Fresh Expressions is a canary in the coal mine, alerting congregations to reevaluate what the Church is, where and when it can happen, and who can lead it. Church as we know it is inaccessible to most people. A fundamental premise of the movement is that Church can become accessible again by emerging in every nook and cranny where life already happens. Fresh Expressions is based in simplification, returning to basic scriptural principles, and a recovery of a "priesthood of all believers"--in the three places where people live and relate to others. First Place: The home or primary place of residence. Second Place: The workplace or school place. Third Place: The public places separate from the two usual social environments of home and workplace, which host regular, voluntary, informal, and neutral spaces of communion and play. Examples are environments such as cafes, pubs, theaters, parks, and so on. During a pandemic, our two primary mission spaces were closed off; the second and third places were shut down. We couldn't have Tattoo Parlor Church; the tattoo parlor was closed. We couldn't gather in Moe's Southwest Grill for Burritos and Bibles; they were doing take-out only. The dog park was empty; no Paws of Praise. This limited us to the only spaces we have left: the first place, or the home place. The digital place, or the "space of flows." This forces us into recognizing the digital space as its own kind of third place, a new missional frontier.
About the Author
Michael Adam Beck (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. Rosario Picardo (Author) As Ginghamsburg's Executive Pastor of New Church Development, Rosario (Roz) Picardo partners with Senior Pastor Mike Slaughter and the leadership team to dream and deploy new faith communities within the Ginghamsburg community of churches. He also provides for the oversight and growth of the Dayton campuses, partnering with Pastor Jon Morgan at the Fort McKinley Campus while also currently serving as the campus pastor at The Point Campus in Trotwood. Roz is an Ordained Elder within the United Methodist Church, holding a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry from United Theological Seminary. He leads a consulting group for church planters/pastors called Picardo Coaching LLC and is the author of Embrace: A Church Plant That Broke All the Rules and Get to Work: Recovering a Theology of Bivocational Ministry. Bef