Catalyzing fresh expressions of church in Florida with new people, in new places and by new ways.
Fresh Expressions was created to be a form of church for the changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church. These communities come into being through principles of listening, service, contextual mission, and making disciples and have the potential to become mature expressions of church shaped by the Gospel. There are currently over 300 Fresh Expressions of church in the Florida Conference, which vary from gatherings around a community garden, to pub groups with hymn sings and bible study. Every Fresh Expression may model connection and God and one another very differently, but the heart of each group is to reach new people in new ways and in new places.
As we consider the future of what church looks like, we believe that it will be a mixed economy of both traditional churches and Fresh Expressions. Diverse forms of church must exist together to reach a diverse population with the good news of Jesus Christ.
The Fresh Expressions movement was birthed out of the UK in 2004, as a joint initiative of the Church of England and the British Methodist Church. As thousands of new communities formed in the UK alone and established churches began to experience renewal, more denominations began to partner with the work God was doing through these faith communities and the movement spread worldwide into Australia, Canada, South Africa, and beyond. In 2010, the movement began taking shape in the US through the vision and support of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, and a stateside collaboration of ecumenical partners began to form.
In April 2014, conversation about Fresh Expressions took root in the Florida Conference of the UMC, thanks to the leadership of Bishop Ken Carter, Audrey Warren & Vance Rains. Over the last four years, Fresh Expressions has flourished across the conference and can be found in every district. We praise God for this work of the Spirit in our conference drawing more people into transforming relationship with Jesus!