Seeking insight from the real-life development of the earliest expressions of emerging church from their birth, through times of adolescent angst and into the reality of adulthood, First Expressions offers a unique insight into the long-term sustainability of fresh expressions.
Presenting the lived practice of the church in mission through a longitudinal lens, and eschewing the rose-tinted approach, it considers the reality of emerging churches - their birth and death, their creativity and conflict, their dreams and despair.
A picture of a church that is neither gathered and parish nor independent and networked emerges as the biographies of mission are brought into dialogue with a very ancient expression of mission, the birth of Philippians as a first expression of church in Europe.
Part 1 Introducing first expressions
1. Definitions and a roadmap 3
2. Birthing first expressions: Empirical and ecclesiological 20
3. Body-ing forth in innovation 33
Part 2 First expressions 11 years on
4. Tried 51
5. Tried and died 73
Part 3 Fresh Expressions
6. An apostle of Fresh Expressions 97
7. Birthing Fresh Expressions as an organizational innovation 109
8. Moves in mission 132
Part 4 Becoming in ecclesial innovation
9. One in authenticity 149
10. Becoming apostolic in ambient witness 166
11. Becoming holy in making 188
12. Becoming catholic in sacrament and structure 207
13. Coda: A Theologic of first expressions 225
Index of Names and Subjects 245
"First Expressions provides a rich practical theology of how God could be bringing a new ecclesiology for a secular age to birth through the witness of the communities who pioneered new ecclesial communities. Taylor has done a great service to future mission by paying close attention to what has been embodied in the past at the fringes and how this needs to transform the centre of thinking and practice in the future." -- Nick Shepherd, Programme Director for Setting God’s People Free
"This book honours ecclesial innovation in a unique way. It offers a theological framing and affirmation of the impulse towards innovation while grounding it in the specific decisions and actions of particular first expressions. It contains rich data, thoughtful and creative reflection, confrontingly close readings of scripture, and the frank vulnerability of an author with plenty of skin in the game. As we move from a 'knowledge economy' to a 'wisdom economy', books like this are crucial. Refreshed imaginatively and ecclesiologically by reading it, I'll be using this book when I teach." -- Andrew Dutney, Professor of Theology, Flinders University, Australia
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