What is a Fresh Expression?

Fresh expressions of church can emerge from existing groups

The Fresh Expressions website defines fresh expressions of church as: “…new forms of church that emerge within contemporary culture and engage primarily with those who don’t go to church”

No two fresh expressions of church are identical, because each ‘new form of church’ is right for its own situation, but probably wouldn’t work somewhere else; they are not off-the-shelf solutions for other churches to copy, in fact, fresh expressions of church are constantly developing and changing – morphing to suit their individual specific requirements at any given time. That said, some of the extraordinary stories of existing fresh expressions of church can inspire similar ideas (there are lots of examples under ‘resources/videos’ on the Fresh Expressions website). Each new one will need to be tailor-made to cater to its own circumstances.

Fresh expressions of church ‘emerge within contemporary culture’. By this, we mean that they often develop around something that is already going on. For instance, new types of church have emerged from coffee mornings, from special interest groups, like walking groups, knitting groups and cookery clubs, or in foodbanks, colleges, schools, gyms, workplaces – in fact anywhere that people meet. Usually they emerge when a small group of Christians decide to try to share their faith in a way that is meaningful for other people.

Fresh expressions of church are intentional about reaching and sharing faith ‘primarily with those who don’t go to church’; for people with no church background, church can seem alienating and excluding, even when the members are doing their best to be welcoming. Sadly, if someone from outside of church wants to explore faith and spirituality, they can find it difficult to connect with a traditional church.