Guest Speaker: Rev. Michael Beck

Rev. Dr. Michael Beck is a spiritual guide who helps people heal, love, and unleash imagination to create better lives, organizations, and communities. Michael and his wife, Jill, are co-pastors of Wildwood and St. Marks UMCs in Florida, and a network of 13 fresh expressions led by laity that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, burrito joints, and digital spaces. They direct an inpatient rehab, a shelter for those experiencing homelessness, and an anti-racism movement. Michael also teaches as an adjunct professor at several seminaries. He coaches, trains, and educates leaders internationally across a broad theological spectrum and has consulted with hundreds of churches, districts, denominations, networks, synods, and dioceses.

Beck 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’s the author of nine books and is considered a global thought leader in the missional church movement.

Michael serves as the Director of Fresh Expressions for the Florida UMC, Director of the Fresh Expressions House of Studies at United Theological Seminary, and Director of Fresh Expressions UM. Michael has a passion for helping laity and clergy plant new forms of church. He helps church leaders across the globe follow Jesus in fresh and exciting ways.  

Plenary Session Summary

Fresh Expressions: A Journey of Encountering, Transforming, and Responding With Those Not Connected with Any Church

Fresh Expressions has been a canary in the coal mine alerting the church to a need for a “blended ecology” of church. A blended ecology refers to emerging and traditional forms of church living together in symbiotic relationship, which includes gathered and scattered, attractional and missional, Jerusalem and Antioch, and we can now safely add... analog and digital. Christians can find a fuller life in Jesus by cultivating new Christian communities in their everyday spaces and rhythms. This kind of church can’t rely on a “professional minister” model in which the clergy person serves as the personal spiritual butler of an attractional congregation. It requires missionary pastors who can equip and unleash the whole people of God.  

For most people, the church has become inaccessible. The blended ecology of church allows us to join what God is already up to in our neighborhoods and networks. As we join God’s diversity, reaching new people, younger people, and more diverse people, it impacts inherited congregations in a transformational way. This enables us to explore anti-racism through an outside in approach. We will explore major principles and concepts of the fresh expressions movement, as well as share practical tools, practices, and processes to help local congregations become a new kind of local church in which the world truly is our parish.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058