If you want to be part of the Fresh Expression movement here in South Georgia, make plans to join us for our Imagine Day April 15.
By Anne Bosarge
Imagine the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church expanding and growing in new ways to meet new people with the love and grace of the Gospel of Christ. Imagine seeing people coming to Christ where they work, in their homes, and in the places where they play. Imagine what it would look like to see new discipling communities popping up regularly across the conference as more and more people feel the call of God to lead others to faith in Him! Can you see it? I believe it’s about to happen in South Georgia in 2023!
There has been a seismic shift in the last few years in how people live, work, play, and grow. Instead of having distinct places for work, personal life, play and spiritual growth, the walls between these spaces are coming down. People are realizing they can bring their whole selves to each of these spaces without having to go to a specific place at a specific time for a specific purpose. This shift has affected how people desire to engage with a church community as well.
Instead of “going to church” like many of us have done all our lives, some people are now looking to engage in “church” right where they are at the very moment they need it. People are working from home and merging their work life and home life. People are worshipping with their families at home and merging their church life and their personal life. People are bringing their work into “third spaces” where they like to relax and spend time. Walls are broken down and people are being invited to bring their whole integrated selves into each of these spaces. If this is where many people are, shouldn’t the church be willing to meet them there?
Jesus did a lot of teaching and preaching outside the walls of the church/synagogue. He taught from boats and around water. He taught on the mountains and the plains. He taught on the roads and around the table. Jesus held “church” anywhere there were people who needed to hear the good news. So, what does that mean for those of us who desire to make disciples for the transformation of the world? What does that look like for churches who are seeking to make disciples the way Jesus made disciples?
It's time for the church to adopt an attitude of “go there” as well as “come here.” It’s important for us to be people who meet others where they are and point them to Jesus, not just pointing them to our churches. We need to show people they matter to God right where they are, and they can worship within their community in Spirit and truth; a specific location isn’t required (John 4:21-24). We need to show them the church is alive and active outside the walls of our buildings, and Jesus is with us at all times, wherever we are.
If you can imagine this Fresh Expression of church and are ready to meet people right where they are, we invite you to join us in a movement to make South Georgia a conference of believers who aren’t only gathered in church buildings but are also scattered around in their communities bringing the Gospel of Jesus to people right where they live, work, and play. If you want to be part of the Fresh Expression movement here in South Georgia, make plans to join us for our Imagine Day coming up on April 15 at Epworth By The Sea. Dr. Michael Beck, Director of Re-Missioning for Fresh Expressions US and Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the UMC, will be here to lead us in a one-day workshop from 9am-3pm. We will learn how to cultivate accessible, transformative, and connectional forms of church in a distinctly Wesleyan movement of Christian communities. Interested in joining this movement in South Georgia? Join us by registering here: https://sgaumc-reg.brtapp.com/ImagineDay.
Anne Bosarge serves as the Director of Leadership Strategies and Local Church Resources. Email her at email@example.com.