How the mixed economy develops

Tuesday, 14 October, 2014

Michael Moynagh explores how the mixed economy develops.

Phil Potter has likened the 'mixed economy church' to rivers and lakes. Rivers flow, bubble with energy and bring new water into lakes. Lakes are deeper and more tranquil. Just as rivers and lakes need each other, new forms of church flow into the existing Church and are enriched by its depth and traditions.

Blended church

In some cases, the mixed economy develops when new believers have a blended church experience. They attend both a fresh expression and an older church. There is nothing in the Bible to say that you can’t belong to two local churches! Rather than consumerism, this is about commitment – to more than one Christian community.

Shared events

A second form of the mixed economy is shared events between the fresh expression and its parent church. If the new community has come out of an existing congregation, its members will have a richer church life if they combine with the parent for social events, study groups, short courses, outreach or occasional acts of worship.

One place to start might be for a fresh expression to look out for opportunities to serve its parent church. Might it provide the refreshments for a church study day, for example? There is nothing like loving kindness to open others' hearts.

Church at large

A third expression of the mixed economy occurs when emerging Christians connect to the church at large – through events run by local churches together, or through regional and national conferences and training events, or through accessing Christian resources and making Christian connections online.


Fourthly, the mixed economy develops when new Christian communities cluster together. In an English cathedral city, a small team hosts a monthly Sunday breakfast for people in the neighbourhood who don't attend church. Up to 60 have crammed into a house! Around the breakfasts are other events, such as ice cream parties in the summer and chocolate parties in winter.

When individuals start to ask questions about spirituality and faith, they are invited to a weekly meeting at which the core team eat together, plan, pray and study the Bible. If the person enjoys it, they are invited on to the team. Within two or three years, the team grew from 8 to 18 people. It multiplied into two cells. The cells meet together from time to time.

Picture the scene after five years. Some of the cells will no longer be new. They will represent an existing church. As new cells keep being added and cluster with these older cells, they will give birth to... a mixed-economy church.


If you lead a fresh expression, keep connecting to the wider body! Existing churches may be refreshed and energised by the new life you bring. Your fresh expression may be deepened by the wisdom and experience of established churches. It can be win-win for everyone.

About the author: 

Rev Dr Michael Moynagh is Director of network development and Consultant on theology and practice for Fresh Expressions. His new book, Being Church, Doing Life: Creating gospel communities where life happens, was published this year.


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