Funded by the Lilly Endowment for $1 million over five years
Mission: To support congregations in SEEing the gifts in all individuals and the shifting values in their communities, HEARing God’s vision for wholeness, and amplifying CHANGE through partnership and hope.
Scriptural Foundation: Acts 10:1-11
Primary Theme: Incarnational Hospitality
Incarnational Hospitality creates fear+less spaces for strangers to share their God-given gifts and to see themselves as "like all others, like some others, and like no other” ( Lartey, In Living Color, 172-174).
- Define incarnational hospitality
- Identify strategies to circumnavigate the fear of the unknown and the fear of strangers
- Examine SEEing as a resource to enhance insight, discern gifts, and identify the shifting values in community
- Becoming people and places of Interrupting Hope
Scriptural Foundation: Acts 10:9-33
Primary Theme: Whole Life Stewardship
Whole Life Stewardship results from hearing God’s vision for undivided living within yourself and within the community.
- Define (individual and communal) wholeness, stewardship, and vision
- Identify strategies to circumnavigate the fear of plopping (painful experience of sharing your authentic truth and being completely ignored) and the fear of appearing ignorant
- Clarify the vision of the local church as a result of identified gifts and shifting dynamics within the broader community
- Reimagine the practice of stewardship as vision casting that actively listens for ways to cultivate wholeness in the individual and community
Scriptural Foundation: Acts 10:34-43
Primary Theme: Practicing Christian Faith through Partnership and Mission
The inbreaking of the Spirit shatters boundaries and sparks change when unlikely partners see + hear God at the center.
- Define mission, partnership, and center(ing)
- Identify strategies to circumnavigate the fear of plopping
- Introduce a theory of (individual and communal) change grounded on the principles of identity, purpose, community, empathy, and legacy
- Recognize ways the Holy Spirit is at work in centering uncommon partners
- Reimagine the practice of missional partnership as a form of communion that sparks change grounded in Hope
- Each participating congregation will form a team comprised of at least five people
- The learning process includes
- Experiential and high energy learning led by West Ohio’s partner, Fearless Dialogues (SEEing, Interrupting Hope, HEARing, CHANGE, Implementation).
- A trained coach will work with each congregational team to contextualize what they have learned to their unique church and community.
- The team will develop and implement an action plan
- At the conclusion of the learning experiences, the coach will continue to work with their congregational team to develop a Connection Plan that extends a Fear+Less Culture further into the congregation and commuity
- Upon submission of their Connection Plan, each congregation will receive a seed grant for implementation.
- Each congregation will provide stories of how they are becoming the Fear+Less witness in their community
Dates (Fridays: 6:00 – 8:00 pm; Saturdays: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, unless otherwise noted)
The first session of each cohort will be held in person. All remaining sessions will be held virtually through Zoom.
Staff Cohort (Spring 2023):
4th Cohort (Fall 2023): September 16 (9 am - 4 pm in person); October 6-7; October 27-28; November 17
Contact Person: Julie Carter, jcarter [at] wocumc.org