Andy Kalbfleisch discusses telling the story on screen in Canada.
In spring 2008 I had my first experience of the Fresh Expressions movement when I travelled from Canada to London to meet Ian Mobsby and Tom Gillum. That experience not only changed the way I think about church, it also changed my life.
I still remember with great clarity my times of worship with the Moot and St Jude's communities. It was worship in a way I had never known; so different from the formality, stuffiness and the 'clubishness' that we often call traditional church. Instead I found warm and caring communities trying to reach people in new and different ways – but then I realised that it was exactly what Jesus had done and what he continues to encourage us to do as we journey with him.
When I got back home, my head spinning with enthusiasm, I knew that I would have to make some changes in my life so that my wife Susan and I could take a new direction. We decided to sell the family business to free up our time and thankfully our daughter and son-in-law decided to take it on.
Soon after the transfer was made, both Sue and I headed to the UK to gain more experience and meet new people including Bob Franklyn, and Steve Collins at Grace, Ealing, to discuss the exciting prospects of Fresh Expressions in Canada. On our return we got together with Nick Brotherwood, Team Leader for Fresh Expressions Canada, to discuss hosting a Vision Day in the Diocese of Niagara. Also during this time we started to build a small library relating to fresh expressions, emerging church and a variety of related topics.
Prior to our Vision Day I approached our bishop about doing a short video to help promote the event. He agreed and that was the beginning of another step in the journey – telling people's stories on screen. To date we have completed four videos outlining stories of fresh expressions of church – stories of places that have invited people to meet Jesus where they are, not where we are.
Church on Tap, Skater Church and Cameron House are now featured on a number of websites. We have also created a Canadian video of a Messy Church in our diocese and made a number of films about initiatives that – although not fresh expressions by definition – portray a variety of innovative worship styles and community partnerships that could well become fresh expressions of church over time.
Everything that we video is more or less impromptu. By that, I mean there is no script and no clear thought as to what the end result will be – only a general sense of the story we want to tell. Strange as it may seem, I like it that way. Sue and I turn up with our equipment and start to film and interview; always hoping in the end that we get the footage we need to tell the story! This may sound quite amateurish, and in fact it is, but that is the exciting challenge I look forward to each time we get involved in a new project.
Before all this started I wondered if I would be bored when I finally retired. Now I know that the joys of volunteering to share the Gospel story in new and different ways has become the most rewarding time of my life.