Becoming Church: A Trail Guide for Starting Fresh Expressions


As the religious landscape of North America changes, churches find themselves in a rugged wilderness on the outskirts of culture. At the same time, a movement is emerging from the missional edges of our oldest denominations and is working its way through the church as a whole. Thousands of fresh expressions of church are gathering with their post-Christian neighbors, embarking on a journey to follow Jesus together. In these pages you will discover a way through the wilderness, a lightly worn path walked by everyday people who are building communities and becoming church.

"You know those National Park Service maps? The ones that include photos, history, best hiking routes rated according to difficulty, services, average weather conditions, info about flora and fauna, and more? That's what Becoming Church is like. Luke Edwards doesn't just draw us a map for starting fresh expressions, he fills his trail guide with snapshots, interesting facts, degrees of difficulty, and lots of intriguing side-tracks along the way. This is a highly readable, ready-to-implement guide, written by someone who has helped launch hundreds of fresh expressions.
-Michael Frost, Morling College, Sydney

"This book should come with the following warning: 'Reading this book and acting on what you have read will prove hazardous to your institutional, culturally domesticated way of being church.' Read it anyway. It will quicken your yearning to build community with unlikely people with 'Jesus at the center.' You just might become church.
-Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, Resident Bishop of the Ohio West Conference of The United Methodist Church

Visit to order your copy today.
*If you are a member of the Western NC Conference - laity or clergy -  enter the code "WNCUMC" at checkout for a great discount!

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.