Our project is designed to equip churches and their leaders to cultivate the traits of resiliency. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed weaknesses in the church that, though often unnoticed, have been present for many years. The habits and practices of Christendom are hindering the thriving of the church and its members and should give way to a new arrangement, one which draws on the church’s rich history and engages a spirit of creativity and innovation guided by the Holy Spirit. Over the next five years, the Whitworth University Office of Church Engagement (OCE) will collaborate with three cohorts of eight to 10 churches over sequential two-year periods. The OCE will engage in a collaborative learning process with cohort churches as they discover and appropriate the resources of the past, discern current challenges and opportunities in their congregations, neighborhoods, and cities, and design innovative plans to adapt in ways that serve the gospel. With the support of Whitworth faculty in the social sciences, humanities, and business, Whitworth student fellows, and experienced practitioners in the areas of city engagement and urban planning, the OCE is uniquely poised to support churches as they engage in the difficult and fruitful work of the discovery, discernment, and design phases. Through the activities of this initiative, the OCE and participating congregations seek to develop the resources to support churches in their ongoing efforts in faithful gospel ministry and cultivation of the traits of resiliency.
Resilient Church: Discovering the Past, Discerning the Present, Designing for the Future