Workshops on Change in the Church

The GC43 Festival of Faith is home to more than 20 workshops that feature inspiring speakers and cover a wide array of timely topics and issues. Here are five workshops that focus on helping participants navigate change in the church and thrive.

A View from the Pew: Congregations in Canada

“Have you ever thought why, or why isn’t, my church flourishing and growing? Instead of looking at what’s wrong with the church, have you thought about what is going right in your church? This workshop will help you begin to understand the factors that might help your congregation flourish, and hear what pastoral leaders are saying throughout Canada about flourishing congregations.” – workshop speaker, Arch Wong

How do leaders and attenders understand what constitutes a flourishing congregation in Canada, and what variables most strongly correlate with one another in a flourishing congregation? In this workshop, Dr. Arch Wong from the Flourishing Congregations Institute will share the results from interviews and focus groups with Canadian church leaders (Catholic, mainline, and conservative Protestant). Themes of focus and application will include organizational ethos (clear self-identity, leadership, innovation, structure and processes), internal dynamics (discipleship, engaged laity, hospitable community, diversity), and outward focus (neighborhood involvement, evangelism, partnerships). Attention will be given to the implications and applications for local congregations based on the research to date.

Speaker: Arch Wong

Rooted & Linked: Re-Imagining Church in the Neighbourhood

“I deeply believe that the primary opportunity to catalyze change in the church is through a diverse, robust, courageous revival of neighbourhood presence. When neighbourhood becomes the umbrella for transformation, we then collaborate toward how to reimagine our economies from the ground up… We build toward greater equity and inclusion, ultimately leading a faith-rooted movement to recover what it truly means to love your neighbour.” – workshop speaker, Dave Harder

Workshop description: Participants will learn practical ways for growing faithful presence, fostering missional engagement, and leading with others in the neighbourhood. Participants will leave with very practical ways they can move from: unconscious busyness to conscious habitation; consuming programs/perks to beholding people; independence to interdependence. The outcome will be a map each person takes as a pathway to begin weaving a fabric of love and care in their neighbourhood.

Speaker: Dave Harder

The Church as Community Hub

“The workshop information and roundtable discussion provide learning for… participants to contribute to problem-solving and giving back to the community. I have seen the model achieve measurable results that help the hubsters learn and grow, and engage with the congregation and the community.” – workshop speaker Peter Miller

Workshop description: The purpose of the facility and the land can inspire and engage the minister, the congregation, interaction with other faiths, and the community.

Speaker: Peter Miller

United Church of Canada Property Resource Group

As stewards of our land, how do we leverage the assets that God has entrusted us with to create the biggest possible impact? A Property Resource Group has been created to support congregations and regional councils as they seek new and innovative forms of ministry. The key to doing that is bringing best-in-class advice to reimagine how our infrastructure can be realigned to better love our neighbours. The positive impact for the UC is that we are stronger together.

The UC can be a leader with the power to move the needle on massive voids that are affecting our communities across the country, such as affordable housing, community hubs, and inclusive communities.

Speaker: Kristopher Tavella

Messy Church Basics

Messy Church is a new way of doing church for families who do not have time for Sunday church services, or see church in a formal context as threatening and/or unwelcoming. Over 100 UC churches have successfully embraced this ministry in a missional context.

This workshop will provide a catalyst for further discernment and discussion on whether the Messy Church model would help your community of faith. It will also provide practical information about the successful start-up and running of a Messy Church ministry.

Speakers: Sue and Andy Kalbfleisch

All workshops will be held on Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22 at Durham College + University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, ON.

The date, time, and room for each workshop was not determined when this news story was posted. Please visit the Festival page for updates on workshop information.