Fresh Expressions of Church
I (Phil) have just returned from Cape Town where I attended the International Conference on Fresh Expressions; a movement that encourages different approaches to Church in a changing culture.
Soul Action – a Fresh Expression?
Much of what Soul Action has facilitated amongst Non Profits since 2007 resonates with what Fresh Expressions defines as missional leadership, i.e. an emphasis on interdependence and community rather than experts or a show[wo]man; collaboration and negotiation rather than hierarchy and authority; multiple approaches rather than one right way; experiential and participative worship rather than set words or instructions; process / journey rather than product / programme; complex and interwoven rather than linear and one-dimensional; ambiguity rather than absolutes; curiosity rather than judgemental; acknowledgement rather than denial; risk and mistakes rather than perfection; trust and faith rather than control; a flourishing life rather than numbers, buildings or money; change and growth rather than the status quo (See Nelus Niemandt 2016:17-19, Missional Leadership and the Future).
What struck me most during the conference was how similar the Fresh Expression’s ‘Process of Discernment’ (below) was to Soul Action’s approach.
Prayer for us as we, “do in ‘it’ again”
Since March last year God has encouraged Soul Action to begin to apply practices that have emerged through listening, serving, building community and exploring discipleship with Non Profit’s, to Christians working at the end of the spectrum at For-Profits. Just as Soul Action started by listening to NPOs in 2007, Rachel and I have spent the last year visiting over 150 businesses in the greater Ballito area.
During one such visit in February Soul Action received a tentative offer of a space to meet from a venue located at the heart of the community. On the last Sunday February a small group had the privilege of meeting and praying into some of the opportunities and challenges of the business in question with its leader.
As Soul Action contemplates innovative ways to serve businesses, build community and explore discipleship within the greater Ballito area, your prayers will be invaluable – firstly, with regards to whether the venue on offer is the right next step for all concerned, and at the same time in finding the right balance between meeting individuals, gathering them together and encouraging a tangible Christian presence that impacts the wider community.