We recently asked a Fresh Expressions Pioneer to tell us more about her fresh expressions journey, her context, and what God’s been doing. Here are her answers:
My name is Ann Marie Carley and I serve as Executive Pastor at Trinity Church in Chillicothe Ohio.
How did you hear about Fresh Expressions? What was it about FX that caught your interest?
I first heard about Fresh Expressions as a part of the West Ohio Conference Greenhouse, a leadership development program for church planters. Our director of New Church Development, Brad Aycock, gave me From the Steeple to the Street by Travis Collins. I finally had a resource that proved the way I envisioned ministry moving forward worked!
As a Deacon, my calling is centered around bringing voice to the voiceless both inside the walls and outside the walls of a church. The voice of pioneers from inside the walls and the voice of those who have yet to experience the redemptive power of Jesus outside the walls are many times silenced by the institutional church because to listen requires change. To me the beauty of Fresh Expressions is that they bring the voice of mission back to the institutional church in ways that are less threatening and more empowering.
What sort of training or coaching did you receive?
I attended a Vision Day and brought a core team of church members with me, including the lead pastor. After this Vision Day we assembled a few other key leaders to attend another Vision Day. We then hosted the Round Table Day for our district. I also took an interested leader with me to a Dinner Church Encounter. I participated in the West Ohio Pioneer Learning Community and at the prompting of the Director of New Church Development, my lead pastor also attended over the course of the last 6 months. We were both coached by Matt Lake, who was a perfect match for us!
Tell us about your fresh expression of Church. How did you get started? How has it developed? What are you looking forward to?
The FXoC story of Trinity Church is a bit complex because it is not just about one FXoC. It is about a movement of the Holy Spirit awakening not just my church, but others as well.
- Core Team Trained in FX
- Breakthrough prayer focusing on seeing, listening and embracing the new God has in store
- We defined our goal: To create network of fresh expressions of church to be birthed out of the Movement on Main (Trinity Chillicothe). Each fresh expression will be unique to a specific affinity group found within leaders of the congregation. These fresh expressions of church will not be for church people and will make the average church attender uncomfortable. They will provide space for the unchurched to be with “their people” and share “their story” in ways that help everyone see how God’s reckless story of grace intersects our lives.
- We defined the mission of FXoC: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.
- We defined the vision of FXoC: To be a place for all people to come in contact with God’s Story of reckless grace.
- Sermon Series spotlights to help people understand FXoC
- Love Offering for reaching out into community in new ways
- Defined our tethers
- Serve Day-a community day of service sponsored by local churches that anyone can participate in as we do projects that help us share love
- Pioneers Coached
- Sharing Stories
This resulted in 50 (out of 150 avg. Sunday morning) people attending a 4 hour Fresh Expressions training within the church, including:
- 6 Pioneers additional
- 22 Supporters
- 6 Permission Givers
- 5 People of Peace
- 11 Unknown
We followed up with every person who attended to FX training day. I was responsible for all pioneers and the lead pastor and I divided up the rest.
Since then one person who felt they were a pioneer decided he would be better as a supporter and we have also added 7 additional pioneers.
We have matched supporters with pioneers and continued to communicate progress to the congregation, making sure the permission givers also have the information to share.
We have attempted 13 FXoC in the last 6 months. 2 have failed and the other 11 are in various stages of development.
3 of the pioneers I am coaching are from other churches in the area. Through conversations with them, I have seen how they are already forming FXoC.