Fresh Expressions Seminary – Session One: A Changed Landscape
By Michael Beck
One key to the flourishing of the church in the twenty-first century is lay empowerment. Jesus designed his church to be a “priesthood of all believers,” but the church today looks more like a clergy caste system in which laypeople are treated as second-class citizens.
If we take the priesthood of all believers seriously, then we must also take seriously the education, equipping, and unleashing of the whole people of God. So then, why is seminary-level education available only for those pursuing formal ordination in denominations?
What if clergy and laity could gather to learn and grow in the classroom together? What if clergy could adapt in their roles to enable a blended ecology—in which inherited and emerging forms of church live together in symbiotic relationship? What if we could provide seminary-level education for the whole people of God… for free?
At Fresh Expressions UM, we want to supplement the amazing work of seminaries across the country with an opportunity for ongoing theological formation. We are offering a free learning space for continued connection among laity and clergy who are committed to reaching new people, in new places, and in new ways.
In our first class, we will explore the massively changed missional reality of the twenty-first century. It feels as if we have prepared for a world that no longer exists. It’s as if we have experienced a change of ecosystems.
In this first session, we will explore some of the larger societal shifts and clarify some important terms we will be using in the class. We will also give a general overview of the Fresh Expressions movement.
After a brief teaching time, we will open the space for a dialogical learning conversation. At registration, participants will receive a basic Fresh Expressions syllabus to guide their formation as scholar-practitioners.
Assemble your team and join us. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn, grow as a disciple of Jesus, and connect with a community of others passionate about a Spirit-led movement of new Christian communities that serve the present age!
Michael Beck is the Director of Fresh Expressions United Methodist (FXUM) with Path 1 at Discipleship Ministries.