Outsiders bring fresh perspective and new insights into our world. Inviting someone in to hear and see our lives, to reflect prayerfully and then to speak faithfully, this is a great challenge and opportunity. We risk hearing uncomfortable truths with the hope and expectation that we will be renewed and transformed as a result. The Kingdom of God is found where our internal needs and resources intersect with those of the community around us.
The Missional Church finds its fullest expression at this intersection. The next week will be spent pouring over data, stories and collections of interviews as we prepare a Comprehensive Report. In June The Best Start Project began working with our first congregation. This is a congregation with great strengths and competencies already on board. They have a strong history over their 20 years, and are positioned now to be transformed and grow into the mature Body of Christ that they are called to be.
This work begins with the congregation centering itself in prayer and bible study. On this foundation it builds by bringing together information gathered from Market Research, customized Congregational and Community Surveys, Listening Conversations, Leadership Style Assessments, Ethnographic Interviewing, and Congregational Analysis. The Comprehensive report synthesizes all of this information into a digestible format with the addition of Observations and Opportunities. The congregation then has a path forward and the increased capacity to use these tools for continued renewal and transformation.
I am excited to join the faculty of the Atlanta Divinity Center’s Equipping for Ministry program. My initial courses will be in the areas of Spiritual Development and Education Leader Development. The target audience for these courses includes lay people who are desiring to deepen their ministry, those on the path toward Commissioning, Licensing or Ordination in their denomination, and clergy seeking continuing ed. We are intentionally seeking a diverse student body from across racial/ethnic, age, gender, and theological/denominational spectrums. The courses will be taught locally in North Texas over a Friday evening and Saturday, followed by four weekly conference calls to discuss how the learning is being integrated into life and ministry.
These courses will satisfy educational requirements for non-seminary trained candidates under the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Apprenticeship Path to Ordination and for those seeking to be Commissioned in The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Note: There is no guarantee that an individual’s Regional Commission on Ministry will accept the course; it is incumbent on each student to clarify with his or her Regional COM the acceptability of the course for Standing. All courses are developed and delivered with the intent of preparing candidates for standing in the area of competency set forth. The courses will be taught in a way that makes them accessible and valuable to individuals from other Christian traditions as well. Future courses will expand on these themes by narrowing the focus to particular aspects of the field. All courses utilize the ONLINE Learning Platform of www.TransformingTheChurch.org More information about the curriculum will be found at www.disciplesdivinitycenter.org.
I will have more information on these courses as they develop. Please check back here, or better yet, subscribe to my blog and receive email updates each time content is added or updated.
Question for Reflection: In what areas are you most in need of (most desiring) growth and development for your life and ministry? What is one step can you take toward those goals?