Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church

Book - Paperback
Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church
Paperback ISBN: 9781791025793
$19.99 Show Buy

Published September 2022

Cultivate "fresh expressions of church" in your rural congregation with Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church by Tyler Kleeberger and Michael Beck.

Congregations became the hub of rural lifefor a time. The place where people gathered not only on Sundays to hear a sermon but to help each other work the land, break bread, and form deep relationships. The rural church was the place where they found a community that could sustain them through the joys and struggles of life with the land. In many ways, a rural church expressed the essence of church in general: To be the guiding hand into the life of a place.

After disruptions from agriculture, industrialization, and technology, many rural churches (like the people around them) feel forgotten. Has urbanization made life outside the urban sprawl irrelevant? Can rural congregations struggling to survive find hope and new life? If so, can healthy rural churches catalyze a different future for the world?

Tyler Kleebergerand Michael Beck think so. They have served rural congregations for over a decade, Michael in North Central Florida and Tyler in Northwest Ohio. They have discovered the potential and beauty of life and faith in the rural setting. The ageing congregations they serve(in declining rural communities) found ways to cultivate “fresh expressions of church” with people who call rural simply "home". They serve contexts in the often forgotten, wild places of our contemporary world.

This book includes breakthrough stories from the diversity of rural contexts across the US. It lays out a fresh theology for rural life and offers principles for harnessing the potential of what some consider the forgotten spaces.

About the Authors

Michael Adam Beck

Michael Beck is Director of Re-Missioning for Fresh Expressions U.S. and Cultivator of Fresh Expressions for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Michael serves as co-pastor of Wildwood UMC with his wife Jill, where they direct addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, an interracial unity movement and house a faith-based inpatient treatment center. Wildwood is a traditional congregation and a network of 13 fresh expressions that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, salons, running tracks, community centers and burrito joints. Michael earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies at Portland Seminary. He is the author of Deep Roots, Wild Branches and A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions. Jill and Michael currently live in Wildwood. They have a blended family of eight children, four grandchildren and two pugs.

Tyler Kleeberger

Tyler Kleeberger is a church leader, writer, teacher, and community leader in Metamora, Ohio. He studied at Fuller Theological Seminary and leads The Farmhouse through connection, memory (honoring heritage – from barn parties and neighborliness to food emphasis and other more “traditional” components of church. His book (Abingdon, 2022) with Michael Beck is Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church. He publishes essays about building a better world on Medium through his channel, Becoming Human (tylerkleeberger.com).