By Tom Planck
Our world has changed. That statement was true in December of 2019. It is even more true in February of 2022.
The journey we have been on the past couple of years has accelerated the changing landscape of life in America. It has become painfully clear that we simply cannot hit the undo button.
Our world has changed and we are not going back.
The missional map of America has exploded with needs and people who are not connected to Christ and/or the Church. The growth of the unchurched and the dechurched (in other words, the “nones” and the “dones”) in our population has accelerated. The need for the Church to rise up and further engage in Jesus’ mission has never been greater. The demand for pioneering leaders and innovative churches has also never been greater.
I believe the Church in America is at a crossroads. We must courageously face the reality that what might have worked in the past to reach people might not work now or in the future. The Gospel we preach will never change, but howwe deliver that message must always be adjusted to fit our cultural moment.
We are working hard in Indiana and the Midwest region to expose our churches to innovative ways pioneering leaders and churches are having an impact in real time. One of these ways is through a movement called Fresh Expressions. Fresh expressions are defined as “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 principles of listening, service, contextual 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.”
A Fresh Expression is a form of church that happens in the places where people work, live, and play. And, it most often sees the pioneering leaders of these churches retreat back to their home churches for encouragement, resourcing, and accountability. The focus of these fresh expressions are clearly focused on meeting real needs of broken people, sharing the Gospel, and making disciples. These fresh expressions are happening across the U.S. in tattoo parlors, yoga studios, and local pubs. The list of these creative expressions is only limited by those leaders who have answered the call to start something new.
I firmly believe a few things about the fresh expression movement.
- Every (yes, every!) church in our movement has the capacity to start at least one fresh expression of church to expand their missional impact in their community.
- Fresh expressions might be part of the pathway for your church to increase its missional footprint and impact in your community.
- There are pioneering leaders in the pews of every (yes, every!) church in our movement that have the call and leadership moxie to start a fresh expression of church.
Are you interested in exploring what it might look like for your church to launch a fresh expression or two? We hope so!
To help us to begin to explore this as a new ministry and multiplication option for your church we will be hosting a webinar with Michael Beck on February 28th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (sign up HERE).
Last fall, I had the privilege of spending a full day with Michael in his local context. It was incredibly exciting to see the ways Michael’s church is impacting unforgotten places in his city through fresh expressions of church. I highly recommend you block the 28th on your calendar next month and attend this webinar.
My prayer is that 2022 will be a year that we see dozens of fresh expressions launch across Indiana and throughout the Midwest.