Henrico, Va.— Fresh Expressions US is pleased to announce new and expanded staff roles, reflecting positive signs of increased momentum throughout the country.
Gannon Sims, currently the director of ministry formation, is taking on the additional responsibility of Virginia regional coordinator, serving as the primary advocate for Fresh Expressions among the 1,400 churches of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV). In this role, Sims will help to identify and organize BGAV churches and ministry leaders who have the gift of extending their ministry beyond the church walls into networks and neighborhoods the church isn’t currently reaching.
Fresh Expressions US National Director Chris Backert said, “There would be no national Fresh Expressions initiative in the US without the vision, leadership, and generosity of the BGAV. From day one, BGAV leadership has maintained a commitment to Fresh Expressions US as a national, cross-denominational mission strategy. Gannon has been a key member of our team from the beginning.”
John Upton, executive director of the BGAV, is excited about Sims’ expanded ministry call. “Gannon will build upon the groundwork laid by Travis Collins in this important role–bringing the focus, energy, and organizational acumen that will help spark renewal and revival in the Commonwealth.”
Sims will continue his role as director of ministry formation, providing leadership for new ministries in the area of prayer training and support (the Ananias Project) and The Amore Project—an initiative aimed at helping the whole Church rediscover the family as the first church, a key component to evangelism in a post-Christian context. Amore trains married couples to embrace their marriage as a sign of the gospel and a calling to minister among those who are far from God.
Sims is a graduate of Baylor University and Duke Divinity School. He has served ministry initiatives and on church staffs in Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida. For the past five years, he and his wife, Carey, have led the BGAV collegiate ministry at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.
Fresh Expressions US also welcomes Sarah Keasler as Coordinator of Operations. Keasler is a leader in non-profit management, having developed the operations of a city-wide after-school music program in Miami, FL. Her skills will help Fresh Expressions US further develop the delivery framework for training and events. Keasler is a graduate of the University of Miami. She lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Keas Keasler where she is pursuing her MBA at Friends University.
Michael Beck is serving as South Atlantic Coordinator for our US Team and as North Central District Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Michael serves as senior pastor of Wildwood/Oxford United Methodist Church where he directs addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, and a network of fresh expressions that meet in places like tattoo parlors and burrito joints. He lives in Wildwood, Florida with his wife, Jill, and their blended family of 8 children.
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 given birth to thousands of new communities and 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 BGAV and a growing number of partners committed to a new era of missional ecumenism.
The BGAV is a cooperative missions and ministry organization that consists of over 1,400 autonomous churches in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as churches from Seoul, South Korea; Toronto, Ontario; the District of Columbia; and the states of California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.