Western North Carolina UMC Peer Learning Community
First Gathering | May 8-9, 2017
For churches that believe sustainable change and church missions go together!
Sustainability has become a subject of conversation among philanthropists and charitable organizations, including the church. Individuals and organizations, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to local churches and mission agencies, are investing more and more resources toward finding and developing models for sustainable solutions.
Why a Missions 3.0 Peer Learning Community?
Experience shows bringing the innovators of a new idea together in “Learning Communities” over an extended period of time will accelerate the learning curve for all. The Missions 3.0 Peer Learning Community is a two-year Learning Community made up of teams of 4-6 people from 6-8 highly innovative churches and other Christian organizations from around the country already working in some way on sustainable solutions through church missions. The basic assumption of the group is that there are no single experts on the matter, just some highly motivated people using “informed experimentation” to figure things out. Here’s what you can expect:
- Accelerated progress through an act-and-learn process that pushes problem-solving and the pace of discovery.
- A chance to learn from the models of other highly motivated and effective leaders working on sustainability.
- The opportunity to network and collaborate with other innovative churches/orgs 4 times over a 2 year span.
- A chance to accelerate your learning curve and create a working knowledge base for other churches/orgs.
- Access to subject matter experts in various aspects pertaining to sustainability in global missions.
Our experience has shown that moving a church’s missions work toward more sustainable solutions takes 3-5 years of hard work on the “inside” with the help of an “outside” resource for 2 years. The biggest reason it takes this much time and support is because the early work of any group of innovators is largely about “proof of concepts.” Missions 3.0 Peer Learning Communities and the staff of Significant Matters provide that “outside” support for churches serious about making sustainability central to their mission’s outcomes. They are designed to allow a small group to learn from one another what works and what doesn’t work through execution. The commitment is to meet for two days, 4 different times over the course of 2 years to listen, learn and share and ultimately develop execution plans for the following 6 months. The length of the overall commitment and the frequency of meetings serve to deepen relationships for networking purposes and push the pace of discovery. Each of the 4 gatherings will include a combination of guest speakers, extended time for individual teams to work on strategic plans, collective problem solving, group sharing and debriefing.
The work of sustainability in Church/Christian-based missions can be broken into four distinct but inter-related domains. Each must be understood separately and then integrated into a cohesive, comprehensive strategy that makes sense for the church, the people they are discipling, the missional partners they work with in the field and the actual communities in which that mission work is taking place. Mission leaders are always dealing in the following four domains:
- The Volunteer – How do we engage individuals in our church in meaningful missional work?
- The Resource Church – How will we mobilize and where will we deploy our resources in missional work?
- The Partner – Who are we going to work with and how are we going to structure our partnerships?
- The Community – How do we do the above three in a way that leads to lives changed by the Gospel and sustainable community transformation?
Missional leadership in the past may have been able to focus and define missions through one or two of these lenses, but those days are quickly coming to an end. Where we find ourselves today in missions is in the ongoing struggle between these four domains trying to understand, serve, fund, measure and balance each one against the needs and demands of the other three. We must do more than manage and mitigate the different needs between these four domains; we must understand, lead, evaluate and integrate them through strategic alignment into an overall, comprehensive missional strategy that eventually leads to sustainable community transformation. That is what a Missions 3.0 Peer Learning Community is all about.
The Missions 3.0 Peer Learning Community is an initiative of Significant Matters, a Christian-based organization with over a decade of work and a wide network of innovative individuals and organizations working on sustainable solutions to complex issues. Our team of facilitators brings expertise from both the church and business world to help develop an integrated approach between the external missional outreach and internal disciple-making priorities of the church. Our team includes:
Tom Bassford is founder and President of Significant Matters, creator of SATtalks and and co-developer Missions 3.0. Before all this, he pastored for 30-plus years. He brings a unique combination of church, not-for-profit, and executive insight in his role. Over the past 10 years Significant Matters has worked with individuals, businesses, city government and the faith-based community to explore and develop more sustainable ways of doing good.
Jonathan Bell has spent the last 25 years leading churches beyond themselves. He joined the Church of the Resurrection staff in 2001, as Director of Mission Ministries, and orchestrated the church’s transition from Missions 1.0 to 2.0, before becoming lead architect for Resurrection’s 3.0 structures and strategies. Jonathan currently oversees the church’s national network of partner churches, as well as the church’s collaborative relationship with Saint Paul School of Theology.
Dave Geenens is the President and CFO of Fire Door Solutions as well as Associate Professor in the School of Business at Benedictine College. He’s the author of three books and serves on the board of Significant Matters. He brings a passion for the role that business and virtue bring to the work of sustainable solutions. He also brings an understanding for how the church can better utilize the marketplace person who wants to serve their church but finds the pace and processes of the church almost impossible to work with.
Who is this for?
This Missions 3.0 Peer Learning Community is for a limited number of churches and Christian organizations who are actively pursuing sustainability, including economic development strategies. To maximize the impact of the peer-to-peer learning dynamic, this Learning Community is limited to 6-8 churches/orgs with teams of 4-6 people. It is important that your team be made up of key leaders who have the authority to execute on action plans.
For More Information
For more information about the cost and availability of the next Peer Learning Community or how to set one up for a group of churches please contact Tom Bassford at 816-419-3291 or at firstname.lastname@example.org