Transformed & Transforming: Definitions
A learning community is a group of individuals who come together on a regular basis, united by a common commitment to learn from and with each other. It is often focused around a central topic or theme, such as neighborhood-focused mission or immigration, or a common goal, such as doing ministry with people with disabilities.
Three or more congregations take part in a learning community, with each church sending three to five people to participate. Each group works with a coach so that what is learned can be put into practice and contextualized for each represented congregation.
Participants meet regularly, either face to face or via technology, for at least six months but no more than 24 months. They determine together, with the help of the facilitator, how frequently they will meet and how long the learning community will last (based on the needs of the group).
A leadership community brings together leadership teams from six to twelve RCA congregations that are innovators and leaders in a specific ministry area. The intent for this collaborative learning experience is to move ideas into real action and tangible results. The main difference between a leadership community and a learning community is that leadership communities involve churches that are already successful in the selected ministry area.
A leadership community requires a church’s lead pastor to participate in the group. Besides the pastor, two to four other staff members and/or lay leaders from each church will participate.
A leadership community is a two-year process of collaborative learning, planning, and implementation. Participants meet four different times to learn from outside resources and each other, and then take six months to work on goals and strategic action plans that the team has generated.
A connection event is an informational gathering hosted by a General Synod Council team leader or staff member. Its purpose is to introduce pastors and congregational leaders to ways in which they might get involved with the initiatives of Transformed & Transforming. A potential outcome for such a gathering would be for pastors and congregational leaders to join a learning community or participate in a leadership collaborative.
All RCA pastors and lay leaders could benefit from a connection event.
Connection events can be scheduled whenever a church or community feels it would be of value.
Leadership collaboratives are small groups that focus on three significant areas of leadership:
- Personal leadership: Every leader must first learn to lead themselves before they lead others.
- Organizational leadership: Leadership skills are learned and developed as one grows as a leader.
- Reproducing leadership: The end result of leadership is not the accumulation of more followers, but the development of more leaders.
Leadership collaboratives are groups of eight to twelve church leaders—or future leaders—who have the desire and commitment to grow as spiritual leaders and/or expand their leadership capacity in ministry settings.
The process is designed to take place over a period of up to three years. Participants will gather for an annual in-person meeting, a quarterly connection by phone or computer, and a monthly check-in with a peer coach.