A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions
According to Fresh Expressions U.S., "a Fresh Expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of those who are not yet part of any church." Fresh Expressions are introducing people to Jesus, expanding...
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According to Fresh Expressions U.S., "a Fresh Expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of those who are not yet part of any church." Fresh Expressions are introducing people to Jesus, expanding the kingdom, and revitalizing churches. Congregations need a practical and theological resource that can help them cultivate Fresh Expressions. As consultants who work nationwide and as innovative pastors, authors Michael Beck and Jorge Acevedo awaken congregational leaders and ministry teams to a distinctive Wesleyan approach for the Fresh Expressions movement. In Wesleyan Fresh Expressions, they show congregations how to cultivate and customize fresh expressions that fit their local context. They motivate ministry teams to take risks, experiment, and when necessary, fail well.
On April 2, 1739, John Wesley went to a field just outside what was then the city limits of Bristol, England. There he tried a missional innovation called field preaching. Thousands of people showed up, many of whom who had no connection with a church. Today, most Methodists and other Wesleyans don't know their own story. Lost in the milieu of divisive issues that threaten to tear the church apart, Wesleyans have forgotten their DNA as a renewal movement, born not from doctrinal disputes but from a missional imperative. In this sense, the Fresh Expressions movement is the most "Methodist" thing in the denomination today. This iteration of the Spirit is taking it to the fields again. Wesleyan Fresh Expressions will help guide the way.
Jorge Acevedo is the Lead Pastor at Grace Church, a multi-site United Methodist congregation in Southwest Florida. He is author of Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World and co-author of The Heart of Youth Ministry, and is a contributor to Circuit Rider magazine, Good News magazine, and Our Faith Today. <P>
Michael Beck is South Atlantic Coordinator Fresh Expressions US, Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the North Central District, and a Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Beck serves as co-pastor of Wildwood United Methodist Church with his wife Jill, where they direct addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, and a network of thirteen fresh expressions that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, salons, running tracks, community centers, and burrito joints. Beck earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and is concluding a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies at Portland Seminary with his mentor Dr. Leonard Sweet.