On Saturday, May 6th, clergy and laity from across the conference gathered at First UMC in Salisbury for a Fresh Expressions Vision Day.
Travis Collins and Michael Beck led the event as trainers for Fresh Expressions US. Collins is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL and author of From the Steeple to the Street. Beck is the pastor of Wildwood UMC in the Florida Conference.
Participants heard from a number of persons doing Fresh Expressions type ministries in the Western North Carolina Conference as well, including Luke Edwards of King Street Church in Boone and Charles DiRico of Mouzon UMC who facilitates Yoga Church.
Edwards, who has been working alongside Fresh Expressions US for a few years, said, “Saturday’s Vision Day was an incredible time of stirring our conference’s missional imagination. Participants were introduced to the Fresh Expressions movement and model of planting new forms of church in our communities.”
Collins and Beck offered this definition of Fresh Expressions:
A Fresh Expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church
-It will come into being through the principles of listening, service, incarnational mission and making disciples.
– It will have the potential to become a mature expression of church shaped by the gospel and the enduring marks of the church and for its cultural context.
They also outlined the basics of what Fresh Expressions are:
- Fresh Expressions reach out to a changing, diverse culture, putting expressions of church closer to people.
- Connect people in First, Second, Third Spaces (primary places like home and office; secondary places like church and similar organizations; third places like coffee shops, pubs, bookstores, parks, etc.)
- Gather in Smaller Micro-Communities
- With people who are interested in pursuing meaning and purpose
- Not in competition with the existing church, but a complement to it.
John Boggs, Director of Vital Discipleship for the Western North Carolina Conference, and one of the organizers of the event, shared some next steps in the process and in this relationship with Fresh Expressions.
- Gathering of large church clergy for conversations about anchoring (sponsoring) Fresh Expressions, missional initiatives, and intentional communities
Thursday, June 1, St. Luke’s UMC Hickory, 10:00 – 2:00 (complimentary lunch)
Register with Candy Caron in the Conference Office.
- Annual Conference Fresh Expressions experiential learning opportunities sponsored by WNCC Vitality Team
Yoga Church – hosted by Mouzon UMC
Location: Kern Center, Lakeside Porch, Friday June 23, 8:30-9:30 am
Registration required (30 spots) www.acyogachurch.eventbrite.com
Kayak Church – hosted by River of Life
Location: Kern Center Recreation Hut, Friday, June 23, 12:00-1:15 pm
Registration required (30 spots) www.ackayakchurch.eventbrite.com
Pub Church – hosted by King Street Church
Location: Boojum Taproom, Waynesville, Saturday, June 24, 6:00-7:00 pm
Registration required (20 spots) www.acpubchurch.eventbrite.com
- Fresh Expressions Roundtables to follow-up Salisbury Vision Day; these regional conversations are open to folks interested in starting Fresh Expressions and will be hosted in two locations later this summer, dates and times to be announced.
Charlotte: University City UMC
High Point: Wesley Memorial UMC
- Fall Vision Day for the western part of WNCC (hosted by Blue Ridge District)
Date and place to be announced
- Pioneer Learning Community for those who have attended a Vision Day, Roundtable, or are ready for a peer cohort over several months for Fresh Expressions leadership development
To be formed early in 2018
Our Current WNCC Fresh Expressions Lead Team includes: Mike Fongemy, Tim Roberts, Luke Edwards, Nancy Rankin, and John Boggs.
Rev. Amy Coles closed out the event with these words: “On behalf of Bishop Leeland, I thank you for your participation today. This is kingdom work and we have the opportunity to grow as a multi-expression Church – which I believe is the future of United Methodism. Elaine Heath has taught me the expression, ‘Holy Spirit efficiency.’ When I witnessed the number of Pioneers who gathered together in ‘that corner,’ I know the Spirit is at work in the Western North Carolina Conference. So as laborers who have been sent into the harvest, let us go forth to bring expressions of Church to the people. Go forth in Christ’s peace.”
To learn more about Fresh Expressions, go to: