Virginia pastor takes key role on Fresh Expressions staff

Travis Collins, pastor of the influential Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., will coordinate work between Virginia churches and the movement which helps congregations engage postmodern culture.

By Robert Dilday

The pastor of a multi-campus church in metropolitan Richmond announced Feb. 9 he is resigning to join the staff of Fresh Expressions US, a movement which aims to help churches engage postmodern culture by establishing new creative communities of faith.

Travis Collins, pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond since 2002, will become Fresh Expressions’ director of mission advancement and Virginia regional coordinator on March 17. In that role, he will be on the staff of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, which coordinates Fresh Expressions in the United States.

Travis Collins  Photo-1“Fresh Expressions is a tremendous hope to the whole Church both in new and established congregations,” said Chris Backert, national director of Fresh Expressions US. “To add a seasoned pastor with a missions background who’s boldly led congregations into mission is a great gift to our efforts.”

In his new role, Collins will raise awareness about Fresh Expressions of church among new and established churches and associations through the development of regional strategic leadership teams in Virginia and beyond.

He will equip Baptist General Association of Virginia pastors and lay leaders through training and staff development opportunities and will develop additional written materials to advance the mission within these networks and other constituencies.

He also will help develop national strategy for Fresh Expressions US with Backert, director of communications Gannon Sims and other staff from a variety of denominational backgrounds.

“Travis has a heart for helping churches identify new opportunities to be church in their local communities,” said John Upton, executive director of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board. “He loves the local church and has felt a call to both encourage churches and be a resource to them. His arrival brings so many right things together for Virginia Baptists in offering quality services to our churches. The BGAV is uniquely equipping itself to be the resource that churches can turn to for hope, encouragement, mission and quality training.”

Collins is the fourth pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church, which worships in four locations in the Richmond area and is one of the top financial contributors to BGAV causes. He is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and holds master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. His 25 years of ministry include service as a missionary in Nigeria.

Bon Air will hold a commissioning service for Collins on March 2.