Practicing Change: Transforming Hearts and Minds

Congregations have a history of limiting faith formation to ministry with children and youth, when in fact forming faith is central for all people of faith. Seeing faith formation as more than children and youth programs requires transforming the hearts and minds of the whole congregation, but how does one go about accompanying or facilitating change in communities? Congregations are in need of adaptive leaders who are aware, equipped, and adept at cultural change within and outside the life of the congregation. This track will offer a congregational vision for forming faith, share practices for engaging people of all ages, and address how to lead adaptive change.

Track Leader: Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos

Choose this track if you are eager to create large-scale change.

Title Description Takeaway Presenter
Change is Not a Dirty Word! Engaging Others in the Vision It is time to move beyond "the way we've always done it" to engaging volunteers, parents and your entire congregation in looking differently at ministry. This workshop will offer a process for getting the whole congregation centered on a shared vision for faith formation and doing ministry differently. Participants will learn a process for incorporating people into a shared vision and ideas for having a shared vision guide congregational change. Tammy Jones West
Who’s Leading Anyway? (Rethinking Leadership) As leaders of God’s church we face many unprecedented and daunting challenges. Addressing these challenges requires a shift in our thinking, learning, and leading. We hear a lot about adaptive leadership and innovation, but what does that look like? Innovation is more than finding a new way to reach the same goal, it requires building new capacities. This workshop will explore some of these new capacities: adopting the posture of a learner, nurturing a reflective learning community, discerning; and trusting in the Holy Spirit’s leadership. Leading in this way is messy, unpredictable, and at times frustrating....but also energizing and rewarding. Participants will engage in simple practices at the core of this adaptive work and begin to imagine a framework for leading in ways that transform the cultures in which they lead. Molly Schroeder
Unexpected Assets: Faith Formation in Rural and Small Church Contexts What are the challenges of faith formation in rural and small church contexts? What surprising assets might be discovered? What can be learned about leading vital faith formation "at the ends of the earth"? This workshop offers tools to answer these questions, as well as real-life on the ground examples from the current faith formation projects of Tri-Saints Lutheran Parish in rural Nebraska. Participants will get tools to assess and reimagine assets toward faith formation in their own contexts, as well as resources to help them as they make a plan. Rev. Breen Marie Sipes
Cultivating a Congregational Vision for Forming Faith How do you turn a personal vision into a congregational vision? This workshop will look at barriers for implementing a congregational vision and create greater clarity around building faith that lasts. Participants will leave with five key questions to ask when moving from a personal vision to a shared vision; learn to identify specific barriers in their contexts to building a congregational vision; and discover 7 Faith Factors that can identify areas of faith formation as well as provide assessment of their present context. Tiger McLuen
Sharing Faith to the Next Generation in a Small(er) Church This workshop will look at the current context and struggles in ministry within a small(er) church. In addition to ideas being shared, it will be a safe place for participants to talk about real life in a small(er) church. Participants will leave with reasons why small church struggle, characteristics of "low-morale" churches, and 7 Faith Factors that every church can implement. Tiger McLuen
Change as Gift at a Lutheran University Responding to change is not easy. It can be a messy and good gift. This workshop will think about change through the lens of a changing culture and ethos at a Lutheran University, helping participants apply learnings to their own context. Participants will hear a story of change and commitment and probe where they are being stirred to create an environment responsive to changes within their own ministry settings. Melissa Maxwell-Doherty
Shifting from Fundraisers to Investments Tired of fundraisers and events that raise little money but take a lot of time? This workshop will help participants reimagine fundraising. Through a theology of stewardship, participants will learn how to use the development (fundraising) cycle to cultivate major donors to support your ministry. Participants will be empowered to cultivate donors in their congregation and community to resource their ministry. Elizabeth Schoenknecht & Nathan Berkas
The Demands of the Neighbor: Stories from the Riverside Innovation Hub Daily we are confronted with stories that reflect the deep brokenness of our neighborhoods and planet. We often feel the tension of the gap between these broken realities and our capacity to engage them in a life-giving way. It is daunting, heartbreaking, and absolutely where God is pleading with the church to be. This workshop will explore this reality through the learnings of the Riverside Innovation Hub at Augsburg University. Participants will hear stories and engage in conversations that help them imagine the transformative power of taking faithful risks, listening beyond self-interests, and being church in the neighborhood. Kristina Fruge
Leading Change When You Are Not in Charge There are many ways to understand leadership and change. Given our varied roles in organizations and churches, it can seem like we aren't able to lead the way we want because of hierarchy. This workshop will take a look at how to 'lead where you are' within the context of your ministry and discuss practical tools for moving forward. Participants will get practical tips and strategies for sharing their perspective and leading from where they are. Kris Bjorke
Stories from the Frontline: Practicing Change Together* One of the best ways to improve ministries is to listen to stories and ideas from others in ministry. Why? Because we are in this together! This workshop highlights the importance of networking and the gift of being part of the larger church. Bring your creative ideas, success stories, and best practices to share with your peers. Participants will leave with successful ideas and practices they can try in their own congregations. Rachel Alley
Growing Young Many congregations are losing vitality because increasing numbers of young people are not engaging with the church. This workshop is based on extensive, groundbreaking research done across denominations in the United States studying growing congregations. Participants will learn strategies to reach younger generations and grow spiritually, missionally, and numerically and ways to incorporate these strategies into their congregation (no matter the size). Participant will learn six essential strategies to help their congregation "grow young." Rachel Alley
The Role of Faith Formation in the ELCA Ever wonder how faith formation contributes to the ELCA's overall vision? This workshop will be an opportunity to meet Phil Hirsch, the new Executive Director of Domestic Mission, and learn about the role faith formation has within the ELCA. Participants will learn how faith formation ministry contributes to the ELCA vision. Phil Hirsch
Practicing Moving Forward While Embracing Not Being Perfect Feeling stuck in work/life? Tired of feeling TIRED in all you do? What if God worked through our "imperfections" to serve God's will? Imagine a world where EVERYONE understood themselves as BELOVED of God, GIFTED by God and INVITED by God into God's work of loving and healing the world! This workshop is an opportunity learn skills that can be a catalyst for both personal and communal change in life and ministry. Participants will experience the transformative skill of coaching. What is your God-given potential in life? What difference would it make to have someone journey with you as you discover, name and live into these things? Join us and move forward for the good of the world! Renew - create an environment for participants to safely share their failures and vulnerability, to be met where they are in their faith and leadership journey, and to connect with God and a community of faith. Educate - introduce participates to a process of addressing complex challenges; equip participants to guide their own learning and leading; and resource participants in areas that help them lead in their context. Connect - connect participants to other leaders working on similar ministry goals and to people who can support and resource them. Jill Beverlin

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