When you see how packed the Fresh Expressions US calendar is for the rest of 2018, it is hard to believe that the movement is just over six years old. In less than a decade, the ministry has gone from the dream of a few pioneering leaders to a growing, nation-wide effort providing resources and training for a new generation for pioneering leaders.
The key to this growth is the explosion of the cornerstone one-day training event called “Vision Days.”
Tracing the Rapid Growth of Fresh Expressions US
In the early 2000s, things were looking grim for many established churches in the UK. Insightful leaders recognized that God was working through pioneers who focused on reaching those outside the inherited church. Efforts were made by the Church of England to support and multiply these apostolic entrepreneurs, and Fresh Expressions was born.
Noting the new and exciting way the Holy Spirit seemed to be moving throughout the UK, key leaders from the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) set out to bring this new approach to the US.
Beginning in 2011, two BGAV leaders, Chris Backert and Gannon Sims, hit the road. Filled with a trunk full of books and ideas they learned from the original team in the UK, they developed a one-day event helping leaders understand the state of the American church, sharing real-life stories of fresh expressions of Church spreading the gospel in new ways, now called “Vision Day.”
Since then, scores of churches have hosted Vision Days and dozens of denominational families have sponsored these experiential learning environments. The team of trainers has also grown to keep up with the demand. Thousands have participated in the training.
Vision Days have now grown from a few sparing events in the Mid-Atlantic in 2012 to dozens each year. In 2018, Vision Days will now have taken place in almost every region of the country and have gathered everyone from Catholics to Congregationalists, Methodists to Mennonites, and Pentecostals to Presbyterians.
What People are Saying About Vision Days
Because our goal is to make Vision Days both inspiring and actionable, we always try to collect evaluations from our participants.
Here’s what we’ve heard from participants over the years:
“Vision Day helped me feel less pressure to fill the pews and imagine how to bring the Gospel where it is needed.”
“Vision Day gave us a process to work with the Holy Spirit to establish a fresh expression of Church.”
“Vision Day verifies what they teach with real-life interviews and videos.”
“Vision Day showed me just how easy a fresh expression can be. It doesn’t have to be complicated!”
How to Find a Vision Day Near You
We aren’t trying to brag about how great Vision Days are—in fact, we’re always working to make them more relevant and engaging.
So why are so many people eager to participate in Vision Day? These events are helping ordinary Christians reimagine themselves as missionaries. This idea is core to God’s eternal mission and people are eager to join in!
- Jackson, MS – Aug 4
- Fredericksburg, VA – Aug 11
- Casper, WY – Sept 8
- Fort Worth, TX – Sept 22
- Waco, TX – Oct 8
- Florence, KY – Oct 13
- Indianapolis, Indiana – Oct 20 (registration coming soon)
- Detroit, Michigan (registration coming soon)
- Omaha, Nebraska (registration coming soon)
- Topeka, Kansas (registration coming soon)
Many more will be announced in the months to come!