A call to be involved in fresh expressions may well come through your interests

People are trying fresh expressions in places like leisure centres, among friends who fly kites, and in reading groups.

Small expressions of church have begun to emerge in the workplace. Colleagues discuss common problems and challenges, and then begin to pray together and study Scripture.

Riverforce meetingEarly in 2006, Peter Owens, Chief Inspector of the Occupational Health Unit at Merseyside police, planted a church at work, Riverforce. Weekly meetings centre on presence, pressures and purpose.

A simple process can be involved: share your interest, share your life, share your faith, share their journey (into the love of Christ). Might this be something you are called to do, with one or two friends or colleagues?

A call may come through circumstances

This could be something that happens to you or happens around you. 'Those young people have smashed that shop window again. Isn't there anything we can do to help them channel their energies more constructively?'

It may come through a gap between reality and the ideal

Perhaps you have a persistent dissatisfaction with church. 'My friends could never relate to this.' 'Why aren't we making more of an impact?' Dissatisfaction may be a Godly prompt to do something rather than allow negative thoughts to fester.

A bereavement counsellor in Merseyside recognised a gap between reality and the ideal: bereaved people needed support. So she began a support group based around craft activities. Open to all and always beginning with a prayer, New Creations has steadily grown to become a place where non-churchgoers can experience Christian community.

A call may come through Scripture or prayer, or through a dream or vision

Perhaps the third verse from Psalm 1 - 'He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields his fruit in season' - keeps coming back to you, in particular the idea of planting and fruitfulness. Or you have a vivid dream about planting that you can't get out of your mind. As you pray, you wonder whether it might have something to do with planting a church.

It may come through other people

A friend asks you to join a small group planning a fresh expression within a network of sporting enthusiasts. A minister asks if you would consider leading a fresh expression. Your spiritual director wonders whether you might be called to pioneer ministry. Friends say you have the right qualities.

Fresh expressions are not for the faint-hearted

Fresh expressions are not for the faint-hearted

Many involve disappointments, leadership tensions, personality clashes, misunderstandings by the wider church and fears that the venture will fall apart. So discerning a genuine call from God will be important.

One step in checking whether you are called might be to see if you really understand what fresh expressions are about. What is a fresh expression of church? and What Christian principles lie behind fresh expressions? could be helpful places to start.