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Fresh Expressions

A Fresh Expression is “a pattern for believers to share their faith in their everyday lives.” Instead of inviting people to gather in your church building, Fresh Expressions invite Christian disciples to gather with those already in their social circles and to ask “How can I help my friends connect with God?”.

It is about taking ministry to people where they are already gathering, rather than attempting to attract people to your church’s gatherings. “Fresh expressions form where mutual interests meet hearts open to opportunities to connect on faith matters”. Fresh Expressions can build around a meal (Dinner Church and other models), around a common activity (imagine a Fresh Expression built around soccer, ultimate frisbee, video games, or yoga), around groups already entering your church building (like families whose children attend a church preschool who share in Messy Church). What distinguishes Fresh Expressions from other church groups is that these are not gatherings of church members in outside spaces (a Bible study at Starbucks). These are groups of people from outside the church already gathered, and church members connected to those people find new forms of church in society.

Fresh Expression Grant Request

The Virginia Annual Conference Church Development Team has established a grant to support local churches in their endeavor of starting a Fresh Expressions Initiative. Please fill out the form and allow us to assist you in this process

Fresh Expressions in the VAUMC

To connect with other VAUMC leaders who are exploring or leading Fresh Expressions, join our Facebook page

Some examples of Fresh Expressions that are happening in the Virginia Conference are

Aldersgate UMC (Charlottesville): Dinner Church as well as other Fresh Expressions

Bethel UMC (Lancaster): Messy Church

Braddock Street UMC (Winchester): Expressions built around Table Top Role Playing Games

Carmel UMC (Hague): Dinner Church

Discovery UMC (Richmond): Methodist Gaming and other expressions through the Farmer’s Market that occurs on site each week.

Ebenezer UMC (Stafford): The Love Your Neighbor Network, which is forming a network of microchurches and Fresh Expressions to reach neighbors outside the church walls.

Restoration Church (Loudoun): Sunday Brunch

Sydenstricker UMC (Springfield): Messy Church, Small Church

The Vine: Yoga Church, Diner Church, and an upcoming Improv (Comedy) Church.

Warwick Memorial: Dinner Church

Wesley Chapel – Rock Springs UMC: A meal-centered experience called “Satisfy Your Hunger”

Holey, Wholly, Holy: A bagel-based pop-up Christian community

Selected Fresh Expressions Resources

VAUMC Fresh Expressions Facebook Page

Fresh Expressions US:

Fresh Expressions UK:

Michael Moynagh and Adam Beck, The 21st Century Christian: Following Jesus Where Life Happens (Harrington Interactive Media: 2021)

Michael Adam Beck with Jorge Acevedo, A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions (Abingdon Press, Nashville: 2020)

Luke S. Edwards, Becoming Church: A Trail Guide for Starting Fresh Expressions (Fresh Expressions: 2021)

Verlon Fosner, Welcome to Dinner, Church (Seedbed, Franklin: 2017)

Michael Adam Beck and Tyler Kleeberger, Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church (Abingdon, Nashville: 2022)

To learn more about Fresh Expressions, or to connect with others exploring Fresh Expressions in the Virginia Conference, contact Jonathan Page at [email protected]

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