The Challenge of ‘Fresh Expressions’ to Ecclesiology

The Challenge of ‘Fresh Expressions’ to Ecclesiology This dual authored paper reports and reflects on theological action research carried out with an instance of the Fresh Expressions church, Messy Church. Locating the work in the wider ecclesiological debates surrounding Fresh Expressions, the authors describe the research methods used, before going on to develop ecclesiological reflection in a conversational form. As such, the paper is an example of the ‘four voices’ approach to theological action research developed by the ARCS team (Action research - Church and Society, Heythrop College, University of London). As both practitioners and academics reflect together a number of significant insights emerge about the ways in which Messy Church might be understood as church: the possibility of being a ‘church to an (as yet) unknown God’; the understanding of being a searching church, a community of journey; and the vision of an expansive, centred ecclesiology, which cares less about boundaries and definitions, and seeks more to affirm a variety of ecclesial relations. These themes, variously discussed by the different parties, offer an account of both practical and systematic theological learning through attentiveness to contemporary practices of church. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecclesial Practices Brill

The Challenge of ‘Fresh Expressions’ to Ecclesiology

Ecclesial Practices, Volume 1 (1): 92 – Jan 1, 2014

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Articles
ISSN
2214-4463
eISSN
2214-4471
D.O.I.
10.1163/22144471-00101005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This dual authored paper reports and reflects on theological action research carried out with an instance of the Fresh Expressions church, Messy Church. Locating the work in the wider ecclesiological debates surrounding Fresh Expressions, the authors describe the research methods used, before going on to develop ecclesiological reflection in a conversational form. As such, the paper is an example of the ‘four voices’ approach to theological action research developed by the ARCS team (Action research - Church and Society, Heythrop College, University of London). As both practitioners and academics reflect together a number of significant insights emerge about the ways in which Messy Church might be understood as church: the possibility of being a ‘church to an (as yet) unknown God’; the understanding of being a searching church, a community of journey; and the vision of an expansive, centred ecclesiology, which cares less about boundaries and definitions, and seeks more to affirm a variety of ecclesial relations. These themes, variously discussed by the different parties, offer an account of both practical and systematic theological learning through attentiveness to contemporary practices of church.

Journal

Ecclesial PracticesBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2014

Keywords: Messy Church; theological action research; practical ecclesiology; contemporary mission; ARCS research; Fresh Expressions; discipleship

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