Richmond, Virginia—The US Fresh Expressions team is pleased to announce Asbury Theological Seminary as the latest in a growing number of ministry partners.
Asbury Theological Seminary is an independent seminary with deep roots in the Wesleyan tradition. Founded in 1923, the seminary has three locations in Wilmore, KY, Orlando, FL and Memphis, TN as well as an online learning environment. The seminary has over 1,600 students enrolled and 10,000 living alumni making it one of the most impactful centers of theological education today.
The seminary, which is making an impact with innovative degree programs in leadership, recently called Dr. Winfield Bevins to direct a degree in church planting.
Of the new partnership, Dr. Bevins said: “I am thankful for the Fresh Expression movement and its impact on England and North America. This movement truly exists to create churches “for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church.” Because of its emphasis on the unchurched, Fresh Expressions doesn’t “steal” members from other churches. Instead, it aims to reach the lost with the gospel of Christ, and has proven itself to be effective at doing just that. I am thrilled that Asbury Seminary is partnering with Fresh Expressions to help empower the wider church with innovative ways to engage our post-Christian culture with the timeless and life changing message of Christ.”
The new partnership will enable Dr. Bevins to serve on the US Fresh Expressions Team as a mission strategist and trainer. In addition, his tools on ‘remissioning’ will be used as part of the overall strategy to better prepare established congregations for fruitful ministry.
Dr. Thomas Tumblin, serves as Associate Provost for Global Initiatives and Academic Affairs. His role will help facilitate new academic research about discipleship, church participation and the impact of Fresh Expressions as it takes shape in the US.
“Few movements have been as impactful as Fresh Expressions for established denominations in the last ten years. Their models for engaging contexts missiologically allows pioneers to discern presenting needs and to follow The Spirit’s creativity in helping to meet those needs. Whether in surf clubs, laundromats or abandoned cathedrals, Fresh Expressions catalyzes new worshiping fellowships who make disciples of Jesus Christ. Asbury Seminary is excited to partner with Fresh Expressions in their critical role in Christ’s Church.”
Fresh Expressions is an international movement of missionary disciples cultivating new kinds of church alongside existing congregations to more effectively engage our growing post-Christian society. The movement started in 2004 as an initiative of the Church of England and the British Methodist Church and has resulted in the birth of thousands of new communities bringing renewal to established churches. Fresh Expressions has spread to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany. In 2010, the movement began taking shape in the US through the vision and generosity of the Baptist General Association of Virginia and a growing number of partners committed to a new era of missional ecumenism.
For more information about partnership, contact Dr. Chris Backert, Fresh Expressions US National Director: Chris.Backert@FreshExpressionsUS.org
Gannon is the Director of Ministry Formation for Fresh Expressions US and leads the Fresh Expressions efforts of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. He earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree from Baylor University and the Master of Divinity degree from Duke University. Prior to entering seminary, Gannon worked as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and as a public affairs officer in the anti-human trafficking office at the U.S. State Department. He enjoys forging partnerships between followers of Jesus from different traditions and has served in various roles at several churches, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Anglican. Gannon is married to Carey, who also is a graduate of Duke Divinity School. Together they work to bring fresh expressions of church to the collegiate community at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.