Boston Learning Community

Pastors and Congregational Leaders,

We at Made to Flourish believe that the local church has a vital role to play in God’s mission in the world. As fellow followers of Jesus who have given so much to your local congregations, you probably believe that too. But the question remains how effective we are in this mission. What does it really look like for a church to embody the gospel of Jesus in both word and deed? In what ways are we called to seek the flourishing of those both within and outside of our church walls? How can our churches effectively train and deploy a whole sea of congregant leaders to participate in God’s redemptive mission wherever he has placed them?

These are the questions (and others like them) that lie at the foundation of the mission of the church. But like many of the most important things, they tend to get crowded out by the “tyranny of the urgent.” Without thoughtful attention to these underlying questions, we might find our mission drifting and our effectiveness waning.

That’s where the Learning Community comes in. It is an intentional time to withdraw from the normal rhythms of life and ministry to focus on the important underlying foundation. Over the course of three sessions, you will learn from recognized thought leaders, visit with practitioners on the leading edge of this movement, and wrestle with your own practical plan for implementing these learnings in your own church community. And perhaps most significantly, you will do all of this while rubbing shoulders with others who are wrestling with the same issues in the same city/region.

The cost to participate in the Learning Community is $1500 per church.  If this cost is prohibitive, we also offer payment plans and provide scholarships for qualified churches.  The last thing we want is for money to be the barrier to your participation!  Just talk to us before you register and we’ll explore what the best option would be for your situation.

Learn more about our Learning Community on this webpage, including session overviews, testimonials, and FAQs. If you’re ready to take the next step, you can also submit your application.

We hope you’ll consider joining us for this unique and transformational learning experience!

Dave Ripper & Bill Johnson
City Directors – Boston

Session Overviews

The Learning Community (LC) is a unique educational experience.  Over the course of three sessions, participating pastors and congregational leaders will learn from recognized thought-leaders, visit with practitioners on the leading edge of this movement, and wrestle with their own practical plan for implementing these learnings in their own church community.  And perhaps most significantly, they will do all of this while rubbing shoulders with others who are wrestling with the same issues in the same city/region.

Here is a brief snapshot of the content you’ll be discussing in the Learning Community:

Session 1 – Theological Foundations of Faith, Work, and Economics

Date: February 8-9, 2019

Description: In this session, we seek to lay a theological foundation for the whole project. We will explore the Grand Biblical Narrative (Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation) and its relevance to our world and our work.  We will see how our work is a central aspect of our call to love God and neighbor.  In the words of Steve Garber, “Vocation is integral, not incidental, to the missio Dei.”

Faculty Member: Geoff Hsu

Geoff Hsu is executive director of Flourish San Diego. Geoff is an apprentice of Jesus who is learning how to become more like him in thought, word, and deed. His core giftedness hovers around his shepherd’s heart and his orientation as a reflective practitioner. In using these gifts, much of Geoff’s work is focused on the gospel, its proclamation, transformative impact in the lives of Christians, and subsequent renewing, redeeming and restorative influence on the world at large.

Geoff worked for Cru for 20 years, working in many capacities and all over the world, including in East Asia. He also was a leadership formation coach, conducting discipleship groups and spiritual formation groups for area pastors, professionals, and elders in San Diego County. Working closely with Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church, he helped lead a missional initiative called “Cascade.” The formation of Flourish San Diego was an attempt to leverage Cascade’s success and make it available to the broader body of Christ in San Diego.

As the Executive Director Geoff aims to lead others to be apprentices of Jesus who help people and churches become who they were created to be so they may join God to help our city and world flourish. He believes that the dynamic, life-giving message of Jesus has been obscured from people who seek to find meaning and purpose in Him, and works to help recover that message and faithfully communicate it to people today.

Session 2 – The Church for Vocational Discipleship

Date: April 5-6, 2019

Description: Building on the Foundations from session 1, we now explore the ways in which this reframes the ministry of our local churches.  If our vocational callings are central to God’s mission in the world, in what ways are our churches aiding (or hindering) this goal?  How should a commitment to vocational stewardship affect the various aspects of local church life (preaching, liturgical practices, spiritual formation, evaluation criteria, etc.)?

Faculty Member: Leah Archibald and Will Messenger

Leah Archibald is Associate Editor at the Theology of Work Project. Prior to TOW, Leah had ten years of experience in the online publishing industry. She has written about IT Systems Integration for technical magazines and about finding God in parenthood for faith-based publications.

Leah holds an MBA from Babson College and a BA from Mount Holyoke. She lives in Bedford, Massachusetts with her husband, three sons, five chickens, and a crazy dog.

William G. Messenger is the Executive Editor of the Theology of Work Project and a member of the Steering Committee. Previously, Will was the Director of the Mockler Center for Faith and Ethics in the Workplace at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary from 1999 to 2008 and an adjunct faculty member there. He created and led the seminary’s doctoral and master’s degree programs in workplace leadership and business ethics. He has served as an adjunct faculty member of Laidlaw-Carey Graduate School (Auckland, New Zealand), guest lecturer at Holy Cross College (Worcester, MA) and adjunct professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY).

Will is a member of the Board of Directors of ArQule, Inc., a biotechnology company near Boston, where he chairs the compensation, nominating and governance committee and is a member of the audit committee. He previously worked as a sales representative at IBM, corporate finance associate at Goldman Sachs, a consultant at McKinsey & Co., and vice president of sales and marketing Advanced Metabolic Systems. Will is ordained in the Episcopal Church and formerly served as pastor of Charles River Church in Boston and assistant rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Belmont, MA. He was awarded a B.S. in Physics from Case Western Reserve University, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He lives near Boston, MA, USA, with his wife and their two daughters.

Session 3 – The Church for Vocational Mission

Date: May 31-June 1, 2019

Description: The church is called to join God’s redemptive mission “far as the curse is found.”  This includes seeking the flourishing of the communities in which he has placed us.  In this session, we focus on the central role of economic exchange and the role of the church in fostering a flourishing economy.

Faculty Member: Larry Ward

Larry Ward has pastored Abundant Life Church in Cambridge, MA, since 1994. He is a gifted teacher and communicator of God’s Word with a heart to see believers equipped and empowered to build God’s Kingdom. He is also a certified trainer for the National Foundation of Teaching Entrepreneurship and is a trainer for Financial Education Associates, training people in financial literacy and homeownership.

SESSION 1 SESSION 2 SESSION 3
TOPIC: Theological Foundations of Faith, Work, and Economics The Church for Vocational Discipleship The Church for Vocational Mission
TEACHING THEMES: Insight for vocational stewardship from each of the four Biblical paradigms of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation A critical evaluation of church culture, including its mission, liturgy, pastoral practices, discipleship, and communication systems A critical evaluation of church ministries/outreach and community engagement
LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Biblical Understanding of Vocational Stewardship Transforming Church Culture Individuals and Churches on Mission
SPIRITUAL FORMATION EMPHASIS: Whole Persons: Personally Transformed Workers Whole Churches: Churches for Whole-Life Discipleship Whole Communities: Discipleship “For the Life of the World”
ECONOMICWISDOM: Foundational Biblical Insights The Church as An Economic Actor How Churches and Commissioned Congregants Revitalize Communities
VOCATION INTEGRATION EXAMPLES: Individual(s) Shaped by FWE Theology Churches Shaped by FWE Theology Communities Shaped by FWE Theology

Coming Soon!

Thanks for your interest! This content is intended for Boston Learning Community participants. If you are a participant, please login here.

Participant Uploads