Archive for February, 2020

People struggling with addictions, people who love bicycling, people who are hungry for fellowship around a good meal are the type of people that will be reached by five new Fresh Expressions that are launching in Indiana.

The Church Development Committee of the Indiana Conference just approved $1000 Fresh Expressions grants to Meese Chapel and Decatur St. Marks UMCs in the Northeast District, Monon and Fowler UMCs in the Northwest District, and Ruter Chapel UMC in the Southeast District.

These churches are intentionally striving to bring hope and God’s love to people in their communities that are unlikely to show up on a Sunday morning. For example, Meese Chapel is launching A Better Life-Brianna’s Hope joining three dozen other churches in Indiana and Ohio. Brianna‚Äôs Hope is a faith-based organization committed to assisting individuals and communities battling addiction, using support, encouragement, and collaboration.

Decatur St. Marks is launching Journey Riders with persons who have a strong passion to share the love of Christ. Layperson John McCullough says that “Through cycling we hope to connect to the lost, build trust, and bring Jesus into their lives slowly and methodically.”

Ruter Chapel is launching The Village, using the dinner-church model of Fresh Expressions. The church’s pastor, Ron Marcoux, says “The Village will provide unchurched and seekers a non-traditional worship setting with a warm meal, live music, and a positive message through testimony and short sermons based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Fowler UMC is launching Fowler Family Dinner. The church discovered that single older adults in particular are food insecure in Benton County and so the church is setting the table especially for them. Monon UMC has launched a community meal where their members host tables and connect with those who join them, like a “seeker” family of seven that came last month.

Praise God for these churches that have a heart for those in their community who are in need of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Of course there are many other churches that are launching similar efforts. If your church is one of them, please share your story with us. Also, know that Fresh Expressions training is available March 7th at Muncie Union Chapel and May 2 at South Bend Clay UMC. Go to Vision Days for information and registration. Indiana UMs can get a 50% off the regular price if you act right away!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development