What If?

What if your church worshiped at the local coffee shop?

What if the only church people went to was at the hockey rink?

The reality is that a growing percentage of people will not enter a church building, even if they are personally invited. In the U.S., that percentage has been estimated as high as 40%.

What do we do about this? Is there an answer that will result in a move of God in our neighbourhoods?

On May 7 and 9, over 120 ministry leaders gathered in Moncton and Halifax for Fresh Expression Vision Days. With guest speakers Michael Beck and J.R. Briggs from Fresh Expressions U.S., we had important conversations about how our churches could reach our neighbourhoods in innovative, meaningful ways—and for some of us, it might mean taking church to where people already are.

Fresh Expressions is a movement, originating in the United Kingdom, focused on bringing the Good News to meet people in places where they already are. Rather than going out and attracting people to come to a Sunday worship service in a church building, Fresh Expressions communities meet in public places.

As J.R. Briggs said to our ministry leaders, we will reach more people by meeting people where they’re at.

This was echoed by Michael Beck, who emphasized the importance of building relationships with people in our neighbourhoods, saying, “[we must] be a withness before we can be a witness.”

And the result? A growing network of small, vibrant communities with names like Burritos and Bibles and Paws of Praise. That’s right… God is doing a new thing in Mexican restaurants and dog parks. Those two groups are led by Michael Beck, who is the pastor at Wildwood United Methodist Church in Florida.

What would it look like for your congregation to start a Fresh Expression ministry? Where would you meet? Your local hockey rink? Tim Horton’s?

This is a time when creativity and innovative thinking is needed. Maybe this is the step you need to take in order to join God in changing Atlantic Canada, one neighbourhood at a time.

If this is something you’re interested in, please reach out to us! We would love to have a conversation about how a Fresh Expressions movement could start in our neighbourhood.

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