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The Fresh Expressions Podcast

Author: Fresh Expressions US

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Fresh Expressions believes any church can reach people who are not yet part of any church. This podcast unravels the complexities of today's local mission field and introduces resources from pastors, practitioners and historic movements adept at proclaiming the Good News inside and outside the inherited Church.
24 Episodes
Rural Revival Podcast is now available! Listen and subscribe at word “rural” can bring to mind both bucolic and dilapidated images. But the truth is much more complicated! Discover how churches serve as anchors for small-towns, and new metrics for measuring success in this unique environment.In the first episode of the Rural Revival Podcast, you’ll hear from Allen Stanton, an ordained pastor who currently manages a large initiative to expand access to dental care in rural areas and is author of Reclaiming Rural: Building Thriving Rural Congregations.Rural Revival Podcast is a part of the Rural Revival Summit, an initiative of Fresh Expressions happening April 21-22. The summit is a two-day digital event exploring new possibilities for small-town Churches. Learn more at Stanton is an ordained pastor in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves in extension ministry, managing a large initiative to expand access to dental care in rural areas for the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Allen is the author of Reclaiming Rural: Building Thriving Rural Congregations (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021). Allen holds degrees from Wake Forest University and Duke University, and lives with his wife and two daughters in Tennessee.Subscribe & ReviewHelp us get the word out by subscribing and leaving a review for Rural Revival Podcast on your favorite platform.Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsRelated ResourcesRural Revival Summit: A Two-Day Digital Event Exploring New Possibilities for Small-Town Churches – April 21 & 22, 2023Dividing Paradise: Rural Inequality and the Diminishing American Dream by Jennifer ShermanReclaiming Rural: Building Thriving Rural Congregations by Allen Stanton Use RLFANDF30 for 30% off. Join our Facebook group: Rural Revival Podcast CommunityEmail us:
Jorge Acevedo is Pastor of Grace Church in Florida. They’ve seen meaningful growth using Church Growth and multi-site strategies. But now, they’re focusing on developing Fresh Expressions. In this episode you’ll hear about their journey, and why a big church is doing something small.Heather Evans currently serves on staff at Grace Church in Cape Coral, FL as Director of Reach, Send, and Fresh Expressions. In addition to leading local reach ministries for Grace like Adopt-a-School, Shoes of Hope, and a food pantry, Heather oversees several Fresh Expressions of church, one of which is Eat, Pray, Love, a dinner church located in the second largest trailer park in America. Heather is passionate about bringing church to people from all walks of life who are far from God.
Long before it became a buzzword in church leadership, the term “missional” provided a refreshing image of who God is and what it means to follow him. In this wide-ranging yet practical discussion, Michael Frost, co-author of The Shaping of Things to Come, provides a lookback at the last few decades of the missional movement, and addresses how some churches adapted and thrived in our changing context.
Rural Churches in North America are facing an overwhelming variety of difficulties. How might a fresh expressions help? In this episode, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how the fresh expressions approach can help build new faith communities in any context.Tyler Kleeberger is pastor of The Farmhouse in rural Metamora, OH of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. Tyler is a pastor in the United Methodist Church and is also very weird when it comes to the stereotypical pigeon-holes that are associated with those labels. He works with churches, non-profits, and other organizations in reimagining their identity and developing their impact. Tyler's community work can be found at "The Farmhouse" which is an organization that exists to foster health in their place by practicing "Place Economy" and specifically at their community gathering called "Farmhouse Sabbath". Related Resources:Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church
Why is it that some pray to great effect, while others see little, and still others struggle to pray at all? Verlon Fosner and Jon Davis come from vastly different Christian traditions, but share a belief that prayer you can learn to pray. In this episode, you’ll develop a deeper appreciation for how to pray for your church and ministry.Verlon Fosner has led a progressive congregation in Seattle Washington since 1999. In 2008 the congregation transitioned from a traditional proclamation church into a multi-site Dinner Church called Community Dinners. In 2016, Verlon joined the Fresh Expression US leadership team and began coaching declining churches, leading “Dinner Church Encounters” across the country, and hosting “Seattle Immersions” at their home, which enables a few leaders at a time to observe Dinner Churches in action followed by training conversations around a fireplace. Verlon holds a Doctorate of Ministry from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and has written several books. He and his wife Melodee have three adult children, five grandchildren, a collection of grand-foster-kids, and two grand-dogs.The Rev. Jon Davis PhD, an Episcopal priest is a known and recognized leader in the Episcopal Church and beyond. He has expertise in youth ministry, worship and liturgy (PhD dissertation), church growth and planting, missions, conference leadership and more. He is now on staff with Fresh Expressions. He is a sought after, dynamic and engaging speaker, writer, worship leader and ministry trainer. He and his wife Beth live on a little farm in Oviedo, Florida with a couple of horses, a number of cats, chickens, English Bulldogs and other critters.
Modern missional movements have often viewed the historic Christian traditions with suspicion. The old traditions may be beautiful, the thinking goes, but they’re too insular, focused primarily on worship and on the interior life of the church, and not looking outward to evangelism and good works.In Liturgical Mission, Winfield Bevins argues that the church's liturgy and sacramental life are in fact deeply missional. He explores the historic practices of the Christian church, demonstrating how they offer a holistic framework for everyday Christian discipleship and mission in the twenty-first century. The result is a book that not only invites all Christians back to the historic liturgy of the church, but also invites those already in liturgical churches to rediscover the missional life that has too often remained latent in their own traditions.Winfield Bevins is director of church planting at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of several books, including Ever Ancient Ever New and Marks of a Movement.
What if the key to congregational renewal is knowing their “love language?” Michael Beck, in his efforts to help three different congregations experience renewal, learned that different churches are different. In this episode, Dr. Beck will help you identify your church’s “love language” and how that could shape your ministry.Michael Beck is Director of Re-Missioning for Fresh Expressions US. He co-pastors a rural church in Florida and serves in a number of denominational roles for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is the author of multiple books including Deep Roots, Wild Branches and Contextual Intelligence.
J.D. Larson wanted to plant a church. So he raised support, gathered a team and launched. When COVID hit, they struggled to connect and decided to try something different. In this episode you’ll learn why one church planter chose DInner Church to reach his community.J.D. Larson is a Mission Strategist and Coach with Fresh Expressions. He and his wife, ChristianAnn, co-pastor a Dinner Church called North City Church in Minneapolis. North City is currently working to open a second Dinner Church and has helped other churches nearby start their own Dinner Churches. J.D. previously served as an Executive Pastor at Mill City Church and graduated from Bethel Seminary with a M.Div. He and his wife have three kids and a cocker spaniel who all love the outdoors and good food.Related Resources:Dinner Church: Why Some Churches Thrive By Focusing on Food with Verlon Fosner & Isaac Olivarez | Season 1, Episode 
Denominations and church networks often have auspicious beginnings but struggle to maintain their momentum. In this episode, Dr. Christopher Backert discusses why some denominations are thriving and why that matters to all kinds of Christians.Our guest is Dr. Christopher Backert. Dr. Backert is the National Director of Fresh Expressions US. Working with church and denominational leaders to develop new expressions of Christian community is the passion of Chris’s life. 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.Related Resources:How Bad Can it Be? Hope for the Declining North American Church | Season 1, Episode 1
Things are changing faster than ever. Churches, like many organizations, struggle to know what to do. Occasionally, you find a church that seems to be able to take new challenges head on. In this episode, you’ll discover why some churches adapt, and how you can be more adaptive yourself.Tod Bolsinger, MDiv, PhD, the co-owner and principal of AE Sloan Leadership, Inc, an executive coaching and consulting firm that works with church, non-profit, and marketplace leaders in leading change. He is also the Executive Director of the De Pree Center Church Leadership Institute, a Senior Fellow of the De Pree Center for Leadership, Associate Professor of Leadership Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary, was the founder of the Fuller Leadership Platform, and served as a Vice President of Fuller Seminary for six years. Prior to his educational career, he served as a pastor for 27 years.  He is the author of five books, including the Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year in pastoral leadership, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, Leadership for a Time of Pandemic: Practicing Resilience and most recently, Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change.  He can be reached at Related Resources:Tod Bolsinger: Spiritual Capacity for Leading Adaptive Change | Bonus Episode, Season 1
What if the Bible wasn’t just a bunch of interesting stories and good advice, but an account of God’s mission in the world? If God is on a mission, what does that say about the Church? In this episode we’ll get back to the basics, try to understand what God is up to and why Fresh Expressions of Church are a big part of the plan.Graham Cray was the Principal of Ridley Hall theological college in Cambridge before being appointed Bishop of Maidstone in 2001. Graham left this ministry in 2008 when he was appointed Archbishop's Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions. He chaired the working group which produced Mission-shaped Church and has contributed to several other books regarding the future of the Church including Mission-shaped Youth, The Future of the Parish System and Making Sense of Generation Y.
What are the core competencies for a church on mission? What abilities must a leader develop to go from “pastor” to pioneering missionary? This episode will discuss the new muscles that churches and leaders need to develop to thrive in the future.Sue Nilson Kibbey is the Director of the Bishop Bruce Ough Innovation Center at United Theological Seminary whose purpose is to resource leaders with creative, practical and effective tools for ministry in a new era. Sue’s Missional Church Initiative birthed a Breakthrough Prayer journey that has led churches and individuals to look up and out expecting and anticipating a move of God. Shannon Kiser serves the Fresh Expressions Team as Director of Training. She serves as a pastor at Riverside Presbyterian Church in Sterling, Virginia, a blended ecology congregation that worships in two languages.
While each stream of the church has something unique to offer, few have been forged with as much adversity as the Black Church in the U.S. This episode will take time to listen to leaders from the Black Church and learn what they are encountering as they minister in today’s pandemic scarred, Post-Christendom world.Dr. Joy J. Moore An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, Joy Jittaun Moore, Professor of Biblical Preaching, serves as Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Joy is an “Ecclesial Storyteller” seeking to encourage theologically framed, biblically attentive, and socially compelling interpretations of Christian Scripture in order to understand the critical issues influencing community formation in contemporary culture (all that means is she tells community-forming stories from the Bible as a follower of Christ!).
In its early days, many churches met around tables. This episode will introduce you to the rapidly growing Dinner Church movement and inspire you to encounter Jesus at the table.Verlon serves on the Fresh Expressions team as director of the dinner church collective. He and his wife Melodee live in Seattle, WA where they lead community dinners, a network of dinner churches they planted out of an inherited congregation. Isaac Olivarez and his wife Jaime founded Urban Outreach Denver in 2012 and believes God is calling the church back to the table where Jesus spent much of his time.
The pandemic is many things, but most powerfully, it is an “accelerator,” bringing barely known trends into the forefront of culture. This episode will look back at this event, and consider how has affected the shape of the local church.Chris Morton is Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives with Fresh Expressions US. He’s been a youth minister, a tech and branding guru and was on the planting team of Austin Mustard Seed, a church community in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife Laura and their son Micah. Ryan Dunn is an ordained Deacon in the Methodist Church, Minister of online engagement for Rethink Church and a staff member of UM Communications tasked with creating content and building community with those who are not yet a part of the church. Ryan hosts a podcast, Pastoring in the Digital Parish, where guests coach and teach about building community in digital space. 
Often, your most energetic and capable Christians find themselves dedicating their time and effort to maintaining the basic core programs of a church. However, there are capable leaders who have skills and dreams for serving God beyond a typical congregation. This episode will show you how to identify the pioneers in your church and empower them to join God’s mission in the contexts they are called to.Luke Edwards is the Associate Director of church Development for the Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC and a trainer and mission strategist for FXUS. He was the founding pastor of King Street Church, a network of fresh expressions in Boone, NC. Participating in the local, regional, and national levels of the FX movement has given Luke a unique perspective into the future of the mainline church in a post Christian society.
Tod Bolsinger is a recognized leader in the field of adaptive leadership in the church. He is a speaker, executive coach, former pastor, and author who serves as associate professor of leadership formation and senior fellow for the De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Seminary. He is the author of Canoeing the Mountains and Tempered Reslience.Discover how your church can learn adaptive leadership from Tod Bolsinger at
In a day of statistical decline in church participation, what if we imagined marriages as little churches and households as living demonstrations of the way that God’s love is reoriented around Jesus? In Bringing Church Home, you’re invited into a kind of radical kinship rooted in family-community love. In his first book, author Gannon Sims shows how our homes can become hubs for mission pointing toward our true home where we—no matter our previous experiences of family or home or love—can find kinship in God.Learn more about “Bringing Church Home” at
Local congregations, with their own personality, gatherings, programming and leadership are probably what people think of when they hear “church.” But cultural shifts and the pandemic lifestyle changes are making it harder and harder for these traditional congregations to thrive. This episode will provide real life examples of congregations thriving today.Michael Adam Beck is the director of Re-Missioning for FXUS and Cultivator of FX for the Florida Conference of the UMC Michael serves as co-pastor of Wildwood and St. Marks UMC with his wife Jill, where they have a network of 13 FX. Michael holds a DMin in Semiotics and Future Studies from Portland Seminary and is the Director of the FX House of Studies at United Theological Seminary. His book Deep Roots, Wild Branches is a must read for pioneers and practitioners of FX and his latest book Painting with Ashes is a story of redemption and resurrection in the most powerful way possible. Lake is Pastor of First United Methodist Church, a blended ecology of church in  Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and Portland Seminary. 
When you hear the word “church” you are likely imagining something that is very particular to your time and culture. But the church is 2,000 years old, and has many different expressions. This episode will introduce you to a variety of expressions of Church throughout the centuries.Elaine Heath is an ordained in the United Methodist Church, who has served as a professor for eleven years at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and as Dean and Professor of Missional and Pastoral Theology at Duke Divinity School, Duke University. After retiring from Duke she led Neighborhood Seminary, a non-profit which she co-founded to provide theological, practical, and spiritual formation for lay people to know how to help their neighborhoods flourish by participating with what God is doing in their neighborhoods. She currently lives with her spouse at Spring Forest, a multicultural intentional community in rural North Carolina, where along with 7 friends they tend a forest and small farm that support immigrants who experience food insecurity, hold day retreats for small groups and individuals, and host a decentralized mission church, The Church at Spring Forest. She serves as Abbess for their residential community, and Theologian in Residence for their church. 
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