This Thriving Congregations Initiative project offers an opportunity to capture and build on the momentum of a strategic planning process to assess the diocese's current reality, clarify its mission, articulate a vision for the immediate future, and develop strategic goals to accomplish that vision. The strategic planning process demonstrates its capacity and readiness for bold thinking and collaboration and ultimately generated the ideas about how to get there. This initiative seeks to cultivate the changed soil of the diocese so that God’s love might grow in its time and place by welcoming up to 36 congregations in three-year peer learning cohorts staggered over five years. Accompanied by trained coaches, congregational leaders are guided in Christian practices of examining, confessing, discerning, saying yes, and celebrating as they build capacities for adaptive leadership through action and reflection. Congregations clarify mission and vision (year one), plan and equip (year two), and launch and assess (year three). The diocese's hope is that leaders will cultivate relationships marked by vulnerability, honesty, accountability, and partnership as they build skills and capacities to adapt to changing contexts. Congregations learn together about themselves, their neighborhoods, and God’s will for them in this time and place as they experiment with innovative ways to fulfill the diocesan mission to “engage in a changing world with an enduring faith in Jesus Christ so that more people may know God’s love.” Along the way, the diocese strives to strengthen its culture of learning, creativity, and partnership and establish a new Diocesan School for Christian Faith and Leadership to support thriving congregations for years to come.
Tending Our Soil