Thursday, 16 September 2010
In 2004 the Church of England produced the report ‘Mission-Shaped Church’. Though, in the first instance, an Anglican document it has proved to be extremely useful across the board and has provoked a whole range of further publications, like Mission-Shaped Spirituality, Mission-Shaped and Rural, Mission-Shaped Youth, Mission-Shaped Children, Mission-Shaped Evangelism, and Mission-Shaped Questions. The fundamental thought is that we need to do things in a mission-shaped way. I agree. As the report comments: “If the Church is not missionary, it has denied itself and its calling, for it has departed from the very nature of God.” The Mission-Shaped Church Report reflected on fresh expressions church – different ways of doing things – and gave them the fresh expressions name leading to the formal launch of the fresh expressions initiative in 2005. That was initially an Anglican and Methodist initiative, but now the United Reformed Church and the Congregational Federation have joined in. And lots of things have been happening. The Mission Shaped Ministry course is offering a valuable resource to those who want to engage in this ministry with a difference. Training of pioneer ministers is taking place – and a whole range of different ways of being church are developing.