This new breed of believers views church as a set of relationships rather than a set of prescribed practices and is free to embrace treasures such as contemplation, silence and solitude, devalued by the Reformation, and refresh them for this new age. This new ‘reformed’ church is free from clericalism to find the space to rediscover church as a deep expression of solidarity and love in community. And it is freed from the endless dance around the holy grail of orthodoxy to journey with others to discover what it means to live Jesus’ call to live life to the full.
These new forms of church are small and numerous, fleet of foot and flexible in form. They meet in cafes and community centres, pubs and gyms. They will never have the power, prestige or public face of the traditional church. This is ‘a church from below’, a church with a purpose shaped not by the limited arguments of the Reformation age of right belief, but by the common hunger for spiritual community and authenticity in the service of Christ.
Paul Bradbury is Pioneer Mission Coordinator for Church Mission Society.