We’re trying to predict an unpredictable future, while loving and caring for a whole lot of people who are asking big unwieldy questions about themselves and the world and how God is moving in it. That’s a lot of churn, friends.This much foment can be exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I believe that in the midst of this kind of chaos, the Holy Spirit is breaking in. … More The next faithful step
We’re excited to open registration for the School for Formation’s courses in Fall 2022! As our congregations emerge from the pandemic, we want to see how the School for Formation can better serve lay leaders in their discipleship and innovation. This year, the Rev. Canon Blair Pogue will teach a new course, Practicing the Way … More A peek into the School for Formation’s fall lineup
Here you’ll find some tools and approaches to dive more deeply into the priority of congregational vitality. These key touchpoints can be used by congregations large and small, congregations with full-time clergy and congregations that are lay-led, and everything in between. … More Unpacking ECMN’s Priority of Vital Congregations
Looking to the Holy Spirit’s leadership, trusting in God’s promises, and taking steps to do new things requires us to set aside some fear in favor of excitement. We believe that learning key skills and grounding ourselves in wise practices lets us see better, and respond more hopefully, to where the Holy Spirit is leading our congregations. … More What do you need to face the future with a sense of adventure?
What we hope to offer in this set of sixteen commitments is a vision of what it looks like for a congregation to thrive by being committed to discipleship, justice, innovation, and their own vital practice of love. None of it requires a congregation to have a big building, a big budget, or a paid staff. All of it is more about process than product: how we be together, rather than what we accomplish. We hope this vision gives you a good dose of clarity: what it means to be church is pretty simple. Not easy, but simple. … More A Church that Looks, Acts, and Loves like Jesus
Both the explicit curriculum and the unspoken values and culture of a congregation speak about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. In the perennial Christian argument between faith and works, Episcopalians have asserted that the two are not separate: they inform each other, as praying shapes believing, and vice versa. … More Showing up, Shaped by Jesus
Sometimes, if the well is dry and dusty, those small daily re-orientations toward God may not offer the kind of revival you’re looking for. In that case, abiding might look more involved: Setting time outside of your normal routine for a retreat. Or taking the plunge into counseling to address a thorny part of your emotional experience that Jesus keeps poking you about. Or trying a new experiment in the Way of Love, or finding something new to learn that will change your perspective or your approach. … More Thirsty?
There is no work more important in the church than what happens week by week in local congregations. The best way lay and ordained leaders can join in this critical work is by ongoing commitment to their own formation. … More Forming Disciples for Vital Congregations
We moved to a gift economy, we removed the barrier of tuition along with the barrier of geographic meetings, and we found that enrollment AND income increased. … More What we’re learning from removing the tuition barrier
The best grounding practice for any kind of ministry is to take time to notice where you’re seeing the Holy Spirit at work. Doing this both as an individual and with the team you serve is a key grounding practice of discipleship — believing that this ministry is itself holy, and not just a stepping stone required for something else holy that someone else is doing. And then treating it like a key part of your spiritual practice, trusting that God is showing up where you are serving. … More Lay Leaders + Spiritual Infrastructure
Practices, pacing, purpose – all of these are at the heart of what we seek to offer in the courses and workshops of the School for Formation. And perhaps in community in your congregation or in one of our courses you might find some new courage to say hello to darkness. As you look at the months ahead, these resources are available to you. If feeding your mind and learning in community with other Episcopalians feels like Good News to you, register now for one of our courses that begin in the new year. … More Pacing through winter
The via media, the middle way, is not a political safety valve from the Way of Jesus. It’s a call to ongoing relationship at Jesus’ table with those who disagree while we live the Gospel, even and especially at the voting booth. … More The Politics of Jesus
If worship by Zoom isn’t seeming to connect in your faith community or for your family, you have the opportunity to shift your practice of common prayer. Worship is discipleship—and, it might be a good time to let discipleship lead. Discipleship—daily practices that form us as followers of Jesus – is the primary work of the local church. You have permission to shift your practice and try a new experiment now. … More What are we learning from six months of online worship?
Christian tradition holds that the story we tell about his life, death, and resurrection is a promise for all of us — not just for life after death, but for life in the midst of change, loss, and grief. … More Registration open for fall courses
Those of us trained as faith leaders are facing a particular kind of new stress. We’re facing all the same challenges and fears that all our parishioners are carrying. But the very things we have been trained to do in crises are now off-limits. … More Anything that is not about care can wait
As faith communities change how they operate to respond to calls for social distancing, faith formation does not need to stop. Here are some tools you can access right now to keep people connected to God and each other, from home. … More Staying connected with God and each other, from home
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a potential crisis in Minnesota, and we’re wise to prepare as such.
But it’s also an opportunity to revisit, again, what giftedness and creativity our faith communities can offer back to the world. … More 10 ways to respond creatively to anxiety about COVID-19
All of it is discipleship, all of it is formation, all of it is apprenticing people into something. There is a message in your method, whether you intend it or not. … More The message in the method
Rather than letting fear drive our ways of gathering, we can choose to bring our faith, our critical thinking and our values of hospitality to our life together, with best practices and tools that can shape our shared life in the way of Jesus. … More Safety, fear, and love
When our primary orientation toward power is that it’s not ours to wield, we abdicate our own responsibility for the culture and content around us. And today, All Saints Day, is a good time to remember the power each one of us carries – whether positional power is involved or not. … More All Saints: Let’s talk about power