The Office of New Faith Communities partnered with Center for Leadership Excellence for a Common Learning Day with Rev. Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean presenting at Hayes Barton UMC. The day and a half event was filled with learning and conversation about holistic mission, Christian social innovation, and nontraditional ways to engage in ministry – both inside and outside of the church.
On day one, the gathered church planters participated in activities and games that invited them to grow in creative imagination as they lead, particularly when it comes to utilizing existing resources and thinking outside of the traditional church model.
Day two included, New Faith Communities planters, Leadership Fellows, and other Center for Leadership Excellence attendees. Around 150 people began the day by examining Paul’s story of shipwreck on Malta (Acts 27). Kenda Creasy Dean challenged us to flip our interpretation of the story and the devastation. Might Paul’s shipwreck, with broken boards of the boat strewn through the seas, actually be what he needed to be saved?
In the same way that Paul’s shipwreck saved him, are challenging times in churches a chance to look at shipwreck and an ‘unfamiliar shore of Malta’ as an opportunity rather than devastation? Creasy Dean urged the group to consider if their churches should ‘throw something overboard’ to stay afloat, acknowledging that when societal change is front and center, churches may need to prune ministries that do not fit. She challenged the clergy and laity to take the lessons learned on Malta to make sense of the unfamiliar territory that many of our churches are in right now.
Throughout the Day of Learning, Creasy Dean’s experiential activities and times for reflection meant that ideas were birthed, some were fine-tuned, and others reached that critical point of inflection where they will move from idea to reality.