Fresh Expressions was created to be a form of church for the changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church. These communities come into being through principles of listening, service, contextual mission, and making disciples and have the potential to become mature expressions of church shaped by the Gospel. There are currently over 300 Fresh Expressions of church in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, which vary from gatherings around a community garden to pub groups with hymn sings and bible study. Every Fresh Expression may model connection and God and one another very differently, but the heart of each group is to reach new people in new ways and in new places.
This degree considers the future of what church looks like, believing that it will be a blended ecology of both traditional churches and Fresh Expressions. Diverse forms of church must exist together to reach a diverse population with the good news of Jesus Christ.
The Fresh Expressions movement was birthed out of the UK in 2004, as a joint initiative of the Church of England and the British Methodist Church. As thousands of new communities formed in the UK alone and established churches began to experience renewal, more denominations began to partner with the work God was doing through these faith communities and the movement spread worldwide into Australia, Canada, South Africa, and beyond. In 2010, the movement began taking shape in the US through the vision and support of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, and a stateside collaboration of ecumenical partners began to form. The Florida UMC has been a national leader in the movement since the beginning.
Students will experience an oxford-style
faculty mentor relationship with Michael Beck
Michael Beck is the Director of Fresh Expressions Florida, Director of Re-Missioning for Fresh Expressions US, and Fresh Expressions Strategist for Path 1. Michael serves as co-pastor of Wildwood and St Marks UMC with his wife Jill, where they direct addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, an anti-racism movement, as well as house a faith-based residential substance abuse program called House of Hope and a shelter for men experiencing homelessness called Open Arms Village. The Beck’s oversee a network of thirteen fresh expressions that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, salons, running tracks, community centers, skating rinks, burrito joints, and digital spaces. Michael earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary Orlando and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies at Portland Seminary with his mentor Leonard Sweet.
He is the author of eight books related to fresh expressions, including Deep Roots, Wild Branches; A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions; Fresh Expressions in a Digital Age; The 21st Century Christian; Painting with Ashes; and coauthor of Contextual Intelligence: Unlocking the Ancient Secret to Mission on the Front Lines with Dr. Sweet. Jill and Michael currently live in Wildwood. They have a blended family of eight children, five grandchildren, and two pugs. Reverendwild1@gmail.com | 352-203-7258
He is the author of the Deep Roots, Wild Branches series (book two in press for fall 2020); as well as A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions; and coauthor of Issachar’s Secret with Dr. Sweet. Jill and Michael currently live in Wildwood. They have a blended family of eight children, four grandchildren, and two pugs. Reverendwild1@gmail.com | 352-203-7258
Online | 36 Credits | Three Years
Oxford Course Experience - 12 credit hours
• Fresh Expressions of Church
• 21st Century Discipleship
• Contextual Intelligence
• The Blended Ecology
Portfolio Experience - 2 credit hours
Portfolio Research Methods
Portfolio Research I
Portfolio Research II
Tuition: $300 per credit hour
Application - Waived
Enrollment - $300
Library - Waived
Graduation - $300
2022 Fee - $300
Design Your Own Concentration
During the Portfolio Experience students identify a specific area of ministry for in-depth research in consultation with Michael.
Publish Your Doctoral Paper
During the Portfolio Experience, students will complete a Doctoral Paper.
Following graduation, students will have the opportunity to publish their peer-reviewed Manuscripts.