mission shaped church
and encouragement to be given to non parochial church and mission
These words are welcome. They make clear that `network' is becoming a
significant way in which English society now functions and that many of the
fresh expressions of church and existing church plants are churches working
within the reality of network. This is not a provision for the unusual within
the normal. This is coming to terms with a future norm that is already
apparent in the present.
There is a fabric of the old way of being society and being
church. We are not about patching the fabric of that old
garment but seeking to set up a new loom to weave the
new fabric for tomorrow's society of the kingdom.
how can existing plants become
recognized `adult' churches?
There has been a long history of new congregations being kept in a
dependent state, in which their maturity has been implicitly or explicitly
questioned. The word `adult' in the above heading is used to make clear
the status of a fresh expression of church in relation to other surrounding
Anglican churches. `Adult' does not imply that members of the church are
all of `adult' age. `Adult' churches are those that are fully recognized,
respected and cherished by other churches that have a longer history.
Their length of existence or style of worship or community are not factors
that diminish how the fresh expression is viewed or treated.
Chapter 6 of this report argues that general mission thinking, and the
specific recommendations of Breaking New Ground in particular, underline
the importance of adult recognition for church plants and fresh expressions.
There are many stories of plants being kept in a position of financial
dependency, and lacking synodical rights or legal status (or being kept in
a subordinate position). The national Church should be concerned to
ensure that fresh expressions and plants should really be church, and
should encourage all attempts to gain recognition and full involvement
with the structures and life of the wider Church.
Some have argued that there may be untapped scope for leadership
authorization within existing regulations governing the licensing of the leader
of a fresh expression of church. This may bring flexibility to the start of a