What We’re Hearing from the Church

What do leaders need to know, or know how to do, to be faithful and effective in a rapidly changing world?
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Updated October 15, 2020

Since Faith+Lead’s launch in fall 2018, our purpose has been to convene, accompany, and equip congregations and Christian leaders to discern what the Holy Spirit is innovating at the grassroots level.

In January 2019, we issued the first version of this report, based largely on conversations and interactions with ministry leaders across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Since then, our reach has expanded significantly.

While much of what we initially discovered has stood the test of time, we’ve also been able to add to and refine our answer to the question:

What do Christian leaders need to know, or know how to do, to be faithful and effective in the 21st century?

What follows is a breakdown of the key insights and learnings we’ve compiled over the past year and a half.

As ever, as our listening to the church deepens, we expect to add to it in the coming months and years.

The Themes

Connect with God

Christian communities need a Christ-centered identity, grounded in theology, scripture, and spiritual practice, that empowers them to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in everyday life.

Tell the Story

All baptized Christians need to be equipped to tell the story of Jesus and invite others into Jesus’ way of life and love in words secular neighbors can recognize.

Cultivate Community

Christian communities need to be centers of deep listening, where God’s presence is named and life-giving relationships are formed across all dimensions of diversity, both within and beyond the church.

Practice Justice

Through mutual relationships with the neighbors among whom they’re hosted, Christian communities need to join in acts of compassion, justice, and reconciliation as a witness to the ministry of Jesus—particularly in places of suffering and despair.

Shift Ministry Models

Christian communities need to harness skills of agile leadership, stewardship, social entrepreneurism, and management to be nimble enough to respond to a changing cultural landscape.

Want to go deeper? Here are three ways:

  1. Download the full report.
  2. Join the Faith+Lead Learning Lab, our free private social network for Christian leaders.
  3. Explore the Faithful Innovation Framework.

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