Missional Church Leadership Formation Network
2022-23: This grant allowed for the beginnings of a new network for leadership formation that has as its focus on being of use to a range of leaders in new missional communities within the ELCA, and perhaps as it grows, other similarly positioned old mainline protestant traditions. This is necessary work because the old mainline protestant traditions are in sharp decline, and their continued investment in traditional forms theological education do not effectively equip leadership for the growing group of church plants experimenting with God’s call to do “a new thing” (Isaiah 43). Our goal is to begin to build the foundations for an accessible, online, module-based leadership formation network that centers practitioners and communities of practice in urban mission sites. Two core objectives are key to taking initial steps towards such a leadership formation network: 1) to build partnerships towards such a network, and 2) experiment with building the sorts of modules that would make up the core of the leadership formation work.
Module leader recruitment efforts will privilege local expertise, and will decenter the typical Ph.D. required in seminary faculties. Further, modules will be built in conversation with practitioners and potential students as well as module leaders. Modules will be built cross-sectionally from the historic divisions and fields of the theological curriculum.
The Strengthening Pastoral Formation for Ministry in the City initiative involves seminaries, theological institutions, and churches and intends to help communities and institutions explore and assess their own urban context and church life; gain clarity about their mission and programmatic offerings; and strengthen and support the design and implementation of plans to address key challenges and opportunities for pastoral formation and flourishing congregations in urban settings.