Growing new congregations

Embracing new expressions of worship is one of the many ways you can grow your church

The faithful, weekly Sunday worship of traditional forms of church continue to deeply root, nourish and sustain us and these sit alongside new and differently creative forms of church sometimes within the same parish. We sometimes refer to this as a mixed ecology of church.

Our team role is to enable parishes across the diocese to nurture and grow new forms of church. 

Our vision is to grow the Diocese of Oxford that establishing new congregations in contextually appropriate ways is a normal part of parish life in every deanery and social context with a good knowledge and skill base to support this.

We are noticing that churches across the diocese are asking:

  • How do we reach those in our community who don’t currently come to church?

  • What is a new congregation?

  • How might starting a new congregation be a next missional step for us as a parish?

In the video below, Bishop Steven answers these questions and more:

Parish Development Advisors

Our Parish Development Advisers (PDAs) are members of our team and would normally be the first contact for parishes who wish to explore ‘growing your church’.

PDAs walk alongside you and your church in discerning and enabling a vision for God’s work in your community. A process of listening, experimenting and learning that leads to growing your church including establishing a new worshiping congregation might begin with you having a conversation with your PDA, and they can provide ongoing support along that journey including visiting your ministry or leadership team, speaking with your PCC or facilitating a discernment process. They and the team can connect you with a peer learning community (sometimes called a Greenhouse) and both specialist and coaching support.


A Biblical vision for growing your church: enlarge the place of your tent

See, I am doing a new thing!

In Isaiah’s time, the people of God found themselves in a tough place, exiled and struggling. God calls them back to a close relationship with him and inspires them with a powerful picture of growth for the future (Isaiah 54:1–8). “Enlarge the place of your tent,” he encourages them, “and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out”.

Growth starts with what the people are familiar with, a tent; a place for family, welcome, business transactions and hospitality. God points them forward to a time when they will welcome all the world, gentiles included.

They were not required to dismantle what they had and build something different. They were to start from where they were, and enlarge their capacity to enable new people to join them.

“Enlarge the place of your tent” provides us too with a visual image, a vision, an imperative, a reality. If we’re to be obedient to God’s call, we need to recognise that we are all called to join in with what God is doing.

Further information

See our detailed Questions and Answers for more information to help you get going, and check out page 9 of the Winter 23/4 edition of Pathways magazine for further information on enlarging the place of your tent.

Watch our short videos on our YouTube channel.


New courses to help parishes reach more people. 

3, 17 June and 1, 15 July.

The diocese has partnered with Pioneering Parishes to give each of its 808 churches access to a range of courses and events aimed at equipping attendees with the knowledge and skills to reach out into their local area.

A special introduction course, First Steps, is being provided for PCC members, clergy and volunteers in the diocese, who are involved in outreach or parish mission. The course takes place over four 90-minute seminars, on 3, 17 June and 1, 15 July.

Find out more about the course content and to book your places - Book online here!

Jump to: Events | Learning communities | Resourcing Hubs | Fresh Expressions | Meet the team | Case studies

New ways of being church case studies

This case studies page gives some examples of churches which have recently started a new form of church.

Meet the new congregations team

Get to know the New Congregations team and see how they can support you.

Frequently asked questions

The following questions arose from the February 2023 Diocesan Synod workshop about the work of the New Congregations Team.

Related news and stories

New courses to help parishes reach more people 

Parishes in the diocese now have access to more support as they seek to look outwards and grow engagement with their wider community, as part of everyday ministry....

New church plant creates community rooted in worship

From meeting in the vicar’s lounge to a weekly congregation or 80 of more, Church on Berryfields has gone from strength to strength over the past 10 years....

A church for people who don’t do church

Grace Church, Cowley in Oxford prides itself on being a church for people who don’t do church....
Powered by Church Edit