Denver Learning Community
Pastors & Congregational Leaders,
We’re convinced the local church is vital to God’s mission in the world. We imagine you do too. But that doesn’t mean we’re always as effective as we’d hope. This pushes us toward several essential questions:
- What does it functionally look like for a church to embody the gospel of Jesus in articulation and action?
- In what ways are we called to seek the flourishing of not only our church family but also our local communities?
- How can we train and deploy a sea of marketplace and societal leaders to participate in God’s restorative work throughout the city?
These questions and others like them lie at the foundation of the church’s mission. Yet the tyrannical “urgent” tends to crowd them out. However, without thoughtful attention to these underlying questions, we can find our mission drifts and our effectiveness wanes.
That’s why we’ve designed the Learning Community.
It is an intentional time to withdraw from normal rhythms to focus on the foundation of what our churches are all about. Over the course of three sessions, you will learn from thought leaders, visit practitioners on the leading edge of this movement, and develop your own practical plan for implementing what you learn in your own church community. And—perhaps most significantly—you will do this alongside others in the Denver area who are wrestling with the same issues and questions.
The cost to participate in the Learning Community is $2700 per church (or $3600 for one extra participant). 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 help discern the best option for your situation.
Explore details about the Learning Community on this webpage or email either of us (BrandonA@madetoflourish.org or NeilL@madetoflourish.org). If you’re ready to move forward, you can also submit your application under “Registration.”
We hope you’ll prayerfully consider joining us for this iteration of the Denver Learning Community! The two of us have found it transformative, personally and for our churches. We anticipate a similar experience for you.
Brandon Addison & Neil Long
City Network Leaders – Denver
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: December 5-7, 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: Dr. Michael Goheen
Michael Goheen is Director of Theological Education (MTC) and Scholar-in-Residence for the Surge Network. He is married to Marnie and they have four adult married children and nine grandchildren.
Session 2 – The Church for Vocational Discipleship
Date: February 20-21, 2020
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: Riccardo Stewart
Riccardo grew up in Southern California as a huge sports fan of the Raiders, Lakers, and Dodgers. Growing up, his family attended services at Love and Faith Christian Center in South Central Los Angeles. His mother was a great example of a Christian; however, her example was not enough to draw me to Jesus at a young age.
It was through playing football that he had the opportunity to leave California to attend Arizona State University. While playing football at ASU, in his Senior year of College, God began to work on his heart. For the first time, he was able to understand and sense the weight of my sin, and the grace of God was an overwhelming relief and joy. He was led to saving faith through the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Riccardo has a BA in Elementary Education at Arizona State University and an MA in Global Urban Leadership from Bakke Graduate University in Seattle, WA. Riccardo is a husband to Holly and father to Noah and Eli.
Session 3 – The Church for Vocational Mission
Date: May 14-15, 2020
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: Dr. Amy Sherman
Dr. Amy L. Sherman is a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, where she directs the Center on Faith in Communities. She likes to describe the work of the Center as that of being “a minister to ministries.” She provides training and consulting to churches and nonprofits seeking to transform their communities for the common good.
Dr. Sherman is the author of six books and some 75+ published articles in such diverse periodicals as Christianity Today, First Things, The Public Interest, Policy Review, Prism, The Christian Century, and Books & Culture.
She serves as the Editorial Director for FASTEN, a capacity building project for faith-based organizations that offers a robust website of practical resources for ministry practitioners.
Sherman is the founder and former Executive Director of Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries, an Evangelical nonprofit assisting low-income, inner-city families. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Christian Community Development Association for several years.
A passionate participant in the fight against violent injustice around the world, Sherman serves as a Senior Fellow at the International Justice Mission’s IJM Institute. IJM is the leading Christian human rights agency engaged in the fight against modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
Her undergraduate degree is from Messiah College and her graduate degrees are from the University of Virginia.
Sherman is a long-time member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA. Her life verse is Micah 6:8 (“He has shown you, O Man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”).
|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|
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