MLV5400EN - Trends & Issues in Fresh Expressions in Mission

Course description

The church often gets stuck in planting one type of ecclesial structure that is Sunday and event focused. This course is designed to equip those who have a creative imagination for the missional church, seeking new contextual forms of ministry. Course work and discussions challenge the imagination to design a new fresh expression strategy that engages a particular community context. Using processes of contextual intelligence, students not only learn principles of missional practice, but design a workable entry of the Gospel into their own context. Students are introduced to APEST giftings of the church as a model of leadership for innovative expressions of missional practice.

How this course benefits students

This course guides students in a creative process for reimagining church community and mission in their context. Students are informed from the present contributions of various innovative micro-church methods, including Fresh Expressions (U.S. and U.K.), Underground (Tampa), KC Underground, The Pando Collective, and others. Students compare and contrast emerging church contributions such as missional communities, micro para-ministries, missional businesses, and organic church strategies. A final project helps students practically plan a possible Gospel entry into their own context, as well as survey existing expressions of church in their area.

Why this course is important

Christ followers have the opportunity in today’s culture to use their creativity and imagination to design Gospel communities that are uniquely born to address their context. This course challenges the student to incarnate the Gospel through contextual intelligence (learning one's context), create their own fresh expression of church, meet the culture on the street where it lives. Students are given a greater understanding of ecclesiology beyond traditional brick and mortar methods.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Missional Living
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Prof. Rowland Smith, Instructor in Missional Community

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

This course focuses on John 20:21, being “sent” as Jesus was sent by the Father, Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 9 to "become all things to all men" as well as surveys the giftings of Ephesians 4 (APEST) in establishing a team to contextualize a fresh expression of institutional church.

Missionally driven

Students are sent into a specific context in order to embody the Missio Dei there. They are also learners of their culture, as they respond to their missional context. Students leave with an ability to exegete their context and become culturally adept at living out the Gospel in innovative forms.

Contextually informed

Students are guided to engage in cultural analysis through observation, interview and research. The processes of contextual intelligence are employed to map possible expressions of church that impact the student’s context.

Interculturally focused

Students are guided toward a strategy of being the church that their context needs, sent into culture as opposed to invitational to predesigned church methodologies. Missional distance is employed as a way of learning to cross cultural boundaries.

Practically minded

This course is designed for the student to research and create their own fresh expression that applies to their unique context. Final projects produce a workable plan to launch a micro-expression in context.

Experientially transformed

Students are encouraged to engage their local community context through participation, observation and personal interview, leading to the design of a fresh expression of local church that can be mobilized and implemented. Students are introduced to actual church planters that have launched contextually relevant forms of local church structures.