The Fresh Expressions US Team has a new partnership: the Susquehanna Conference of First United Methodist Church. We celebrate yet another step forward in a growing, collaborative, cross-denominational movement.
Specifically, the Acts Network is a new initiative of First Church United Methodist in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, under the leadership of Mitch Marcello. With the guidance of the Susquehanna Conference, this network exists to intentionally create spiritual communities outside of their existing church walls. By identifying and training leaders in their congregation who have apostolic gifts, they are empowering their leaders to think creatively for the Kingdom.
The Neighborhood Table
One group within the network meets every other Tuesday in a home. This group has been meeting for the past ten months with the purpose of getting to know neighbors who may not be comfortable walking into a church building. This past week a Muslim couple joined the group for dinner. For some of the congregants, it was their first interaction over a shared meal with a Muslim. As the night progressed, the topics of power and humility were discussed and how the Gospel beautifully merges these two seemingly opposing paradigms in the person of Jesus Christ. Asa, the Muslim man, was so drawn to the meeting that he called the group leader the following Tuesday asking, “Is tonight the night we eat together?”
Another community group that has formed is called, “FitFaith.” Over the past eight months this group has been meeting in a gym, working out together, praying with each other and serving others. Two weeks after the group began, Bill, one of the newer leaders, led the entire class. Everything from the workout to the devotional and prayer. What is even more encouraging is Bill is not connected with a formal ‘church’ and considers FitFaith his church.
Acts-ing Like the Early Church
The Acts Network is experimenting with many creative ideas, even a hiking group! It goes without saying that it is not easy to open our lives to others, especially strangers. However, just like the early church in the book of Acts, the congregants of First United Methodist Williamsport are learning how to step out of their comfort zones and invite people into their lives in order to share the Gospel in creative ways. Fresh Expressions is proud of our partnership with the Susquehanna Conference and the amazing Kingdom work that is taking place through the Acts Network.