Many churches have become so divided, disembodied, and displaced from their context that it can be difficult to be a tangible sign of hope in the everyday life of their neighborhoods. A hopeful counter to this reality is a growing movement of congregations committed to joining God’s holistic mission and learning how to become a fabric of care in the everyday life of their neighborhoods. The mission of the Parish Collective is to connect people to be the church in the neighborhood. We believe when we organize the church around God’s dreams for our neighborhoods there is nothing in the world that cannot be healed, transformed, and liberated. A crucial aspect of this mission is leading regional learning communities for both lay leaders and clergy who are committed to faithful presence in the place God has called them. We have witnessed hundreds of thriving congregations who know their flourishing is deeply interconnected with the flourishing of the place they seek to faithfully inhabit. The primary constituencies are congregations who prioritize organizing their mission, spiritual formation, and community within the context of a defined neighborhood. While each congregation will show demonstrated interest in neighborhood presence, the denominational background will vary widely. We work with historic mainline congregations, church plants, missional communities, and even mega-churches within the same cohort within broader city region. Our vision for the Thriving Congregations Initiative is to launch more Parish Collective learning communities in multiple regions while also growing a diverse roster of trainers who will provide contextual leadership development at the local level, catalyze culture change within denominations, and deepen the overall parish movement.
Thriving Congregations Initiative