Missional Church, church planting and even Fresh.Africa is all about multiplication, not division.
When we think of pioneers we may picture a young, energetic and middle-class person. This is incorrect, as pioneers come from a cross section of ages, traditions and sections of the community. Pioneer ministry must never be seen as a different type pf person or category of ministry, but a “distinctive focus of ministry” (Shier-Jones in ‘Pioneer Ministry and Fresh Expressions of Church’, 2009: pg 4). Pioneering is then a part of the ministry of the church and should be normal in the life of any congregation.
Pioneer ministry is not about trying to persuade and convince people to join the church; it is about working with people in communion with God, who is already there, and developing people into community with each other in the spaces and places of their lives so that society is transformed into church. So we start with God and find where God is at work and join God in an expression of the Kingdom of God which then is church.
A Fresh Expression is a part of the Missio Dei, the mission of God, as “a form of church in our changing culture for the expressed purpose of reaching those who are not yet members of a church” Any Fresh Expression of church affirms:
Like a family adds to their family’s love by having children and are interdependent, so congregations adds to their love by creating and enabling a fresh expression. It is called the ‘mixed economy of churches’ where it is a both/and approach.
This holiness is found in the people within that new community who seek to follow the Holy One, Jesus, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is not in its form or style, but in the people who follow Jesus.
Pioneer ministry is founded on a longing for all people to know the one God in the fullness of the ministry of reconciliation. A Fresh expression may address a specific aspect of the community’s needs but will always see itself as a part of God’s bigger picture and plan for a reconciling and inclusive movement.
A Fresh expression will be built on the apostolic teachings of the Bible and the church by being missional in nature.
It is very important for the existing expressions of church to create, validate and co-exists alongside fresh expression of church by realizing they are, in fact, interdependent. While the existing church may have the desire to connect with those who are not yet members of any church, they need to also know that this may not happen given their particular style of church. The best way to do this is to create, validate and encourage new ways of offering the Gospel and making disciples that are culturally acceptable.