New forms of church attracting thousands each month
04 July 2012
The Methodist Church is encouraged by the growth of new
forms of church, especially those under the banners of Venture FX
and Fresh Expressions. Recent statistics show that over 40,000
people attend some form of fresh expression church at least
monthly. Fresh Expressions, a joint venture with the Church of
England, also works alongside a large number of Christian
organisations, denominations and streams - both in the UK and
The Venture FX project of the Methodist Church has helped
create 13 projects around the country since its launch in 2009,
with six more launching in the last year. Ian Bell, Venture FX
Coordinator, says, "From Bermondsey to Colwyn Bay, from Plymouth to
Edinburgh, pioneers both lay and ordained are grasping the
opportunity to share the gospel where people are."
The Fresh Expressions statistics show steady growth in all
forms of fresh expressions, including cafe church and messy church.
figures from the Church of England show about 30,000 people
attending fresh expressions of church who are not otherwise counted
in church attendance figures. For most Methodist forms of fresh
expressions, a clear majority of those taking part do not otherwise
Says Ian Bell, "Both our figures and those for the Church
of England clearly show the success of reaching out to people in
new forms of church, alongside the traditional forms that still
attract hundreds of thousands of participants each week. The next
step, in the words of Martyn Atkins, is to make the exotic and
exceptional become normal and natural. The future of the Church
does not lie in any one expression of it, but in living and sharing
God's love in all parts of our lives. As Venture FX and Fresh
Expressions grow and develop further, what we learn from them is a
gift to the whole church."
Bishop Graham Cray, Archbishops' Missioner and leader of
the Fresh Expressions team, adds, "It's inspiring to think that we
have seen the development of some 2,000 fresh expressions of church
in the Church of England and Methodist Church since the publication
of the 2004 Mission-shaped Church report.
"The Holy Spirit has been at work in reaching thousands of
people through these fresh expressions and we are all running to
keep up. This is hugely encouraging but it is just a beginning and
there is much more to do. Fresh expressions of church are one vital
factor but there is a long haul ahead of us."