In short ‘yes!’ We aren’t as concerned with where the church is but where it is going. We would love to have congregations that represent a diversity of ability to interact with 23-29yos in ministry so that we can gauge at multiple points what is helpful and what is not (but mostly what is).
Correct. The 12 congregations that we pick will act as laboratories for innovative ministries to our target demographic. We plan on awarding $10,000 each year for three years probably starting summer/fall 2018 (so years 3, 4, and 5). Additionally some churches will have some human resource support in the form of seminary students or others, as appropriate and feasible. The reason the money starts in late 2018 is to allow for a ministry design and evaluation process prior to the award. This is covered in our “Essentials for Participation” document on the Apply page.
The application is designed to keep your progress and return you to the page you were last on (you need to use the same browser and computer from what we can tell). However we recommend writing your answers in a separate document and pasting them in to the text boxes just in case. Our expectation is that the application experience itself will reveal some truths about your congregation. If at any point you decide to withdraw your application you may but we would encourage any/every church to apply and to stay in the process until we can respond to allow room for the Holy Spirit to do its formational work with all involved.
The project is open source. Our hope is that churches not in the project will be able to benefit from both the formal and anecdotal information gathered. We will offer our interpretations of the information, but we also invite others to interpret the data as they see fit and to make use of it as appropriate to their context.
We are still in the dreaming and planning phase of this project, but we do hope to offer much of our program as discreet items and exercises that can be deployed in individual congregations or in groups of congregations to foster innovation in ministry to 23-29-year-olds (and possibly other demographics).
We are still in the design and planning phase, but we are very excited to share with you the things we are already pursuing. Please check back here or follow our various social media, email and other ways of alerting you to new content.
As mentioned above, part of our hope with this project is to hone a set of tools for self-evaluation by congregations or groups of congregations. The application is not just a method for creating a robust and diverse set of congregational laboratories to work in, but also the first step of self evaluation for any who are looking to make a change in their culture. We are excited about the prospect of distributing the other tools we develop and seeing how they perform “outside the lab,” but at this time we can’t promise any personal follow-up beyond the 12 core congregations. Please keep in touch to stay abreast of opportunities for town halls, lectures and other ways of learning about our process where we might be able to connect informally and feel free to connect with us about your interest or parallel efforts.
We hope that some of the congregations that participate will become mentor congregations to others in their community, denomination, or to ones that have similar ministry goals and cultures. We will do our best to connect those willing to be mentors to those wanting such a relationship.