Additional session descriptions will be added periodically.
OPENING SERMON: STEEPLE TO STREET - EVELYN SEKAJIPO
In history, the church has played a prominent role in transforming lives, systems, and culture. As some of us struggle to upkeep the legacy of social responsibility, the security of our church communities, our electronic devices, and the pulpit pose as a barrier for us to GO! The streets scream for Immanuel, and our cities yearn for Yahweh. Do we hear the sounds? Are our hearts still moved? Let's explore how the church is STILL crucial, relevant and potent NOW more than ever.
KEYNOTE 1: Atlas to Exploration: Adaptive Leadership for a New Ministry Frontier - Tod Bolsinger
We are at a pivotal time in our history. The world before us, the one we are called to reach, is different than the world behind us. It's different from any time in our nation's history. It's not just a generational shift, it's a foundational shift. And it affects the way we lead now...and into the future. But...this is good news. This is the leadership moment of the church today. There is no map in front of us, no quick fix or easy answers. This is a divine moment. This is an opportunity to express even more clearly, and unclouded by past perceptions, what it means to follow and serve the God who is King of the entire world. Join us at the intersection of unchanging theology and rapidly changing culture as Tod Bolsinger brings decades of pastoral experience and expertise in guiding churches, organizations and seminaries in re-imagining local church leadership in the uncharted territory of a post-Christian world.
KEYNOTE 2: Monologue to Mobilize: Leadership that Releases a New Jesus Movement - ALAN HIRSCH
Alan will take us on a really deep dive into the fivefold (APEST) typology of ministry as articulated in Ephesians 4:1-16, but hopes to takes us to a depth and scope that few have ventured before. By laying out the most comprehensive model of APEST to date Hirsch will change the scorecard on how we understand calling, church, leadership, and organization.
KEYNOTE 3: Barriers to Bridges: Connecting Relationally with a Changing Culture - Deb Hirsch
This keynote will look at the dynamics of mission on the margins and why it’s important to the integrity, renewal, and growth of the church. For a variety of reasons, throughout history, many expressions of the Church have conceived differences between various groups and cultures as “barriers" to the gospel and mission. Fresh expressions of the church, on the other hand, prefer to think of these differences more as “bridges,” that provide incarnational and contextual on-ramps for the gospel and mission. Such a shift in perspective requires, first, a fundamental reorientation of many of our ingrained assumptions about the relationship between the gospel and culture, and second, a renewed vision of leadership (and how to cultivate it) along these lines.
KEYNOTE 4: Rowing to Sailing: Catching the Wind of the Spirit into an Uncharted Mission - IOSMAR ALVAREZ
Across North America, the Holy Spirit is calling women and men to get out of their comfort zone and join in God’s mission in a post-Christian world. Using practical examples from his personal experience, Iosmar will be teaching on how to lean into the power and work of the Holy Spirit for the mission in the 21st century.
Closing Sermon: Temporary to Eternal: Preparing the Church for the Ultimate Paradigm Shift - Phil Potter
The conference will have considered in different contexts the importance and meaning of paradigm shift in moving from the steeple to the street, but the greatest shift of all is to see all that we’re doing here and now in the light of eternity. How much would we wrestle with and resist the changes that we need to make in our churches if we could only see them from heaven’s perspective? We will end the conference by stepping back from, or rather above, everything we have talked about, and reflecting on the challenges we face in the context of heaven.
From Strategic Planning to Discernment in Context - Graham Cray & Kristen Beckert
Strategic planning is a helpful tool in a stable predictable world. It relies on previous experience as a guide to shaping the future. But we live in unpredictable times of discontinuous change, where the past is no longer an automatically reliable guide for the future. Fresh expressions are contextual forms of church and cannot safely be created by the planned repetition of previously applied models. The only safe route into the future comes by paying careful attention to the actions and leading of the Missionary Spirit in each context. Discernment is the primary capacity required by anyone planting the new in a discontinuous world.
From Going Fast to Going Slow: Approaches to Creating Culture Change - Tod Bolsinger & David Fitch
Culture change, whether in an organization or a society, is a complex task that requires leaders to find a way to offer an outsider's perspective while being firmly part of the culture. David Brooks calls this operating at the "edge of the inside." This forum will offer counsel on how to be that kind of "edgy insider" and what particular skills are required of leaders who are called to this most challenging task.
From Orchestrating to Improvising: A New Kind of Leadership- Phil Potter & J.R. Briggs
Many of us as leaders have been trained to conduct orchestras. Orchestras are tightly structured and led, where every person plays exactly what they have been asked to play in a way that is interpreted by the conductor. Jazz bands on the other hand are made up of a group of people with a certain gift mix, different talents and a degree of trust who learn to play off the same page, but with the confidence to improvise and see where the music takes them. We will explore how fresh expressions of church are learning to improvise and innovate in exciting ways that are releasing new imagination into the Church.
From Training Leaders Within the Church to Training Leaders Going From the Church - Alan Hirsch, Matt Lake & Evelyn Sekajipo
For decades, church leaders have been formed to equip people within their congregations primarily for ministry and service "within" the congregation itself. Pastors and church staff are constantly on the look-out for volunteers to staff children's programs, welcome teams, choirs, worship bands, and more. In many ways, a great deal of a church leader’s time is spent filling these slots and organizing training for them. Yet, for a church to thrive in a new era of mission, a new capacity to train leaders to be sent FROM the congregation will need to exist alongside training leaders for IN the congregation. This does not mean that these church members or their dedicated time will leave the local church. Instead, it means they will become a local missionary, living out the calling of their local church closer to the places they live and work. So, what does it look like for a local congregation to practically re-activate the giftedness of the body of Christ and to develop that giftedness? How does a local congregation equip its people to live as the church on mission outside of its gathered self? These questions and more will be explored in this paradigm shift.
From ETHEREAL to Empowered: Signs and Wonders in a New Mission Era - Mia Chang & Gannon Sims
Jesus promises power from the Holy Spirit to the young church in Acts 1:8. By this power, the church shares the mission of God to bring transformations of healing and hope. This power of the Holy Spirit continues to lead the way in the mission of God for the 21st century. Empowered by the Spirit, the Church does not merely talk about the gospel, but demonstrates the power of the gospel; it is the witness to a broken and hurting world. Supernatural encounters, new visions, spiritual gifts and evidence of the Spirit’s presence and power lead the way for a new, or not so new, and exhilarating era of mission.
Discernment: What Do I Do Next in My Fresh Expression?- Graham Cray
Discernment - listening to the Spirit, is not merely the way a fresh expression is birthed. It is the way it grows to maturity, changes to remain engaged with its context and stays missional. It is the way indigenous leadership is discerned, and growth in discipleship is facilitated, without pressurizing everyone to move at the same speed. Keeping in step with the Spirit requires the creation of a culture of attentive listening and a close attention to the Spirit’s timing as well as the Spirit’s leading.
Building a Healthy Team - J.R. Briggs
Working in teams can be incredibly fulfilling - it’s exciting to be on mission together with others! But, there are times when working with others can be equally frustrating, exhausting and overwhelming. Leading teams can oftentimes feel like herding cats. As leaders, we might ask ourselves, "What is the proper mindset we should have in leading teams?" and “How do I do this? What are the practical ways to cultivate health for our pioneering teams to flourish?” We’ll explore both the mindset and the ridiculously practical next steps leaders can implement into healthy team dynamics.
Cultivating A Multi-Cultural Fresh Expression - Evelyn Sekajipo
The church is at its best when operating with a diverse group of people, voices, and ideas rather than homogeneity. This operation surpasses diversity aesthetically, cultivating a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural community of culture -shaping missionaries. Indeed, it requires the willingness to embrace conflict, error, long-suffering, and sacrifice. This exercise sometimes means the adjustment of old patterns to provide a contextualized atmosphere that is culturally sensitive. In this workshop, we will discuss the implications of returning to the drawing board to re-assess our leadership models, our way of thinking, and way of relating to monoculturalism. Cultivating a multi-cultural fresh expression is no easy feat, but it is worth being suffered through and pursued for the sake of the gospel.
Mission From Home: Developing Fresh Expression Through Family - Winfield Bevins/Carey Sims/Gannon Sims
One of the most powerful witnesses that we can offer the world is by living out our faith together as a family. Not only are we called to be missional as individuals, but also as families. God never intended for us to do mission alone. Every family can be missional together. This workshop will explore what it means to be a missional family and will offer some ideas and suggestions to help you live out God’s mission in your family.
When 1 + 1 = More Than Two: Discovering The Healthy Dynamics Between a Lead Pastor and a Fresh Expressions Pioneer - Matt Lake & Mitch Marcello
When it comes to launching Fresh Expressions of faith, teamwork is vital. While one person can be a significant catalyst to start a Fresh Expression of faith, it takes partnership to create a lasting legacy of Fresh Expressions of faith. In this session come learn about the firsthand lessons learned in the relationship between the pastor of an established church and a pioneering Fresh Expressions leader. This session will offer practical applications on why pioneers need the support of the established church and the established church needs the energy of Fresh Expressions of ministry. Come explore the challenges, the paradigm, and ultimately the productive synergy for God’s Kingdom when lead pastors and pioneering leaders work together instead of alone.
From Steeple to Street: The Basics of a Fresh ExpressioN - Travis collins & PATTY GROOT
Do you feel like you have walked into the middle of a conversation about fresh expressions? Still trying to get your head around what this is all about? Wondering what this might mean for you and/or your congregation? This workshop will explore the basic history, principles, and direction of the Fresh Expressions movement.
Practices that Form a People for Mission - David Fitch
God is present in the world (omnipresent) in and through Christ. And yet via a people (His church) He makes his presence visible (manifest presence) amidst the world in and through His Body to call the world to Himself. Jesus has given His people disciplines to discern His presence. Here in the practices of eating around a table, reconciling in conflict, being with the hurting, being with children, Jesus promises to be concretely present, working in His power, making the Kingdom of God real. This workshop describes how these practices work and how we lead the church to be present in all the places of life through these practices and why this is central to fulfilling God’s Mission.
Cultivating Mission Steeped in Prayer - MIa chang & verlon FOsner
Cultivating a mission begins in prayer. In prayer, the living Spirit communes with us, mold us as the Spirit’s beloved children, and calls us as partners in the work for the Kingdom of God. A vibrant and consistent prayer life filled with the power of the Holy Spirit is the impetus and sustaining source for the journey of God’s mission. Leaders of fresh expressions need a prayer strategy that pairs well with their evangelism practices. In this session Verlon will discuss the kinds of prayers that are reserved for those groups who serve on the front lines of the gospel. Mia will delve into developing a faith community that considers prayer as priority, positioning prayer at the heart of its life together, as vital to mission
Telling the Jesus story as good news - Kristen Beckert & Michael Beck
Admit it-- evangelism is extremely difficult in the chapter of history in which we find ourselves. The means and methods of communicating the gospel that once "worked" in a Christianized society are foreign languages and concepts to most secular people. But the need remains: how do we share the good news with people who have little interest in adopting a new belief system and or turned off by religion? Perhaps it means turning back the pages to the Apostolic Era and an approach to evangelism that centered around the simple retelling of the Jesus stories as a means of inspiring faith.
Identifying & Releasing Pioneers in the Local Church - Heather evans & Mike Snedeker
You have a passion for planting Fresh Expression Churches and a vision for the disciples that could be developed through this ministry, but how do you identify, equip and release those who God has gifted for this ministry? Heather and Mike both serve as pastors in churches where multiple Fresh Expression churches have been started. They will share both theological and practical thoughts on how to identify and release individuals with a pioneering heart who make Fresh Expression churches a reality
What's In Your DNA: Intentionality in What You're Forming - CRAIG WILLIAMS & EDWIN ANDRADE
In this workshop, we will be diving in to the questions you’re asking and answering in shaping your fresh expression. The questions we ask will determine our answers and lead to behaviors, thus shaping the character of our new community for its life. Some of what we do will be intended. Much of what we become will be unintended. After this workshop you will come away with how to ask powerful questions that will help shape the character of your new community to be more congruent with what God intends.
CREATING A SAFE SPACE FOR Those who are far from church - DEB HIRSCH & LUKE EDWARDS
How do you create an environment in your fresh expressions that isn't intimidating to folks who are not Christian, yet keep it from being merely a social club where any belief goes? In this session we will explore the basic building blocks of a fresh expression that welcomes people with various beliefs and backgrounds into a conversation where the Gospel can be encountered.
FRIDAY EVENING EVENT: VOICES FROM THE STREET
Taking the church into the world can be exhilarating, scary, and downright messy. But in stepping out, wonderful and unexpected things can happen. Join us for an evening of music, stories from the mission edges, and thoughts on how we might step into relationships and mission in all the beauty and complexity of the street.
From Program to Presence - David Fitch & J.R. Briggs
All churches require organization. The question is will we organize and lead for efficiency and control or for opening space for God to work among us and out into all the places we live and inhabit for Christ in our daily lives. This forum will explore how the church inhabits three circles of life: gathered space, neighborhood and among the lost. Together these three spaces make a whole of life. We will explore the mindset and the temptation to turn God’s working into programs located at the church versus leading to empower God’s people to live, minister, and proclaim in all three circles of a Christian’s life.
From Lead Pastor to Lead Sender - Travis Collins, Iosmar Alvarez & Phil Potter
This forum is geared toward servant leaders of existing congregations. The presentations will deal honestly with both the opportunities and challenges of helping a church send its “apostles” to people unlikely to walk through the doors of our buildings. (After all, “mission” comes from the Latin word meaning, “to send.) Following words from each presenter, there will be a Q & A session.
From Training Leaders for the Past to Training Leaders for the Future - Graham Cray & Tod Bolsinger
People and institutions involved in education for Christian leadership face the challenge of combining the best of established practice with the demands of a changed and changing context. Future leaders need a deep immersion in the faith if they are to apply it afresh a whole variety of changing contexts, rather than reproduce previous practice. Mission is the integrating discipline. But students need to be actively involved in mission while they train, so that they can bring the questions of the mission field into the classroom and keep their learning rooted. Training must be formation, more than information.
From Equipping the Organized to Organizing the Equipped - Alan Hirsch, Evelyn Sekajipo & Matt Lake
Congregations in the Western world are largely organized to focus the locus of their time and energy on the programmed structures of the church community. Whether they be called committees, or council, or sessions or vestry's, most leaders find themselves constantly focusing on the internal organizational pressures of local church life. However, as local congregations interact more regularly with a post-Christian setting, in order to remain vibrant they will increasingly find the need to extend the ministry of the church further out into the community. Yet, while well intentioned, without a paradigm shift in how we organize local congregations, all of this effort will never fully achieve its desired impact. What then does it look like for a congregation entering a new era of mission to organize itself to be a community on mission or a hub of local missionaries? How do church leaders transition long-standing, program-driven congregations to this new paradigm while preserving the important elements of their past and present? These questions and more will be explored in this paradigm shift.
From Script to Story: Evangelism that Meets People Where They Are - Deb Hirsch, Michael Beck & Verlon Fosner
On the new missional frontier, the Spirit is leading the church into a more relational approach of evangelism. The days of passing out tracts are over. Instead, we need to learn how to empathetically listen and share our lives, intertwined in the story of the other. How do we leave behind our own baggage to enter the world of people where they are, and share in the love of God together? How do we trust that the Spirit will bring clarity to the gospel, within a timeline and method that we don't control? This forum will dive into these questions and more.
Tempered: How Leaders Develop Resilience Amidst the Crucible of Change - Tod Bolsinger
Exponential rates of change demand the development and flourishing of adaptive leaders—whether those who start out eager and as-yet-untested, those emerging from contexts of radical redefinition, or those pushing the reset button in the wake of frustration or failure. Sustainability across all these landscapes requires the tensile strength of resilience. How do we get it? How do we keep it? How do we teach it? Bringing together his academic research and leadership in the practical theology of spiritual formation and adaptive leadership, his experience as a consultant and executive coach, and the insights from Canoeing the Mountain, Tod Bolsinger will help us understand the formational practices to help you become--and your team become--the kind of leaders who can survive and thrive amidst the challenges of leading change.
Forming Disciples in Fresh Expressions Contexts - J.R. Briggs
Many fresh expressions of church get off to a great start: listening to a particular context, loving and serving the context we are in, building trusting relationships with those outside the church. And then…. it stalls. How can we move a fresh expression forward into actually introducing them to Jesus and moving toward a community of discipleship? This workshop will be deeply practical with ideas, practices and stories to help you move your fresh expression into the direction of discipling people from scratch.
The Holy Spirit & the Mission of God: Getting Practical - Graham Cray
Getting practical is a matter of faith. Do we actually believe that the Holy Spirit is the active lead missionary in our context, and that the Holy Spirit speaks? If so we can participate locally in the Mission of God. We listen to the Spirit directly and we listen to the Spirit through the local context and the existing church. The spiritual skill required is discernment, which has a recipe – a number of ingredients appropriately mixed together. Want the recipe? Come to the workshop.
Asset-Based Community Development & Cultivation Of Fresh Expressions - EVELYN sekajipo
What an extraordinary thing to be invited by God to GO, make disciples, and build his Kingdom on the most challenging soils. Though the communities we are called to serve have several needs, if we take a closer look we will find that it is also rich in strength. In this workshop, we will unpack the importance of intentional collaborative efforts among the church and local communities that usher empowerment. We will discuss the effectiveness of empowerment and how it is a form of protest against evil and advocacy for holistic transformation. Lastly, Evelyn will share concrete, historical examples of the theologizing of asset-based community development.
Forming Mission Around the Table - Verlon Fosner & Isaac Olivarez
The Dinner Church is not a model - it is a theology. It doesn’t take much study in the New Testament and following church history to see that Jesus embedded the gospel into the dinner table sociology quite intentionally. This session will look at the theological underpinnings of the dinner church movement, and give some practical onramps for any group that is willing to do a church gathering for a different kind of people, who live nearby, in a way that fits their sociology.
Proclaiming the Gospel from Steeple to Street - David Fitch
The gospel is more than a tract, or a message that demands a one time decision. Although it is this, it is more than this. It is an announcement of a new world being born in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is the proclamation that Jesus is Lord, His Kingdom has begun, He is at work reconciling, renewing people, relationships and social situations for His purposes. The question is we will submit to Him, His Lordship and work in and among us, wherever He is found. This workshop explores the NT understanding of the gospel, what it means to proclaim gospel, and how this shapes how we do evangelism in our everyday lives and can lead others to do the same.
Skills for Leading a Gathered & Scattered Church - Travis Collins & Matt Lake
The word AND is a wonderful descriptor regarding the Fresh Expressions movement. This movement is about strengthening existing congregations AND beginning contextualized forms of church for people highly unlikely to walk through our church doors. Do you have a heart and a vision for helping your congregation look outward? Do you want to do more than keep the ecclesiastical machinery running? In this workshop we will talk about the capacities pastors need in order to carry out the vision of a Multi-Expression (Mixed Economy) church.
GOING FROM 2 TO 12: Starting Multiple Fresh Expressions WITHOUT ADDITIONAL PASTORAL STAFF - Michael Beck
On the new missional frontier, every church will need to become a “multi-site”, no matter how big or small. This workshop will share stories from real congregations in the trenches of decline catalyzing renewal through launching fresh expressions. Practical tools will be shared on how to harness the power of the priesthood of believers sitting in our pews.
Engaging the Latino Community After Christendom - Iosmar Alvarez & Eliseo Mejia-Leiva
Across North America there is an explosion of growth in the Latino community. Hispanic-Latino churches are being planted with some degree of success nationwide. However, there is a growing degree of dissatisfaction among those called to serve the Hispanic Latino community due to the slow growth of the Hispanic church plants after launching, as well as the apparent inability to sustain their own pastor and ministries. In addition, it’s a well proven fact that after the traditional Hispanic plant starts, a myriad of problems begins to surface in relation to immigration, instability, culture, and finances. Thereby, this workshop will help many to understand the application of Fresh Expression in the context of 1st,2nd, and 3rd generation Latinos in US, as one of the most cost-effective ways to launching a disciple-making movement within the Hispanic Latino community. Come and learn from two of the nation’s leading voices on Hispanic and intercultural fresh expressions of church. Find out what God is doing in the Latino community and how you can you can engage in this vital conversation.
Cultivating Rural Fresh Expressions - Edwin Lacey
This workshop will explore unique opportunities for new and innovative ways to worship and be community in a rural setting. It will dig into such topics as: Being Good Neighbors, Crucial Authenticity, Cultural Relevancy, Blending Innovation with Tradition, Roots Religion, Celebrating in God’s Creation and the Joy of Simplicity. While many exciting aspects of the creative worshiping communities encouraged by Fresh Expressions are not contextually dependent and are applicable to urban and rural settings, there are some fruits that are especially suited to the rich soil of life in the country. Cultivating Rural Fresh Expressions will plant the seeds of Christian Community formation in ways that may surprise and hopefully inspire all who attend.
How Fitness and Recreation can become new forms of church - Brad Bloom & Carey Sims
Group fitness gyms like Cross Fit and Orange Theory are growing in number all over the world - especially across North America. The same is true with Recreational Meet-ups. Addressing the epidemic of loneliness and poor eating/exercise habits has become a priority in the United States and people are motivated, now more than ever, to gather based on these shared interests. These fitness and recreation communities are meeting the human need for community, revealing the powerful potential and urgent need for Christians to connect with their community through fitness. And they are becoming church for a large segment of the population. Come explore how gathering people around fitness and recreation can become a fresh expression.
MISSION AMONG THE HARD TO REACH - ALAN & DEB HIRSCH
Mission among the heard to reach is an idea that many of us will immediately resonate with, but how do you do it? What sort of postures, assumptions, and convictions do you need to have in order to take the risks involved with stepping out of your comfort zone and crossing difficult barriers and boundaries? How would you even develop those as a disciple or as a community of disciples? As a follow up to Plenary 3, this workshop is meant to explore these sorts of practical questions. It will feature several stories of finding the face of God within the weird and wonderful and how they can radically alter us!