosophy/approach, it is
being marginalized. The challenge to the whole Church is to find ways by
which planting concepts and insights can become embedded and
normative, rather than added on to its life.