What if Church consisted of burritos and free salsa at Moe’s or dance breaks and selfie stations? These holy opportunities are created to provide those who are not in church an interaction with, the Church. Fresh Expressions seeks to reach out to a changing, diverse culture, putting expressions of church closer to God’s people. The Indianapolis Vision Day, held October 20 at Fishers UMC, provided rich and relevant insight on how we can strengthen our missional outreach in the communities we seek to serve, using the gifts God has given us.
Fresh Expressions are primarily lay-driven, allowing allmembers of our diverse church the opportunity to see places and gifts Godhas given each of us to reach people right where they are, and help them learn about and pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“The church’s job is to be the bridge between the rising waters of the culture to the solid ground of who Jesus is,” said J.R. Briggs, Founder of Kairos Partnerships, and National Trainer & Equipper of Fresh Expressions.
The one-day vision-casting event sparked ideas and conversations among participants around what the Church is, how the Church can be taken out of the steeple to the streets, and how we can engage a Post-Christian culture.
Fresh Expressions aren’t new. In fact, early Methodism could be considered a“fresh expression” as John Wesley took to the fields instead of a pulpit to preach the Gospel and engage deeply with a broken and hurting world. Fresh Expressions are a way to get out from behind the pews and pulpits and take the gospel back to the“fields” of the places God has placed each of us.
The Vision Day also included an opportunity to hear from Fresh Expressions “pioneers,” including Rev. Chris Lantz and his wife, Andrea from LaGrange, Ind. Together, Rev. Lantz and Andrea engage with a mobile home community in their town. A ministry that started out simply as a way to feed and interact with the children in this “unsavory”, to some, part of town has grown into a thriving children’s ministry and the church purchased a trailer within the mobile home community. Andrea shared that their intention was never to start a worship service, still isn’t. Their heart and goal was always to build relationships in that community. They wanted to provide a space where people could gather and feel safe, loved, and care for.
Rev. Lantz remarked,“They don’t have to come to our church in order for this to be a success story. It’s not so much about how many people are in the pews but how many souls are saved. Because that’s the mission, right—to make disciples?”
Fresh Expressions do not require a large start-up cost. In fact, some cost near to nothing. Fresh Expressions can begin simply by recognizing the places and people God has already entrusted you with and breaking down potential barriers, and building bridges for them to see and know the love of God.
To learn more about Fresh Expressions, please click here.