Urban Expression is an urban mission agency that recruits, equips, deploys and networks self-financing teams, pioneering creative and relevant expression of the Christian church in under-churched areas of the inner city, outer estates, and marginalised communities.
We are committed to…
…following God on the margins and in the gaps, expecting to discover God at work among powerless people and in places of weakness.
…being Jesus-centred in our view of the Bible, our understanding of mission and all aspects of discipleship.
…seeking God’s kingdom in the urban context, both by pioneering creative and relevant expressions of the Christian church and by working in partnership with others in mission.
…a vision of justice, peace and human flourishing for the city and all its inhabitants.
…uncluttered church, focused on mission, rooted in local culture and equipping all to develop and use their God-given gifts.
…unconditional service, holistic ministry, bold proclamation, prioritising the poor and being a voice for the voiceless.
…respecting and building relationship with other faith communities and averse to all forms of manipulation or erosion of liberty.
Urban Expression operates according to a set of shared values and convictions. It is these that make Urban Expression distinctive as a mission agency (though other agencies would share some or many of these values). It is these values that team members commit to when they join a team, and teams are guided by these values in the way they operate.
We believe that, in Jesus, God is revealed locally, and that we should be committed to our local community or relational network and active members of it.
We believe that the gospel works through relationships and that serving God consists largely in building life-giving relationships with others.
We recognise that Christian faith is a journey and we are committed to helping people move forward, wherever they are at present.
We focus on under-churched areas and neglected people, trying to find ways of communicating Jesus appropriately to those most frequently marginalised, condemned and abused by society.
We challenge the trend of some Christians moving out of the cities and encourage Christians to relocate to inner-city neighbourhoods, outer housing estates and other marginal communities.
We believe in doing things with and not just for communities, sharing our lives with others and learning from others who share their lives with us.
We see teamwork, networking and mutual accountability as vital, recognising that individuals and churches need each other.
We recognise the importance of taking risks and the demands of urban mission, and we believe that it is acceptable to fail.
We value courage, creativity and diversity as we try to discover relevant ways of being church in different contexts.
We believe that questions and theological reflection are important as we learn together and so discern the way forward.
We aim to be catalysts, encouraging and releasing creativity in both the church and the local neighbourhood as we seek and share God in urban areas.
We believe in discouraging dependency and developing indigenous leadership within maturing churches that will have the capacity to sustain and reproduce themselves.
We are excited that God can be discovered in the urban context and commit ourselves to explore various forms of prayer and worship that are appropriate here.
We realise that God’s Spirit blows freely and so we will not assume our work should continue indefinitely.
We acknowledge our dependence on God and affirm our continual need of prayer and God’s empowering Spirit.
We believe that all people are loved by God, regardless of age, gender, education, ethnicity, class or sexuality, and that God works through all believers – and others besides.
We respect others working alongside us in the inner city and are grateful for the foundations laid by the many who have gone before us.
We want to learn from others, seeking to shape what we do in light of the experiences, discoveries, successes and mistakes of fellow-workers.
We are careful not to drain other local churches of their often limited resources, but hope to be an encouragement and support to them.
We realise the importance of living uncluttered lives, holding possessions lightly and recognising that all we have is to be at God’s disposal.
We know we are not indispensable and what we attempt to do is part of a much bigger picture, so will try to keep ourselves in perspective.
Urban Expression teams are supported by a number of coordinators, all of whom work one day a week or less:
Barney Barron: south-west and recruitment
Alexandra Ellish: south-east and new teams
Rachel Jay: operations and finance
Simon Jay: Midlands and youth
Gordon McDade: Ireland and spiritual formation
Stuart Murray Williams: strategy and training
Karen Sethuraman: Ireland and spiritual formation
Urban Expression is a charitable trust. The trustees are:
Phil Warburton (chair)