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
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
Fresh Expressions US: https://freshexpressions.com/
Fresh Expressions UK: https://freshexpressions.org.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)