September Vision Days
The ministry landscape is changing on a global scale, and many believers – and churches may not be ready. Instead of trying to get people in the pews on Sunday, what if the Church got creative about venturing out to wherever people gather? One such church in Florida has launched a Burritos and Bible ministry in the corner of a Mexican food restaurant. Others are starting spiritual discussions anywhere from parks to tattoo parlors.
Clergy and laity across the Texas conference will have the opportunity to be re-energized in the Wesleyan tradition of relational evangelism this September. Christ Church UMC in The Woodlands is hosting a Fresh Expressions Vision Day from 9am-3:30pm on September 28 and Longview FUMC is hosting the same type of event on September 30.
Many who have experienced this type one-day interactive workshop are raving fans. Anna Rohde, administrative assistant for the North District says, “It really helps to hear inspiring examples of how we can be more like John Wesley by going where the people are.” After a Fresh Expressions ministry representative held a brief training at the North District training this spring, attendees wanted more. “The Introduction to Fresh Expressions was by far our most popular workshop and greatly helped attendees begin to think about the church in ways other than organized religion on Sunday morning,” notes District Superintendent Rev. Chuck Huffman. Thus the idea was born to offer a full Vision Day in two locations as a catalyst to help participants see creative new mission fields in their own regional contexts.
“This style of interpersonal outreach addresses the people that may never darken the doors of a church,” adds Rev. Morris Matthis, Director of the Center of New Faith Communities for the TAC. “Vision Day will teach us how to do that, and be a unique workshop for pastors, evangelism chairpersons, leaders and laity alike.” Invitations also have been extended to the Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma Conferences.
Chuck is intrigued with the idea of a kayak ministry. “I could see something where folks meet on weekends for a devotional and share time before they head out on the water,” adds Chuck. “I can also think of so many opportunities in our area with regard to select ball teams that travel and play various places year round. We pastors may gripe that this takes people out of traditional church instead of seeing this is a fresh expression opportunity to offer a worship service to hundreds of people gathered for competitive events.” He is encouraged to hear about ministries cropping up in coffee houses to microbreweries.
Dr. Marc Donaldson, associate pastor of Christ Church UMC in The Woodlands finds it interesting that Fresh Expressions is an international movement gaining momentum in the United States. “I’m excited to partner with Fresh Expressions and host this Vision Day,” he says, “because it seems like people are less inclined to come to church and less interested in a traditional church model. God has given a vision to some of our people here at Christ Church for doing church differently to reach unique people groups. Fresh Expressions will help us clarify that vision. If you feel the same way about your mission field you should come to The Woodlands Vision Day at Christ Church on September 28.”
Chuck believes the September Vision days will help identify the ‘pioneers’ that are gifted to lead these types of new faith community efforts. “How exciting that these grassroots efforts can percolate up through the laity,” he adds, “and if our job is to make disciples, this Vision Day will open up interesting and exciting possibilities to do that -- with more impact.”
Save By Registering Now
The early bird price (available before September 15) is $25 for the day and $35 thereafter.
To attend September 28 go to http://freshexpressions.org/event/woodlands-vision-day/
To attend the September 30th event, register online at http://freshexpressionsus.org/event/vision-day-longview.
*Childcare at the Longview event is available with a reservation.
Additional information at http://www.txcumc.org/fresh