When we started Fresh Expressions in North America over a decade ago, people often commented, “this is an Anglican thing.”

After a year or two of mostly Baptist churches and denominations showing interest, some said, “This is for Baptists.” Then it was Presbyterians. Later, it was Methodists.

Over the last 11+ years, there have been portions of the church who thought Fresh Expressions wasn’t for their part of the church. But as we continued to share this vision with each of those detractors, it only helped me realize that Fresh Expressions is really for the whole church.

Ecclesially Flexible

A Fresh Expression of church is a form of church for people who don’t currently go to church. It is a Holy Spirit-led approach to cultivating new, contextually appropriate worshipping communities. At the same time, it honors the congregations and traditions that have gone before. It is a Church movement and missional methodology specifically for our post-modern age, but it is also rooted in the Great Tradition of the one, holy, apostolic, catholic Church of Christ.

In presentations I have given on the nature of Fresh Expressions, one mark that I have held up often is that Fresh Expressions is “flexible ecclesially”. I believe that is mainly because it finds its nature as a descendant of the church of the apostolic era. It’s a model of church that can fit into many of our historic traditions.

Fresh Expressions: An Approach for All Streams of the Church

Over the next few months, we will explore the “ecclesially flexible” aspect of Fresh Expressions of church. We’ll explore how this mission model fits within the different historical streams of the church at large.

You will hear from Fresh Expressions team members and missional leaders, from Wesleyans, Baptists, Charismatics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Anabaptists, and others, who will share how this mission model brings out the best of their history, theology, and charism. Along the way, we will see how Fresh Expressions adds value to local congregations of all shapes and sizes.

We hope this series encourages you to look more closely at the Fresh Expressions approach to mission and discover how it can help you live out your history and calling in your local context and congregation.

Read More

Fresh Expressions in the Wesleyan Tradition by Kris Beckert

Fresh Expressions in the Anglican Stream by Jon Davis

Pentecostalism: From Street to Sanctuary and Back Again by Verlon Fosner

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Chris Backert
About the Author

Chris Backert

Working with church leaders to develop new expressions of Christian community is the passion of Chris’s life. In addition to his role as National Director of Fresh Expressions US, he serves with the Baptist General Association of Virginia the area of church planting and serves as the Director & Organizational Architect for Ecclesia, a national network of missional churches. Previously, he served as pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship, a large university congregation in Blacksburg, Virginia. Chris holds a D.Min. in Missional Church Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with wife Rachel, daughter Elliana and son Jase.