The invisible church: so what? | Steve Aisthorpe [ANVIL vol 36 issue 2]

The backstory

Steve Aisthorpe

Research emerges from human stories. Studies may sometimes masquerade as detached processes, but the motivation to investigate and develop new understanding comes from somewhere. In 2007, after 12 years living in Nepal, I returned to the village in the Highlands where I spent my formative years as a Christian in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In the years prior to my departure for Asia, the parish church in this village had been a healthy and vibrant one. In 2007 the congregation continued to display many of the same characteristics as before. However, what struck me after an extended absence was the number of people who, having been enthusiastic members of the congregation in the mid-1990s, were no longer involved. In the months following my return I met many of these people. Most of them still lived in the area and, from our conversations, in most cases, their Christian faith appeared to be central to their lives. Knowing that this church had been through challenging changes of leadership during my absence did not lessen my heartache, but it did provide an explanation for why so many people had disengaged from the congregation.

The following year I began work as a development officer for the Church of Scotland, working with congregations around the Highlands and Islands. It soon became apparent that what I had assumed was a particular local issue was in fact a widespread phenomenon. As someone whose ecclesiology was shaped by Lesslie Newbigin’s view of the local congregation as the “primary reality” in terms of Christian influence in society and the “only hermeneutic of the gospel”, [1] I felt distressed by what I saw. The much-quoted story of the Victorian preacher Charles Spurgeon visiting a man who said that he was a Christian but did not believe he needed to go to church shaped my concern for the church leavers I encountered. According to that anecdote, Spurgeon removed a glowing coal from the smouldering embers and set it in the corner of the fireplace. The lone coal soon lost its glow. Separated, it cooled and dulled. The message was clear: without regular churchgoing, Christians step onto a slippery slope into diminished faith or apostasy.

Empirical evidence and loose stereotypes

Deeply troubled, I wanted to understand and began to look for research that might shed light on such a rapid and monumental change in the Christian community and in society. In 2007 Tearfund published their “Churchgoing in the UK” report. [2] This captured the overall pattern of church attendance and produced differentiated data for Scotland. According to this, 39 per cent of people in Scotland considered themselves “dechurched” [3] and the proportion of such people was highest in rural areas.

The excellent Church Leaving Applied Research Project, [4] one of the few serious attempts to understand what one researcher called “a haemorrhage akin to a burst artery”, [5] found that two thirds of church leavers in England and Wales continued to practise the Christian faith. Philip Richter and Leslie Francis’s first analysis of that project was titled Gone But Not Forgotten. However, the situation I was seeing in the north of Scotland might be better expressed as “Forgotten But Not Gone”.

Although the Church Leavers Applied Research Project demonstrated that the majority of the “dechurched” remain committed believers, what their faith journey beyond the congregational context looked like remained largely unknown. Others writing from within the church context approached the statistics of declining attendance with an assumption that decreasing numbers in church services constituted an undermining of God’s mission and must be reversed. Michael Fanstone expressed his motivation for researching church leaving in terms of being concerned about “leakage” and a consequential “weakening of Christian influence in the nation as a whole”. [6]

The quality of some research made my heart sink. One study, reported in The Times under the headline “Petty squabbles cause empty pews”, portrayed church leavers as petty-minded people who left for trivial reasons: “It is not the big doctrinal issues. Typical arguments take place over types of buildings, styles of worship, youth work. If not that, then they argue over the flower rota.” [7] However, examining the methodology behind this influential study (it underpinned a major conference, training materials and a popular book) [8] revealed that it was based on surveying 500 people, 98 per cent of whom “attended church regularly”. What had actually been discovered was the opinions of those who remained in congregations about those who left. The experiences and perspectives of church leavers themselves remained unexplored.

In my search for reliable literature, one of the most helpful studies came from Alan Jamieson in New Zealand. [9] Taking a qualitative approach, Jamieson listened to both sides of the institutional exodus, carrying out interviews with church leavers and church leaders. His approach yielded a rich understanding of the experiences and perceptions of the group he worked with. However, his cohort was limited to people of particular theological traditions (evangelical, Pentecostal and charismatic) and his focus was on a particular age group (70 per cent between the ages of 35 and 45). Also, most of his sample (94 per cent) had been involved in church leadership. Despite these limitations, a strength of this work was the attention paid to the faith journeys of people following their disengagement from congregational life. When his work is considered as a whole (i.e. including the follow-up research five years after the original study), [10] Jamieson made valuable progress towards his stated ambition of developing “a credible framework of understanding in an area where there is much misunderstanding, loose stereotypes, often downright ignorance and sometimes arrogant misjudgements”. [11]

In addition to researchers from within the Christian community, social historians and sociologists were also reflecting on the statistics of declining church attendance. The work of Callum Brown, [12] and Steve Bruce, [13] typifies the work of academics who saw the data of declining church attendance as evidence of a rapid march of secularisation. For them, reduced churchgoing was synonymous with declining Christian faith. However, the only way to test that assumption would be to listen to the people behind the statistics.

Getting behind the statistics: listening to leavers

By 2012 I was beginning to conceive an exercise in “empirical theology”: I wanted to listen to those who had disengaged from church, better understand their experiences and perspectives and then reflect on the significance of what was happening. The first project, which eventually formed the basis of my doctoral thesis, involved an inductive study of “churchless Christians” in the north of Scotland. [14] Using articles in local newspapers and social media, it was surprisingly easy to recruit nearly 100 people who were Christians and not attending a local church congregation. From these, 30 people, representative in terms of gender, generation, location and experience of church, were selected. Each person was asked to tell their story as far as it related to the Christian faith and their experiences of church. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and the texts analysed for themes using qualitative data analysis software. These themes then formed the basis of theological reflection with a variety of facilitated groups.

This study put human flesh on the statistical bones of previous research. It demonstrated that a revised understanding of the Christian community in the Highlands and Islands was necessary. It highlighted the need to reconsider popular notions about the resilience of faith. It offered new insights into routes into noncongregational faith and the process of church leaving. Themes that emerged strongly from multiple interview transcripts included: a perceived lack of relevance of congregational life to “the rest of life”; the changeresistant nature of some congregations; a missional concern among “churchless Christians” and perception that congregations are sometimes inwardly orientated and resources focused on self-preservation; a hunger for deeper relationships and Christian growth and a perceived superficiality in relationships and discipleship in some congregations.

Other findings from this first study provided a hypothesis for understanding processes of unintentional exclusion in congregations and raised important questions about congregation-centric views of mission. The place of the congregation in the traditional orthodoxy of missiology (in Newbigin and Bosch, for example) is primary and central; the congregation is seen as both the agency of mission and the fruit of mission. [15] In the light of such an understanding it may seem paradoxical, even heretical, that “most interviewees [in this first study] implied that, on balance, it was a concern for the missional challenges in their area (and the fact that these had not been adequately met or even taken seriously by the local congregation) that were decisive motivators for their disengagement from the congregation”. [16]

One striking and paradoxical finding of this qualitative study was that, having disengaged from a formal congregation, the first instinct of most of those interviewed was to find fellowship with other Christians. For some this was informal face-to-face gathering; for others it involved long-distance or virtual fellowship. While “congregation” has traditionally been interpreted in terms of an institutional expression of church, most of this study’s cohort, while agreeing with the incarnational and relational imperatives of mission propounded by Bosch and Newbigin, would understand this in terms of “believing community” experienced in small, informal gatherings, virtual networks and dispersed communities. Examples included a growing fellowship centred on eating and walking together; a dispersed group sharing spiritual practices and meeting occasionally in a disused shop; people who had reconstructed their faith life around a rule of life, supported by a long-distance relationship of accountability with an anam cara (soul friend); people who saw their business or social enterprise activities in terms of kingdom and mission.

Further investigations: getting quantitative

While that first study provided rich insights into the experiences of church leavers, the small sample size and qualitative methodology meant that it was impossible to assess how representative their experiences were among the wider population. The need for quantitative data led to the 2014 “Investigating the Invisible Church” study. [17] A random sample of 5,523 people was contacted by telephone and 2,698 participated in an interview in which screening questions ascertained whether they self-identified as Christian and whether they were regular churchgoers. 44 per cent selfidentified as Christians not attending church. 430 people who fitted the criteria returned postal or online questionnaires.

Embedded within the survey was a psychometric tool, the Hoge Intrinsic Religiosity Scale (HIRS). One review of instruments for measuring religiosity said that the HIRS “is by far the most accurate measure of what I think is at the heart of religious devotion – relationship with and commitment to God”. [18] Half of the cohort were high scorers on the HIRS, meaning that 22 per cent of the random sample interviewed not only identified themselves as “Christian”, but also showed that their faith was of central importance to them. A foundational article on the concept of religiosity says that people with high levels of intrinsic religiosity “find their master motivation in religion. Other needs, strong as they may be, are regarded as of less ultimate significance… It is in this sense that he [or she] lives his religion”. [19]

The survey also revealed that it should not be assumed that all “churchless Christians” are “church leavers”. 15 per cent of the cohort indicated that they had never been regular churchgoers. The general picture that emerged was of people who were disappointed with church, but not with God – and who had a sense of belonging to the wider church. Most participants revealed themselves as “contentedly non-congregational”, with only a minority (15 per cent overall and 17 per cent of HIRS high scorers) saying that they would attend church if a different style was available.

Over half (57 per cent) of all respondents reported that they “decreased attendance gradually over time”; about a fifth (22 per cent) said they “left suddenly”. The reasons why churchgoers disengaged was usually a mixture of a few recurring themes. Regardless of age, previous experience of church, HIRS score and gender, about a quarter (27 per cent) agreed with the statement “I used to go to church but felt that I didn’t fit in”. Frustration with a perceived change-resistant culture of churches was a common thread, with just over a third (35 per cent) saying that the church needed “radical change”. 35 per cent agreed with the statement “changes that happened within me led to me stopping attending church”. Another key factor for many was issues related to “relevance” and the sense of a disconnect between church and the “rest of life”.

A rural phenomenon?

When sharing the findings of these studies, a regular question was “what about the rest of the country?” With that in mind and wondering whether our findings were related to the cultural distinctives and extreme rurality of northern Scotland, in 2015 telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of people across the rest of Scotland. Contact details were purchased in accordance with postcodes to ensure equal numbers of participants from five representative regions: rural east, urban east, rural west, urban west and (sometimes an outlier in religious statistics) Aberdeen and environs. The question schedule explored similar territory to the research in the Highlands and Islands and callers made calls until sufficient data was collected to be assured of statistical rigour. 815 surveys were completed and revealed negligible differences between the different regions and similar findings to the Highlands and Islands. Reflections on these first three research projects were written up for a wider readership in The Invisible Church (2016). [20]

Five years on

In 2018, 68 people from the original interviews and “Investigating the Invisible Church” survey were reinterviewed or resurveyed in a “five years on” study. Although a small sample, these were people about whom we already knew a lot. Their contributions changed our previous snapshots into a longitudinal study, enabling us to see and better understand the dynamics of their journeys in life and faith.

Among those reinterviewed, most were still pursuing their faith in non-congregational ways. These people described the habits and connections they had formed in order to sustain their well-being and growth. A few had re-engaged with a church congregation during the intervening years. Invariably, these people reported differences in the nature of their relationship with the congregation when compared to times prior to disengaging. Typically, they described being less involved and feeling more on the fringe. Some people described how they had become part of a new faithbased community of some sort. For some this was the outcome of their intentional actions; for others this happened in an almost subconscious way, as they responded to opportunities and found themselves at the nucleus of an emerging group.

Those who were resurveyed completed two psychometric questionnaires, the Francis Psychological Types Scales (FPTS) and the New Indices of Religious Orientation (NIRO). The first measures “preferences” in aspects of psychology. A helpful comparison is with handedness. If we are left-handed, we will be able to use our right hand for some tasks but will prefer using the left. For some people a preference will be strong and for others it may be less so.

The FPTS assesses the psychological preferences of people with regard to four pairs of opposites. The first, extravert–introvert, concerns the ways in which people gather psychological energy. The second, sensing–intuitive, relates to the ways in which people receive information. Sensing types focus on the five senses, facts, details and practical realities in the here and now; intuitive types are more concerned with meaning and possibilities for the future. The third spectrum relates to the ways in which people make decisions and judgements: thinking types make judgements based on objective, impersonal logic; feeling types give more attention to subjective factors and personal values, and tend to prioritise harmony. Finally, attitudes towards the outer world are concerned with which process, judging or perceiving, is preferred. Judging types are orderly and decisive and reach conclusions swiftly; perceiving types are open, spontaneous and flexible, gathering information for as long as possible before making decisions.

Studies of psychological type in church congregations invariably show an over-representation of people with a preference for sensing and an under-representation of intuitive types. As explained in The Invisible Church, when discussing the tendency for change-resistant cultures to develop in church congregations, this means that the typical congregation is dominated by people whose natural preference is for the conservative and conventional, those who tend to favour what is well known and well established. “Whereas intuitive types tend to be open to change and innovation, sensing types find the uncertainty and doubt involved to be distressing.” [21] Research shows that sensing types are inclined to view traditional expressions of Christianity more positively. [22]

Countless studies also show a dominance of feeling types and a relative scarcity of thinking types in church congregations. The findings of the “five years on” study are explored in more depth in Rewilding the Church (2020), [23] but for our purposes here, a key finding was that among Christians not engaged with a church congregation, a much higher proportion of people demonstrated a preference for thinking than would be expected in typical church congregations. This finding among our modest sample reinforces the data from a study with a larger sample looking at the differences between churchgoers and church leavers. That found that all of the types most significantly over-represented among church leavers included a preference for thinking. If you are wondering “so what?”, you should know that there is now abundant evidence showing that a person’s psychological preferences make important and tangible differences to how they engage with the Christian faith and community. [24]

Those who have studied the kinds of community in which thinking types thrive report that they need an environment that offers intellectual stretching, welcomes logic and encourages questioning. [25] Those who have investigated the prayer lives of people with diverse psychological preferences observe that those with a thinking preference favour an approach to God that is rational and intellectual and are likely to struggle with acts of corporate worship and teaching planned and delivered by people with a strong feeling preference. [26] Whereas the majority in church congregations who prefer feeling find prayer and worship to be emotional activities, for those relatively rare thinking types spirituality has a strong cerebral element.

Religious orientation: the significance of quest

The other aspect of psychology investigated in the “five years on” research is also important. The concept of “religious orientation” has had a major impact on the psychology of religion in recent decades. Beginning with the groundbreaking work of Gordon Allport in the 1960s, [27] psychologists began to recognise that the essence of people’s religious faith has intrinsic and extrinsic orientations. Intrinsic orientation “regards faith as a supreme value in its own right… A religious sentiment of this sort floods the whole life with motivations and meaning”. [28] People with a strong extrinsic religious orientation “find religion useful… to provide security and solace, sociability and distraction, status and self-justification”. [29] As psychologists continued to develop this line of enquiry through the 1970s and 1980s, they found that to better understand the motivations of religious faith it was important to assess a third orientation. This has been termed quest orientation. “The quest orientation gave recognition to a form of religiosity which embraces characteristics of complexity, doubt, tentativeness, and honesty in facing existential questions.” [30] For a person with a strong quest orientation, exploring questions is at the heart of their faith. These people “display openness to change and a readiness to embrace new perspectives. They freely admit that there are many religious issues on which their views are still changing”. [31] Doubt is seen by those with a strong quest orientation as being fundamental to faith.

To correctly understand religious orientation, it is important to realise that we all display elements of intrinsic, extrinsic and quest orientation. Even if one orientation is dominant, there will still be indications of the others at work. A growing body of evidence supports the observation that “how you score on one component says precisely nothing about how you will score on the other two. The three are independent dimensions.” [32]

What the “five years on” study revealed was that Christians who are not engaged with a local church congregation are often high scorers in terms of quest orientation, and for 40 per cent of our cohort quest orientation was the dominant component. These are people for whom asking questions and exploring doubts is fundamental to their faith. This data reinforces the previous observation that “when eager disciples cannot find in church the space and companionship they need to explore questions and doubts, they seek these things elsewhere”. [33]

So what? Some reflections for pioneers

It is hoped that readers may be inspired to dig deeper into the data and reflections outlined here. Those with an interest or vocation in mission and pioneering will want to consider how insights from these studies inform an understanding of what God is doing, identify a source of potential pioneers beyond the congregations, and highlight the need for expressions of church that take seriously some of the insights of those who have been “forgotten, but not gone”. The following reflections are offered as starters for those who engage with this research from the perspective of “dreamers that do” [34] and who seek to “find out what God is doing and join in”: [35]

Any simplistic notion of the missional context being what is sometimes conceptualised as “the 85 per cent” or “90 per cent” or “92 per cent” (according to different denominations and networks) of the population that has no significant engagement with church needs to be reviewed and revised. The evidence is clear that the population beyond current congregational life is far from homogenous in terms of experience of church and attitude to Christian faith. A substantial proportion have considerable experience of church, see themselves as part of the worldwide Christian family and are actively pursuing the Jesus Way.

The search for those with an aptitude and vocation for pioneering mission needs to stretch beyond church congregations. Many Christians with “the gift of not fitting in” [36] have moved away from congregations dominated by “guardians of the status quo”. [37] Others, having encountered the pioneer Jesus outside the setting of congregational Christianity, have chosen to practice faith in a non-congregational way. While it has often been observed that pioneers are to be found “on the edge”, [38] the data suggests that many have moved beyond the edge.

Pioneering efforts, especially those where an anticipated outcome is a worshipping community, tend to focus on populations defined by social categories such as generation, interest group, housing or stage of life. However, insights into psychological type show how some less visible characteristics are highly influential in how people experience faith and community. Indeed, research in fresh expressions of church suggest that these are inadvertently providing environments in which certain psychological types can thrive. Whereas church congregations in general contain a preponderance of sensing and feeling types, data from fresh expressions shows high proportions of people with psychological preferences that are uncommon or rare in conventional church contexts. [39]

The relatively high scoring on the quest religious orientation scale among Christians who are not engaged with a church congregation adds support to the notion that lack of opportunity to “ask questions and explore doubts” is an important part of the “road to post-congregational faith” [40] for many church leavers. Pioneering ventures that create opportunities for asking questions and exploring doubts in nonthreatening and non-judging contexts may foster discipleship and community with those who have experienced “unintentional exclusion” [41] in some inherited church cultures.

The majority of church leavers become disappointed or frustrated with inherited modalities of congregational life in general, rather than the worship style, polity or theological flavour (although these things can be important factors for a minority of church leavers and many church switchers). It is not surprising, therefore, that many non-congregational Christians who display an aptitude for pioneering often seem to use their pioneering gifts towards the “community activism/ social enterprise” end of that continuum, rather than as “church replicators” or pioneering adaptations of a recognised model of church – in terms of Hodgett and Bradbury’s “Pioneer Spectrum”. [42]

When mission is understood in terms of the “Five Marks of Mission”, [43] many non-congregational Christians are actively involved in the mission of God. Some of those encountered in the course of the research outlined here are pioneers of loving service, creation care or social action.

While there appears to be a general reluctance among church leaders to ask Christians who are not involved with a local church congregation about their experiences and perspectives, people approached in the course of the research outlined here were invariably pleased to be asked and willing to share. Many reported that it was the first time they had been asked to recount their experiences. The Church Leaving Applied Research Project found that 92 per cent of their respondents had not been contacted by the congregation they left in the period following their disconnection. [44] Pioneers should be reassured that, when approached with genuine, non-judging curiosity, and offered confidentiality, many people are willing to share their journey in faith – and appear to be blessed by the experience.

Steve Aisthorpe is a researcher, facilitator and coach, working with the Church of Scotland’s Church Without Walls team. He was previously executive director of the International Nepal Fellowship. His publications include The Invisible Church (Saint Andrew Press, 2016), Building the Body (Saint Andrew Press, 2019), Rewilding the Church (Saint Andrew Press, 2020) and contributions to New Daylight study notes (BRF) and Holy Habits resources (BRF).

Email newsletter

To be notified when the next issue of Anvil is published, please sign up to our monthly Resources update using the button at the top right of the page.

Notes

[1] Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 227.
[2] Jacinta Ashworth and Ian Farthing, “Churchgoing in the UK: A research report from Tearfund on church attendance in the UK” (April 2007),
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/03_04_07_tearfundchurch.pdf.
[3] That is, former churchgoers, no longer engaged with a congregation.
[4] This extensive and rigorous project is reported in two accessible publications: Philip Richter and Leslie J. Francis, Gone But Not Forgotten:
Church Leaving and Returning (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1998) and Philip Richter and Leslie J. Francis, Gone for Good? Church
Leaving and Returning in the 21st Century (Peterborough: Epworth Press, 2007).
[5] Peter Brierley, The Tide is Running Out: What the English Church Attendance Survey Reveals (London: Christian Research, 2000), 236.
[6] Michael J. Fanstone, The Sheep That Got Away (Oxford: Monarch Books, 1993), 23–28.
[7] Ruth Gledhill, “Petty squabbles cause empty pews,” The Times, 25 August 2005.
[8] Ron Kallmier and Andy Peck, Closing the Back Door of the Church (Farnham: CWR, 2009).
[9] Alan Jamieson, A Churchless Faith: Faith Journeys Beyond the Churches (London: SPCK, 2002).
[10] Alan Jamieson, Jenny McIntosh and Adrienne Thompson, Church Leavers: Faith Journeys Five Years On (London: SPCK, 2006).
[11] Jamieson, A Churchless Faith, 17.
[12] Callum G. Brown, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding Secularisation, 1800–2000 (London: Routledge, 2001).
[13] Steve Bruce, God Is Dead: Secularization in the West (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002).
[14] Steve Aisthorpe, “Listening to and learning from Christians in the Highlands and Islands” (DMin Thesis, Glyndŵr University / University of
Wales, 2016), 179.
[15] Newbigin, Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 227. David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis
Books, 1991), 519.
[16] Aisthorpe, “Christians in the Highlands and Islands,” 179.
[17] Steve Aisthorpe, “A Survey of Christians in the Highlands and Islands who are not part of a Church Congregation,” Rural Theology 12, no.
2 (November 2014): 83–95. An un-refereed article is freely available at www.resourcingmission.org.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/
Rural_Theology_article_Oct2014.pdf.
[18] Harold G. Koenig, Spirituality and Health Research: Methods, Measurements, Statistics, and Resources (West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton
Foundation Press, 2011), 229.
[19] Gordon W. Allport and J. Michael Ross, “Personal religious orientation and prejudice,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 5, no. 4
(1967): 434.
[20] Steve Aisthorpe, The Invisible Church: Learning from the experiences of churchless Christians (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2016).
[21] Aisthorpe, Invisible Church, 118.
[22] L.J. Francis and C.F.J. Ross, “The perceiving function and Christian spirituality: distinguishing between sensing and intuition,” Pastoral
Sciences 16 (1997): 93–103.
[23] Steve Aisthorpe, Rewilding the Church (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 2020).
[24] Rural Theology has published several articles that demonstrate associations between psychological type and how people study Scripture
and engage with church. For example, Leslie J. Francis and Susan H. Jones, “Searching for the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:10–14): Do Sensing
Types and Intuitive Types Find Different Things?” Rural Theology 17, no. 2 (2019): 106–13.
[25] Malcolm Goldsmith, Knowing Me, Knowing God: Exploring Your Spirituality with Myers–Briggs (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997), 78–79.
[26] Bruce Duncan, Pray Your Way: Your Personality and God (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1993).
[27] Gordon W. Allport, “Religious context of prejudice,” Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion 5, no. 3 (Autumn 1966): 447–57.
[28] Ibid., 455.
[29] Allport and Ross, “Personal religious orientation and prejudice”: 434.
[30] Leslie J. Francis, “Introducing the New Indices of Religious Orientation (NIRO): Conceptualization and Measurement,” Mental Health, Religion
& Culture 10, no. 6 (2007): 588.
[31] Ibid.: 598.
[32] C. Daniel Batson, Patricia Schoenrade and W. Larry Ventis, Religion and the Individual: A Social–Psychological Perspective (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1993), 174.
[33] Aisthorpe, The Invisible Church, 67–68.
[34] Gerald A. Arbuckle, Refounding the Church: Dissent for Leadership (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1993), 7.
[35] Rowan Williams, “Archbishop’s Presidential Address – General Synod, York, July 2003” (14 July 2003), accessed 27 January 2020, http://
aoc2013.brix.fatbeehive.com/articles.php/1826/archbishops-presidential-address-general-synod-york-july-2003.
[36] Jonny Baker and Cathy Ross, eds., The Pioneer Gift: Explorations in Mission (London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2014), 1.
[37] Baker and Ross, Pioneer Gift, 10.
[38] Dave Male, Pioneering Leadership: Disturbing the Status Quo? (Cambridge: Grove Books, 2013), 14.
[39] Leslie J. Francis, Judy Clymo and Mandy Robbins, “Fresh expressions: reaching those psychological types conventional forms of church find
it hard to reach?” Practical Theology 7, no. 4 (2014): 252–67.
[40] Aisthorpe, Invisible Church, 65–69.
[41] Ibid., 83–86.
[42] Tina Hodgett and Paul Bradbury, “Pioneering Mission is… a Spectrum,” Anvil 34, no. 1 (2018): 30–34.
[43] Anne Richards and the Mission Theology Advisory Group, “The Five Marks of Mission,” last modified 29 November 2017,
www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/MTAG%20The%205%20Marks%20Of%20Mission.pdf.
[44] Richter and Francis, Gone But Not Forgotten, 145.

Back to all resources

Sign up for monthly updates on new resources

Theme
Pioneering
Audience
Individual
Type
Article

Cookie Configuration

We use cookies on our website to ensure you have the best browsing experience. Read our Privacy Policy for more information.

These cookies are necessary for the function of the website and cannot be disabled. They are used to save your preferences as you interact with our website, such as your cookie settings.

These cookies allow us to measure traffic on our website. They help us to know which pages are popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous.

These cookies are required for some of the core functionality of the website. They are set by third party content providers, such as video players and maps. If disabled, these content providers will not be loaded.

Done

We use cookies on our website to ensure you have the best browsing experience. Read our Privacy Policy for more information.

Configure Cookies Accept