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Thriving Practices

Churches in Learning Communities

A Thriving Practices cohort connects churches to explore a specific aspect of ministry together. It’s like a small group, but for churches! 

These learning clusters have been found to be one of the most effective and encouraging ways to develop a particular area of church ministry. And they are a great followup to the Thriving Essentials course, allowing your congregation to take a next step alongside other churches who sense a similar calling. There’s no need to go it alone—let’s learn with, and from, each other.

Choose from the topics below and we'll form a cohort of churches interested in that same aspect of ministry. Some cohorts will meet in person, others via Zoom. Although the meeting formats and topics vary, every Thriving Practices cohort benefits your church with:

Monthly Gatherings

With a handful of churches to learn from each other.

Trained Facilitator

To guide the conversation and maximize learning.

Your Own Coach

Providing one-on-one support to your church.

Grants

Up to $1,000 for fees plus travel and project grants.

If your church feels called to grow in ministry and mission, this grant-funded initiative is a tremendous opportunity to breathe new life and new resources into that calling. Your church will gain access to expertise and support along the way, plus experience the joy of linking arms with other churches who are pursuing that same calling.

Let's Connect!

New cohorts start Fall 2022. See the list below, and submit the form to register your church's interest in one or more cohorts. Then we'll connect to provide more details and explore whether it's a good fit for for your congregation.

Starting Winter 2023

Spots are limited. Please submit the interest form as soon as possible.

Facilitated by Safe Church Ministry, Pastor Church Resources, and Office of Social Justice

Restorative Practices logo

Are you and your church ready to become part of a Restorative Congregation Cohort? This cohort will be all about learning and experimenting with circle processes to deepen relationships, create healthier church communities and build capacity to transform conflict into opportunity. One way the restorative framework has been used is through using listening circles to discuss the Human Sexuality Report through the Challenging Conversations Toolkit. Churches that decide to become part of a Restorative Congregation Cohort, will create a Restorative Reference Team of 3-5 individuals, who will receive training before participation in the cohort. LEARN MORE

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.

Facilitated by ThereforeGo Ministries

ThereforeGo Ministries logo

Take a look around your church on a Sunday morning. What’s the average age of the individuals attending worship? If your congregation is like many others, you may be noticing fewer and fewer individuals between the ages of 18-25 years old. You might be asking yourself “why is this the case?” or “what can we do about this?” This cohort will help churches understand the world of “emerging adults” as they age out of church programs and into the world of college and/or career. Sessions will focus on understanding emerging adults, exploring best practices in developing mentoring relationships across generational lines and the role church culture can play in this process.

Church Fee: $1,000 $0 (grant-funded for spring 2023)

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.

Facilitated by World Renew and Diaconal Ministries Canada

Is your congregation interested in helping make your neighborhood and community a great place for ALL to live in, to be proud of and to thrive in, particularly those who have been marginalized? This cohort held in partnership between Diaconal Ministries Canada and World Renew will help your church be inspired and mobilized to love, listen to, and engage with your neighbors, neighborhoods, and local organizations as you seek to cultivate a place of flourishing . Sessions will feature learning, stories, reflection, discussions, and practical assignments to put our learning into action.

Church Fee: $1,000 $0 (grant-funded for spring 2023)

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.

Facilitated by CRC Disability Concerns, RCA, and Hope Haven in Rock Valley, Iowa

People with disabilities are an important part of God’s body of believers, but churches often overlook their gifts and are unaware of the wide variety of visible and invisible barriers that can limit or exclude their participation. People with disabilities tire of self-advocating and asking for what they need. Self-advocating becomes even more exasperating when churches fail to respond, do so grudgingly or half-heartedly, or do so only once and then revert to their old ways. 

This cohort will help congregations learn to model hospitality and equity by learning from people with disabilities and then developing practices that anticipate and reduce barriers. Together churches will learn tools and strategies to increase accessibility, increase belonging, and discover ways to recognize and celebrate the gifts each person brings. With the help of a coach, the guiding team in each congregation will create and implement a plan that creates change that will last. Let’s work together so that everybody belongs and everybody serves.

This cohort will meet in person five times over 13 months in northwest Iowa. Congregations in southwest Minnesota and southeast South Dakota are welcome to join.

Church Fee: $1,000 $0 (grant-funded for spring 2023)

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.

Facilitated by Faith Formation Ministries

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In the Bible, God often uses stories to tell us who he is. We are part of his story and it’s important for us to see our story in his story. In this cohort, we will learn how sharing stories: 

  • Builds relationships between generations. 
  • Helps us see how God is working in the faith of His people.
  • Creates our identity in Christ by knowing who we are and whose we are.   
  • Provides guardrails on how to respond to life’s joys and sadness.

Becoming a faith storytelling congregation involves learning how to shape, share and receive the faith stories of our community. Gather a group of people from your congregation who love stories and join us.

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.

Facilitated by Vibrant Congregations

Hokmah is the Hebrew word for wisdom. The Hokmah Cohort will engage ideas from Susan Beaumont’s book How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You Are Going: Leading in a Liminal Season. Participants will discern a wise path to being vibrant communities of Jesus in the world by engaging a Sabbatical mindset that sets time aside time to discern. We will engage the four areas of the Old Testament Sabbatical year - deepen trust in God, fresh starts for the least and the last, care for Creation, and reading through Scripture.

Church Fee: $1,000 $0 (grant-funded for spring 2023)

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.

Facilitated by Churches Learning Change

Churches Learning Change (CLC) is a process of personal and congregational transformation.  In CLC a coach walks with the pastor and a team of leaders. Together you learn, explore tools and processes that will assist you to become more courageous and more curious. This way of doing things allows you to create and test ideas, try some experiments, and discern the future that God is creating in your immediate context. 

CLC begins with a series of videos, activities, reflections, and experiments that help you explore the power of mental models: the beliefs and assumptions we hold about how the world works and how to take effective action in the world. This introductory material is supplemented with regular coaching. Upon completion of the Primer material, your congregational team will join with a cohort of other learners to continue to engage deep learning and transformation as you employ the work of mental models to seek personal and congregational transformation.

Church Fee:

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.

We're eager to hear your ideas for future cohorts! If you'd like to connect with other churches to explore a particular topic, please let us know. As this project moves forward we'll be gathering your suggestions and connecting like-minded churches to form new cohorts. Please suggest a cohort topic by emailing us at: [email protected]

Cohorts in Progress

These cohorts have already begun. But you can still submit the interest form to be alerted when the next group forms.

Facilitated by the Center for Church Renewal

The purpose of the Church Renewal Lab virtual cohort is to ask and answer: Who are we? Where are we headed? How will we get there? The hoped for outcome is that churches become intentional missional congregations that make more and better disciples. Fall, Winter and Spring learning labs are scheduled over two ministry seasons to help congregations walk through a three-step process of listen, imagine, do. Five renewal tools are examined during the labs: vision, outreach, faith formation, church vitality and implementation.  Each learning lab includes a Thursday and Friday training for pastors/key leaders and a Saturday gathering for congregational renewal teams.

Church Fee: $1,000 $0 (grant-funded for 2022/23)

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.

Facilitated by Indigenous Ministry

Hearts Exchanged is a learning and action journey designed to equip Reformed Christians to engage with Indigenous people as neighbours and fellow image bearers. Participants are transformed in their minds and hearts as they are invited into honest dialogue about the harms of colonialism, and encounter ‘hearts broken’ stories and experiences. In this cohort we will explore and learn from each other how Hearts Exchanged can be used in a congregational setting, resulting in Canadian CRC churches that are communities of reconciliation and belonging. LEARN MORE

Want more info? Indicate your interest in this church cohort and we'll be in touch.