Vision Days will be scheduled soon for each District. Please be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming plans as the seeds take root! Contact Patty Smith for details.
Article about Fresh Expressions: You Don’t Have to Leave the Church to Start One
Take Church to Where the People Are
- Do you regularly invite people to attend church, but they rarely come?
- Do you worry that your congregation isn’t connected to your neighborhood?
- Do you want to empower people to live missionally in their day-to-day lives?
- Are you passionate about living the gospel in your neighborhood?
- Would you like to make a real connection with new people?
If you can say “yes” to any of those questions, then Fresh Expressions Movement is exactly what you’ve been looking for!
Fresh Expressions began in the United Kingdom in 2004 as a movement of the Church of England and the British Methodist Church to reach people who were not attending church. By 2010, the US movement had begun and several UM Conferences, including Florida, Pennsylvania and Kentucky have laity leading groups that are reaching new people in new places through their Fresh Expressions movement. The Nashville Area joined these spiritual pioneers in June of 2016.
What is a Fresh Expression?
A fresh expression is a new form of faith community for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet affiliated with any church.
Fresh expressions of church are:
- Missional—They are intended to join God in his loving efforts to reach people who are unchurched and far from God
- Contextual—They fit and occur naturally within a given person’s day-to-day life. Fresh Expressions meet outside the walls of the church including in homes, neighborhood gathering places, retirement centers, and community clubhouses. Rarely do they meet on Sunday.
- Formational—From the beginning they have discipleship—the formation of disciples—as their aim.
- Ecclesial— Fresh Expressions are a new form of church, not a step toward, or a substitute for church.
The Fresh Expressions movement empowers congregations in the face of change. It enables congregations with a great history to have a great future of kingdom investment. The movement offers a valuable, viable, and replicable approach to being fishers of people in a rapidly changing society.
How do Fresh Expressions begin?
Fresh Expressions come to fruition through the principles of:
- Listening to God and the community – Strategy emerges out of what we hear.
- Loving and Serving – Followers of Jesus engage their neighbors through mutual interests and activities such as a camera club, running group, knitting circle, gardening club, hotel employees, bloggers, veterans, school teachers, etc. Relationships develop as a result of these shared bonds.
- Building Community – A sense of community emerges by loving and serving, and investing ourselves as Christians among a new group of people.
- Exploring Discipleship – The early stages of a fresh expression of church emerge as community grows. Discipleship begins informally through impromptu discussions and evolves into planned faith conversations.
- Church Taking Shape – As people move closer toward following Jesus they naturally want to associate with others on the same journey. Group members get together to foster their spiritual growth through interaction, dialogue, and personal discovery focused on Biblical truths.
- Do it Again – Group members see themselves as participants in God’s ongoing story. Conversations arise about the launching of a new Fresh Expression.
The Fresh Expressions movement encourages and enables lay people with a love for God and people—to follow God’s call into innovative ventures.
How will your offering be used to reach new people through Fresh Expressions?
2016 Annual Conference Offering provided seed funds for leaders of these lay-led faith communities to begin new relationships with people not currently engaged in a traditional church. The New Church Development/Missional Faith Communities team (under Congregational Development) administers contributions.
Our conference and districts will host Vision Training Days to help people learn more about the Fresh Expressions movement and how they can become a pioneering leader in this movement. A grant application for seed funds will be available following this initial training.
Begin exploring Fresh Expressions US here. Additional insightful articles by the Fresh Expressions US leadership team can be found here.
Help us make disciples for the transformation of the world, one neighborhood at time by generously supporting Fresh Expressions.
Contributions can be made through online giving or by checks made payable to TNUMC to:
TNUMC Connectional Ministries
ATTN: Fresh Expressions
304 S. Perimeter Park Dr. Suite 1
Nashville, TN 37211
Source: Travis Collins. “Fresh Expressions of Church.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/fhl7-.l