Posts Tagged ‘outreach’

Have you heard of Fresh Expressions but you don’t really know a lot about it? Are you interested in reaching and discipling persons outside your church? If so, now’s the time to sign up for the Fresh Expressions “Vision Day” training, August 17th at First United Methodist Church in Wabash, IN. It begins at 9:30am and ends at 3:30pm (Eastern Time) and will consist of a training especially for pastors and lay people from churches interested in exploring this missional outreach model.

Now is the time to register because the early bird discount rate ends August 10th! For United Methodist laity and clergy in the Indiana Conference, the early-bird rate is only $25 per person, which includes lunch. That’s 55% off the general admission price!

Fresh Expressions was developed by the Anglican and Methodist churches of England fifteen years ago because both denominations no longer were reaching the population, especially the huge part of the population no longer interested in attending church. The model follows the example that Christ shares in Luke 10, when he sends out the 72 to the surrounding towns. So although Fresh Expressions is new, in many ways it’s as old as Christ. Don’t miss out; sign up today!

For more information contact ed.fenstermacher@inumc.org.

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

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Can small rural churches really make a difference? Well, three United Methodist churches in the West District of the Indiana Conference are doing just that. Shelburn, Ebenezer, and Farmersburg UM churches are changing the lives of young people in their area through JAM, Jesus and Me. Although the churches collectively average around 100 people in weekly worship, they are reaching fifty children through their JAM ministry!

Bonnie Greene, a part-time school bus driver and one of the JAM leaders, says that the primary objective of the ministry is that every child knows God and how to pray.

Most of those being reached don’t attend traditional Sunday morning church. Bonnie says that they used to refer to the youth as unchurched until they realized that they were churched, that JAM was their church. And now she has a dream to reach their parents too.

A couple years ago, she was challenged by her church’s Conference Superintendent, Rev. John Groves, when he closed a Charge Conference with a prayer that included the phrase: “May the Holy Spirit come upon you and disturb you until you fall on your knees and He fills you with His power.”

Bonnie says that she kept thinking about that prayer, and as a result the Lord gave her a vision of reaching the JAM youth’s parents by offering them dinner at an off-site location. Bonnie says God even provided the name for it, The Table. To begin working on it, she and another person from the ministry recently attended Dinner Church training the Conference provided and are working on making that vision a reality!

So just think of how God can use your church!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

To hear more about this amazing story, watch this video of Bonnie sharing about the JAM ministry.

Have you already been to Fresh Expressions training? Are you ready for additional help? Or, are you new to this biblical-based outreach approach and you want to know more about it? In either case, you will find attending Fresh Expressions “Round Table” training, June 29th, helpful.

A Round Table is a three-hour session focused on helping a church design and develop a Fresh Expressions outreach effort in its community.

The Indiana Conference is holding two Round Tables, on June 29th.  One will be held at Covenant UMC in Fort Wayne from 8:30-11:30am (Eastern) and one will be held at Fishers UMC in Fishers from 2:00-5:00pm (Eastern).

This training will be ideal for a team from a church to attend together. Both sessions will cover the same material.   The cost to attend is $15 per person.  Sessions will be led by experienced practitioners from Fresh Expressions U.S.  To register for either event, click here.

The Fresh Expressions model has been shown to be a highly effective way to reach and disciple unchurched persons, especially those uninterested ever attending a church.  With nearly 4 million unchurched folk in Indiana, Church Development has a dream of having at least 150 Fresh Expressions meeting throughout the state by 2025.  We hope your church will have launched one or more of these!  Let’s keep this effort in our prayers.  All for God’s glory!

—Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

What if… What if our 1,100 United Methodist Churches in Indiana were each reaching outside their walls, sharing Christ’s love on a regular basis with persons uninterested in attending church?  That’s exactly what the Fresh Expressions model helps a church do.  Church Development  has set a goal of helping our conference churches establish 150 Fresh Expressions around the state by 2025.

Take your next step and explore this possibility by registering for one of the following training opportunities…

May 18th, Vision Day, sponsored by the SE District, held at Bloomington St. Paul UMC, 9:30am-3:30pm (Eastern). EARLY-BIRD PRICE DEADLINE IS MAY 11TH  Registration link.

June 1st, Dinner Church.  One of the most popular forms of Fresh Expressions (FX); sponsored by our Conference Church Development (CD) and the Indiana Assembly of God, held at Lakeview Church in Indianapolis, 9am-4pm (Eastern).  Registration link.

June 29th, FX Roundtables.  Vision Day follow-up training, especially for churches that already know the basics; sponsored by CD, held at Fort Wayne Covenant UMC, 8:30-11:30am (Eastern), and Fishers UMC, 2:00-5:00pm (Eastern).

August 10Messy Church.  Another popular form of FX; sponsored by Michigan City First UMC and Messy Church USA, held at Michigan City First, 9am-3:30pm (Central).  Registration link.

August 17, Vision Day, sponsored by the NW District, held at Wabash First, 9:30am-3:30pm (Eastern).  Registration link.

Also, consider attending on May 17th “Re-Missioning the Church from the Outside In,” a live-stream webinar led by UMC pastors Jorge Acevedo and Michael Beck, author of Deep Roots, Wild Branches.  Registration link.

God is doing a new thing in Indiana.  Don’t miss out!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

IMG_1208This week I have been reminded that many in The United Methodist Church are pushing the envelope.   Many pastors, churches, Boards of Ordained Ministry, Bishops, and entire conferences are reacting strongly to the decisions made at the recent General Conference session in St. Louis.  There are many who are trying to push the envelope regarding the church’s position on homosexuality and the church.  At the same time, there are people pushing the envelope in other ways.  For example, I learned of laity who are publicly administering the sacrament of communion.

Years ago I was asked to fill the pulpit when my pastor was gone one Sunday, so I did.  Before the worship service I saw the communion elements on the altar and so I asked who was administering the sacraments.  The lay people in charge of worship matter-of-factly said, “You are.”  I said, “Well, who is going to bless the sacraments?”  They again replied, “You are.”  That was a problem because I’m not ordained, I’m not a licensed local pastor, I am a lay person.

So what did I do?  I blessed the elements and served communion and no one said a thing.    Ever since, I’ve scratched my head and wondered about that day I broke our church’s protocol.  You see I’m normally a rule-follower.  But in this situation I broke our United Methodist rules, and no harm seemed to come of it.

Recently I was talking with some pastors.  They were saying that if we truly want a multiplication movement to break out in our churches of Indiana, we’ll have to loosen the rules, take risks.  I asked what that would look like.  Both answered by telling stories of laity associated with their churches that served communion in public.

One of the pastors has a layman who is an employee at a Walmart.  Every week he serves communion to twenty of his fellow employees in the back room.  The other pastor has a homeless man who started a bible study in a local McDonalds.  Each week he takes a McDonald’s hamburger and breaks it saying, “Take and eat this, Christ’s body broken for you.”  What do you say to such sincere acts, both done with groups of people who would unlikely darken the doors of a church?

So what do we do with that?  To what degree do we push the envelope of our United Methodist polity?  To what degree do we unleash the laity as we send them into the fields that are ripe for harvest?  Not only are people pushing the envelope in the area of the church’s acceptance of gays and lesbians, people are also pushing the envelope in regards to our church’s polity regarding the sacraments.  Where else may the envelope be pushed as we strive to make disciples of Jesus Christ and transform the world?

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development

Fresh-Expressions-LogoJesus reminds us how important each person is when he tells the story of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to search for the one lost sheep.  So how important is that one lost sheep to you and your church?  If your answer is “really important,” then you’ll want to attend the Fresh Expressions “Vision Day” coming Saturday, March 16th, at Columbia City United Methodist Church near Fort Wayne.  For more information and to register click here.  Act now because the early-bird rate ends March 10th!

Fresh Expressions is a model of outreach especially for churches that are seeking to be more missional.  It is one of the most effective ways for a church to reach and disciple persons who have no interest in attending a church.  It is a model that can be initiated by as few as a single person and it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money.  It is a model that all sizes of churches can do, and in all ministry contexts.  All it requires is a bit of understanding and a heart for those outside the church that Jesus referred to as the lost.

Emily Reece, Director of Church Development, and I had the privilege of visiting Wildwood United Methodist Church in Wildwood, Florida.  Even though only 110 people attended the church’s worship services, the church has over a dozen Fresh Expression groups meeting every week.  We visited the church’s Higher Power Hour (yoga) and Bibles and Burritos, which meets at a Moe’s Southwest Grill.  They also have Fresh Expressions in a tattoo parlor, hair salon, and dog park.  They have groups that are for people who like to run, and people who like art.  The church has a culture of going out into the community to build relationships and disciple their friends and neighbors, and Fresh Expressions is how they mainly do it!

The church’s pastor, Michael Beck, will be one of the two people leading the Vision Day training on March 16th, so don’t miss out!   Sign up today.  That little lost sheep is counting on you and your church!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

 

isThe Indiana Conference has a goal that by 2020 100% of our churches and pastors will be engaged in life-giving changes for Jesus Christ in their mission fields.  This is referred to as the Conference’s “wildly important goal” or WIG.

Of course The United Methodist Church’s mission is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”  Our WIG would have us do just that, focusing our efforts, however, especially on those outside our church walls.  Did you know that, according to MissionInsite, six out of every ten Hoosiers are unchurched?  That’s nearly 4 million people!  And as you’re probably aware, a growing percentage of these people have no interest in attending church.  In order to reach them, we’ll have to take the church to them!

Fresh-Expressions-LogoSo how do we do that?  The Methodist and Anglican churches in England give us a model called “Fresh Expressions,” which has been found to be highly effective in reaching and discipling such people.  In fact, the Methodist Church in England is reaching 500,000 persons every week through Fresh Expressions of the church, and 75% of those reached are non-church going folk!  If Fresh Expressions has proven so effective in such a secular culture, just think of the potential here in Indiana.

So the Conference’s Church Development Team has entered to a partnership with Fresh Expressions U.S. and they will be working with our districts in launching Fresh Expressions training opportunities to help churches figure out how they might use this missional outreach model as they pursue the WIG. Here are upcoming training dates. Put them on your calendar and bring a team from your church with you!

Together with God, we’re going to do something incredible in Indiana. Don’t miss out.  It’s going to be awesome!  — Ed Fenstermacher, Assoc. Director of Church Development

FX Training Events in 2019

Fresh Expressions “Vision Day”–March 16, 2019, Columbia City UMC, Northeast District  (See below for registration and details.)

Fresh Expressions “Vision Day”–May 18, 2019, St. Paul UMC, Bloomington, Southeast District

Dinner Church(A popular model of Fresh Expressions)–June 1, 2019, Lakeview Church, Indianapolis

Details on the March 16th Fresh Expressions “Vision Day”

Date:  March 16, 2019

Time:  9:30am-3:30pm (Eastern Time)

Location:  Columbia City UMC, 605 Forest Parkway, Columbia City, IN  46725-1255 (Near Fort Wayne)

Description:  Fresh Expressions is a model of outreach especially for churches that are seeking to be more missional.  It is one of the most effective ways for a church to reach and disciple persons who have no interest in attending a church.  It is a model that can be initiated by as few as a single person and it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money.  It is a model that all sizes of churches can do, and in all ministry contexts.  All it requires is a bit of understanding and a heart for those outside the church that Jesus referred to as the lost.

At the Vision Day participants will discover…

  • How fresh expressions of church are renewing the church around the world
  • What it means for your church to be Mission-Shaped
  • How to intentionally engage with the community beyond your church walls
  • Tools for starting fresh expressions of church in your area

To Register:  Click Here

Sponsor:  the Northeast District and Church Development of the Indiana Conference UMC.   Workshop Leadership:  Provided by Fresh Expressions U.S.

Cost:  (includes lunch) Prior to March 11th $25 for Indiana United Methodist laity & clergy, $40 general public.  After March 10th $30 for Indiana United Methodist laity & clergy, $45 general public.