Ten years ago we prayed regularly on the Fresh Expressions (UK) team, that God would help us get beyond the far side of complexity to his simplicity - when it came to starting new forms of church. Occasionally during that decade I felt that we had perhaps made reaching those with no church background quite a complex task. And as the institutional churches began to grapple with difficult issues thrown up by new and emerging Christian churches, the complexity appeared to grow.
But those ten year old prayers have been answered in Refresh, published this weekend. I did what the introduction asked me to – made some coffee and sat down for 29 minutes. I came away convinced that this book, on sale for less than £5, had shown how the task of starting new, contextual churches is so achievable. The book gives some simple advice: just reflect on what has been happening, reflect on the early church, dig into some stories and then get on with it. Simplicity indeed.
Dr Michael Moynagh has been on the Fresh Expressions team from the start, as its theological consultant, and has the gift of making difficult concepts crystal clear. Rob Peabody is working on the ground in East London helping young adults form new churches for their friends and neighbours. They are an awesome combination.
They have found renewed confidence in fresh expressions language and the suggested journey from a call to reach out to the start of a church fit for context and led indigenously. They explain well how this differs from more conventional forms of outreach and church planting. I don't work for Fresh Expressions any longer, and am not paid to promote their material, but I heartily recommend you spend £5 on this small but punchy book and buy a few for your church friends and leaders too. Then sit back and see what happens!