Under-churched, culturally diverse and economically deprived areas of the inner city continue to challenge Christians to engage in incarnational and contextual mission. Urban Expression is one response to this challenge. Since 1997 we have deployed small church planting teams in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Stoke and Bristol, from which new churches are gradually developing. In 2007 Urban Expression Netherlands began and in 2009 Urban Expression North America was launched. We also have several mission partners involved in other contexts, and many associates involved in urban ministry and church planting across and beyond the UK.
Our mission statement reads: ‘Urban Expression is an urban mission agency that recruits, equips, deploys and networks self-financing teams pioneering creative and relevant expressions of the Christian church in under-churched areas of the inner city.’ We are a values-based agency and our teams comprise members from diverse Christian traditions. Although not explicitly Anabaptist (except for our North American sister agency), we are widely recognised as Anabaptist in ethos and approach. Our core values are relationship, humility and creativity.
Urban Expression is one of the sponsors of the Crucible course. Crucible is a training programme for Christians with courage and imagination, who suspect that:
- We live in a mission context and need to think like missionaries.
- We need to think creatively about church in diverse and changing cultures.
- We serve the God who constantly does new things on the margins: on the margins of society among the poor and disenfranchised, at the margins of culture, where creative thinking explores new possibilities, and within the margins of the familiar, those spaces all around us neglected or ignored but full of potential.
Crucible, which ran for the first time in 2005-06, consists of three intensive training weekends each year to equip Christians to follow Jesus on the margins. Two streams of subjects are available on each weekend:
After Christendom investigates the opportunities, as well as the challenges, that the end of imperial Christianity presents.
The Urban Challenge examines the dynamics of mission and ministry in multicultural urban communities, where Christendom has faded first.
Creating New Churches offers resources for pioneering new churches – and new kinds of churches – in emerging cultures, and renewing existing churches.
Restoring Hope asks how, in light of God’s mission to bring shalom (peace) to all creation, we can live towards that hope and create communities of peace.
Becoming Human explores the dynamics of discipleship in a multi-everything culture and asks how we can become more fully human as followers of the Son of Man.
Jesus Unplugged imagines how we can re-tell the story of Jesus today in ways that connect with contemporary cultures.