How does someone get started in launching and growing a fresh expression of Church?
The best way to learn the ins and outs is through participating in a Fresh Expressions Learning Community. These Learning Communities train leaders, who we call ‘pioneers’, to become mission entrepreneurs. Pioneers are people who have the stirrings to go beyond existing church communities to engage in life and ministry with people who are either uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the inherited church.
Watch Director of Training Shannon Kiser Explain Learning Communities.
Fresh Expressions Learning Communities are a six-month, part-time, cohort-style group designed to assist teams who want to launch fresh expressions of church, help pastors and lay-leaders create Fresh Expressions strategies for their communities and neighborhoods, and surround pioneers with a network of fellow sojourners and practitioners of missional ministry. If you’ve attended a Vision Day but may have some questions regarding sustaining your fresh expression, a Learning Community is the next step of training you need to experiment on the missional edge.
One recent Learning Community participant proclaimed, “There were plenty of ‘a-ha’ moments to keep you interested. This training helps you move beyond traditional definitions of church.”
Another participant explained, “This program gets at the essence of what it means to be a ‘follower of the way’, a disciple of Christ.”
What to Expect
Over the course of approximately six months, cohorts meet for two weekend retreats as well as monthly connection and support through coaching. During this time, teams and individuals discern and implement intentional steps toward developing fresh expressions of church appropriate to their unique contexts. Each participant is welcomed into an on-going peer learning network upon completion of the learning community and invited to speak into the movement as they experiment and learn along the way.
Learning Communities are designed to help leaders work through the stages of development towards a maturing fresh expression of church: Listening, Loving and Serving, Building Community, Exploring Discipleship, Forming Church.
Through teaching, conversation, worship, prayer walking, activities, stories/case studies, and coaching sessions, participants are given the foundational principles and the practical tools to foster meaningful expressions of church within a particular mission context.
One church leader mentioned the training is “a great opportunity to learn how to think outside of the box for ways to reach unchurched folks while having a great time.”
Others describe it as “very valuable” and “it will fill in the blanks of questions you might have” concerning mission in God’s kingdom.
As one participant declared, the experience of joining a Learning Community is “worth every penny.”
New cohorts are beginning this fall in several areas, click the location below for details:
- New England: Sept 7-8 (retreat 1) May 3-4 (retreat 2)
- North Carolina: Nov 16-17 (retreat 1) July 26-27 (retreat 2)
- Michigan: Nov 30-Dec 1 (retreat 1) May 3-4 (retreat 2)
- Ohio: Oct 26-Oct 27 (retreat 1) May 17-18 (retreat 2)
Limited scholarships are available for those in need. Take a leap of faith and join us in the fall for one of our upcoming Learning Communities!