Grant Supports Laity in Innovative Evangelistic Ministry

Participants at an ALA cohort in 2022

Fresh Expressions of Worship may be familiar to you. It’s a form of church for our changing culture, primarily for those who are not yet part of any church. Usually tied to an existing church, they are held in places relevant to the lives of the people who are a part of them. Places like coffee shops, community centers, breweries, and, yes, even tattoo parlors.

But how do you prepare leaders for this innovative type of ministry? The Foundation for Evangelism saw potential in the Fresh Expressions House of Study at United Theological Seminary as it was developing in 2020. With various levels of training, the Foundation provided a multi-year grant for the certificate level track that encourages laity and pastors to learn and serve alongside one another.

Pam Levesque

Pam Levesque was there at the beginning to help develop the certificate track called “Adventurer’s Leadership Academy” (ALA). She was a lay member of the team that explored Fresh Expressions (FX) throughout the Florida United Methodist Conference to learn successes and failures. The 2022-23 Cohort is the fourth iteration of the ALA that she has worked with, and she says there is a wealth of knowledge and opportunity for participants to learn from each other. She loves working alongside the participants who are “fun, wild, crazy people throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks.” She also sees incredible strength of the laity:

“It’s important for pastors to know… they need strong laity support. Adventurers Leadership Academy helps to put the focus on Jesus and discipling, but discipling in a different way. In Fresh Expressions, we think ‘where would Jesus be discipling?’”

Pam Levesque
Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor was one of the laity participants in the ALA in 2021-22, “My husband and I both attended ALA and it was so profoundly impactful for us.” Jessica and her husband are FX church planters in the Florida Conference. She has since joined the Fresh Expressions Florida staff, and is serving on the ALA team.

Grant Supports Ministry with Youth in Estonia

‘So That the World May Know Jesus’ Fox Global Evangelism Grant

Rev. Robert Tserenkov

I wanted to share a little about the progress on the Foundation for Evangelism grant from [the H. Eddie & Mary Nell Fox Endowment]. We are so blessed to have the grant for development of youth leaders and youth ministry in Estonia. We have had several important events already: we had a youth leaders gathering (25 young people attended) in the Fall and some of our youth leaders are participating in a great youth leaders online course in one theological institution in Estonia. We are glad that this year there are two more congregations that started youth ministry. These are churches in Haapsalu and Kuressaare. In the summer we had a wonderful camp for junior high kids and this camp is growing. In a few days we will be having a winter camp with about 50 young people. Our Estonian youth leader Ele Paju is doing a great job developing new leaders and helping youth ministry along in local congregations. This grant is helping us to do all that.

Thank you so much…

This grant is a great blessing for the next generation of Methodists in Estonia!

Please keep us in your prayers!

Rev. Robert Tserenkov
District Superintendent
The Methodist Church in Estonia

2022 Local Church Grants Inspire Community Outreach

By Barby Bowser

The Foundation for Evangelism held its inaugural Equipping the Local Church Grant cycle in January 2022. Grants were awarded in June to 31 small-medium churches or groups of small congregations working together. Many congregations, like the two that follow, used the grant for community outreach and evangelism.

Grace AME Zion Church in Raleigh, N.C.

Grace AME Zion – Glow Up Youth Mentoring Program and Community Outreach Event

Crystal Cannon, director of Christian education for Grace AME Zion Church in Raleigh, N.C., says the church began the Glow Up Mentoring Program with the desire to help youth in their community. After getting input from those who joined the program, they found that the youth wanted to have ownership in developing the program. Because of that initial
“investment” in building relationships, there has been more trust and openness between mentors and youth. They also hosted an event with service providers from the community.

During that time they received feedback that what they were doing filled a need with a faith component that no one else in the area was providing. Through the “Community Glow Up event,” more youth joined the mentoring program, and new ties to people in the community were formed. Throughout the process, the congregation has been informed and church members have felt ownership in the program.

Trinity UMC in Warner Robins, Ga. received a 2022 Equipping the Local Church Grant. They celebrated “Friends-giving” with people in their community.

Trinity United Methodist Church – New Neighborhood Ministry Opportunities

The Equipping the Local Church Grant allowed Trinity UMC to reach out to their community. In September, they celebrated “Get in the Game Sunday,” with a high energy worship service and message that included the coach of a celebrated local high school football team.

Around Thanksgiving, they opened their doors for “Friendsgiving,” another worship service celebrating friendships, especially the relationship
we are all invited to have with Jesus. Following the service they shared a meal. They also hosted “Christmas on the Lawn,” inviting their community
to celebratory worship and relationship building opportunities. “These special worship celebrations have provided a connectional opportunity for all ages,” shared Angela Gilbert, Director of Connection.

Ministers’ Forum Experience Affirms Foundation’s Essential Work

It was my first time attending a Minister’s Forum hosted by Southern Nazarene University’s Toler Institute. At the 2022 gathering, I greeted folks visiting the Foundation’s booth who were interested in who we are and what we do. We were in the midst of our first Equipping the Local Church grant cycle, and several of our grant recipients were in attendance at the event.

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