Home Equipping Leaders Path 1 / Church Planting The Changing Face of Church Planting in 2024

The Changing Face of Church Planting in 2024

By Paul Nixon

Four friends hanging out stock

In the mid-2020s, two major themes for the new ministries popping up within The United Methodist Church are:

  • The Fresh Expressions (FX) movement
  • The movement of new churches arising in the wake of United Methodist Church disaffiliations.

These twin trajectories might seem unrelated, yet leaders in both groups would be wise to learn from one another. Most of the new churches forming in the wake of disaffiliation have older median ages and traditional habits of church life. These churches will be short-lived unless they learn how to offer ministry with FX style that is contextualized to populations that are not looking for a twentieth-century mainline worship service. On the other hand, the FX communities are blessed and anchored by an inherited church that has stewarded amazing theological and ministry traditions that we ignore at our peril.

I spent the better part of a week recently traveling from group to group on a road trip across West Texas. Each group was launching a new ministry after most of the area United Methodist churches chose to leave the denomination. The groups, averaging twenty-five to thirty people each, are older, but they are spiritually alive and more than capable of learning how to partner with younger and diverse people to create new ministries with God. Just being in the presence of these seasoned saints blessed me. I saw octogenarians on a journey like Abram and Sarai embarked upon four thousand years ago.

The following week, I was blessed to participate in the first-ever national FXUM conference (Fresh Expressions United Methodist) in Charlotte. The energy in the house was electric – with nearly five hundred people who were called to create fresh venues of faith community outside the usual places and beyond the usual suspects. It was different from my West Texas tour, with more younger leaders roaming about, but there are commonalities:

  • People were embarking on a journey into something new, assured of God’s presence, yet unsure of the destination.
  • There was a deep longing for a more inclusive church in every respect.
  • There was a playful sense of freedom from having to walk on eggshells to placate the anxiety latent in most inherited churches – freedom to talk about things that would have previously been tabled.
  • Apostolic leaders from their twenties to their eighties were present!
  • People showed a readiness for deep community engagement and partnership that is more than just recruiting folks to attend worship.

The Path 1 team seeks to serve and resource leaders called to create new things. We are honored to partner with each of these powerful movements in modern Methodism. If you are leading a new ministry in the 2020s – hats off to you. We want to connect you to others whose hearts beat similarly to yours and to lift up the emerging best practices that we see across the land. To learn more about how Path 1 can come alongside you in your 2020s ministry adventure, please reach out to us! Just email me at [email protected] so we can arrange a time to chat. What you are up to is important, and we can’t wait to learn more!

Path 1 is a movement within the United Methodist connection, supporting this multifaceted strategy in fostering new grace-filled communities. in the

Contact Us for Help

View staff by program area to ask for additional assistance.



* indicates required

Please confirm that you want to receive email from us.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please read our Privacy Policy page.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.