Fishing Net or Safety Net

I recently blogged concerns about Fresh Expressions moving people from one form of church to another rather than reaching new people.  Share the guide has blogged a brief introduction to a forthcoming grove booklet by Matt Stone asking the question “Are fresh expressions actually being fishing nets and reaching the unchurched, or are they merely safety nets, picking up disenchanted and bored churchgoers?”.  There are some interesting statistics that the study highlights.

Over 87% of those surveyed in every expression, and 100% in three of the expressions, had attended a church before. Hence, they were primarily churched or dechurched, rather than unchurched.

If this is an accurate assessment of Fresh Expressions I have some further questions about the consequences of this. 

  • Is it a problem that Fresh Expressions are reaching the churched or dechurched? 
  • Is this just plugging into the consumerist society in which we are currently living and turning God into a product that we are repackaging?
  • If this is a problem, how can Fresh Expressions more effectively reach the unchurched?

This grove booklet should make some interesting reading.

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2 Responses

  1. Even if FX are safety nets, that is still a lot of people who would otherwise not be showing up in any kind of Christian community. And how many of the “previously attended” category are those who tried church a few times and were put off by the experience?

  2. I would be interested to see a definition of “previously attended”.

    Where does someone who has switched brand because they have been persuaded that the other one is surely better fit into this? Is there a danger of consumerism rather than evangelism?

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