Is the opposite of a fresh expression a stale expression of church?

No. At the other end of the spectrum from fresh expressions is 'inherited church'. Inherited churches are what exist already. Fresh expressions are new or different forms of church that connect with people who are not reached by inherited churches.

There is still plenty of life in traditional or inherited forms of church. Traditional does not necessarily equal stale. Many inherited churches are full of vitality and growing. Our aim is not to grow fresh expressions instead of inherited churches but alongside them: a mixed economy.

The Jerusalem church in Acts was a bit like inherited church. It had a traditional mindset and emerged from a 'you come to us' context: Jews from the known world had come to Jerusalem at Pentecost. The Antioch church was more like a fresh expression. It launched 'we'll come to you' mission and had a more radical approach to theology and church practice.

But despite tensions between them, they were interdependent. Paul, who headed up the missionary work launched from Antioch, felt himself to be accountable to the leaders at Jerusalem. The Jerusalem church had the spiritual maturity to recognise the Holy Spirit at work. Here is a splendid example of the mixed economy church.


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