According to Fresh Expressions U.S., "a Fresh Expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of those who are not yet part of any church." Fresh Expressions are introducing people to Jesus, expanding the kingdom, and revitalizing churches. Congregations need a practical and theological resource that can help them cultivate Fresh Expressions. As consultants who work nationwide and as innovative pastors, authors Michael Beck and Jorge Acevedo awaken congregational leaders and ministry teams to a distinctive Wesleyan approach for the Fresh Expressions movement. In Wesleyan Fresh Expressions, they show congregations how to cultivate and customize fresh expressions that fit their local context. They motivate ministry teams to take risks, experiment, and when necessary, fail well.
On April 2, 1739, John Wesley went to a field just outside what was then the city limits of Bristol, England. There he tried a missional innovation called field preaching. Thousands of people showed up, many of whom who had no connection with a church. Today, most Methodists and other Wesleyans don't know their own story. Lost in the milieu of divisive issues that threaten to tear the church apart, Wesleyans have forgotten their DNA as a renewal movement, born not from doctrinal disputes but from a missional imperative. In this sense, the Fresh Expressions movement is the most "Methodist" thing in the denomination today. This iteration of the Spirit is taking it to the fields again. Wesleyan Fresh Expressions
will help guide the way.
About the Author
Michael Beck is Director of Re-Missioning for Fresh Expressions U.S. and Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Michael serves as co-pastor of Wildwood UMC with his wife Jill, where they direct addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, an interracial unity movement and house a faith-based inpatient treatment center. Wildwood is a traditional congregation and a network of 13 fresh expressions that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, salons, running tracks, community centers and burrito joints. Michael earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies at Portland Seminary. He is the author of Deep Roots, Wild Branches and A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions. Jill and Michael currently live in Wildwood. They have a blended family of eight children, four grandchildren and two pugs.
Jorge Acevedo is the Lead Pastor at Grace Church, a multi-site United Methodist congregation in Southwest Florida. Jorge led a group of young clergy in the creation of the book and Bible study Sent: Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas and is author of Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World. He is a contributor to Circuit Rider magazine, Good News magazine, and Our Faith Today.