Tennessee Baptist Convention

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The Value of Learning Communities in Church Revitalization

Too often in the church revitalization process, church leaders attempt what I call the “Lone Ranger” approach. They attempt to lead their church through a difficult process, one that they probably haveproblem solution learning never been through before, without the benefit of a group of peers. This is where Learning Communities can be helpful.

A Learning Community is a group of people who share common goals and who meet regularly to collaborate and learn from one another. As we introduced Learning Communities among church leaders who were involved in the Church Revitalization Process, it was important to make some clarifications and distinctions:

  • A Learning Community is not another book club. We do provide books, articles, and other relevant resources, but the idea is not to simply meet and discuss what we like and did not like about the reading. We want to learn from what we read and provide specific applications that assist in revitalization.
  • A Learning Community is not another seminar. We do learn from outside sources and practitioners who have guidance and insight to offer in the process. However, we learn a lot from each other as we journey through the process together.
  • A Learning Community is not another accountability group. We do encourage each other and at times hold each other accountable. However, true accountability comes when we learn to trust one another.  This trust often develops as we learn from each other ion the journey.
  • A Learning Community is not another seminary course. We do ask for a high level of investment and commitment to learning. No one receives a grade – but we do realize that the level of “return” is related to the level of “investment.”
  • A Learning Community is not another social club. We do facilitate an environment where true friendships can be developed.
  • A Learning Community is not a “panel of experts.” We do create an environment where “no one has everything to offer; and no one has nothing to offer.” We learn from each other.

If you are involved in a church revitalization process, let me encourage you to not take the “Lone Ranger” approach. Connect with others on the same journey. If you would like more information about forming a Learning Community, contact me at pyoung@kcab.org.