Illustrating a fresh expressions journey: The Ark at Crawcrook

Friday, 10 April, 2015

Michael Moynagh draws out learning points from the story of The Ark at Crawcrook.

The Ark at Crawcrook is an especially interesting story because it is a fresh expression within a business – Christian business-owners please note!

We are told that The Ark is '...taking us in surprising directions'. That is typical of many fresh expressions which are a form of 'ecclesial entrepreneurship'. Research shows that improvisation is a vital part of the entrepreneurial method.

The Ark follows A fresh expressions journey.

Journey

It loves and serves people through its business activities (as well as in other ways).

It builds community as the Christian core develops one-to-one relationships with customers and volunteers and through its Facebook community;

There is also a community-building dimension in its CCCC course (exploring discipleship), where conversations are encouraged and participants can take the discussion in the direction they want. There's no doubt that relationships deepen as people talk.

The leaders sense that a published course won't work, so they create their own. Then they allow the participants, in effect, to re-write the sessions. This is contextualisation at its best – and simplest.

The leaders keep following the Spirit and the Spirit tears up the rule book – about baptising new believers into a congregation, for instance. This is nothing new; The Apostle Peter's rule book was torn up when he met Cornelius, for instance! However, the leaders are not just being pragmatic. They reflect theologically on what they are doing by drawing on the resources of the outside church, not only on local theological expertise but also on the history of the church as they think about community. Rather than pulling away from the inherited church, the leaders are being resourced by it.

This is a learning point from:

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