Fresh Expressions & the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand
The emergence of Fresh Expressions in New Zealand is welcomed by the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand. As a relatively young church movement (since 2000) with recent experience of new church initiative and with a rich Wesleyan heritage of Church Planting in New Zealand and around the world, this was perfect timing for us. The Wesleyan Methodists in New Zealand have been engaged in a range of church planting initiatives in New Zealand – the Fresh Expressions conversation is assisting us in broadening the ways in which we can continue to respond to unique mission contexts. The Mission Shaped Ministry programme has been accepted by our National Board of Ministerial Development as a specialist subject for those exploring church planting or fresh expressions initiatives.
“The New Zealand cultural landscape is exceedingly secular. In many cases, families are several generations removed from being part of Christian faith communities. Fresh Expressions Aotearoa New Zealand is helping missionally minded disciples catalyse new forms of church for people without any prior experience or recent relevant church inheritance. The Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand is encouraged by the development of such a movement with our context and is giving it’s support to FEANZ initiatives.”
Rev Dr Richard Waugh, National Superintendent, Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand
Fresh Expressions & Baptist Churches
When Fresh Expressions was established in N.Z. in April 2011, the Baptist Churches were one of the partner denominations involved at the ground level.
This came at the direct encouragement of Lindsay Jones who was then the National Church Health and Development Consultant for the Baptist Churches. His work with Baptist churches around the country had clearly identified the need for new faith communities to emerge from the mission engagement on the edges of what they were doing. Community ministries were strong, but very few of those translated into new communities being formed.
The work of God’s mission is discerned and revealed in the context of the people we are seeking to reach. We need to engage at the intersection of God’s people (the church), God’s world (society) and God’s gospel (word, sign and deed).
Many new initiatives are needed. These will take a variety of shapes and forms. ‘Fresh Expressions’ is one over-view way of describing what is going on and what is needed in this area.
It is the desire of the Baptist Churches to encourage, support, train and network with the initiatives above. They have given themselves the following definitions of what constitutes a ‘new church/faith community’:
1. Suburban church plants in new subdivisions, areas of growth, or areas where there is no Baptist presence, but where the population base is sufficient and where there is no obvious alternative.
2. Ethnic church plants or congregations for areas where there are concentrations of people of non-Pakeha ethnicity, for whom it would be most appropriate to worship within a particular cultural or language group.
3. Specialized/niche/church plants or congregations for a particular sub-cultural group.
4. Incarnational communities in local contexts of neighbourhood or network.
A range of new faith communities are being explored across the country – from English second-language students in the inner city of Auckland, to ‘collectives’ running business ventures and faith communities in Christchurch and Auckland, to ‘Messy church’ in Lower Hutt, to Maori youth community in Rotorua.