Kansas City 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 $2,000 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!

Gabe Coyle & DeLano Sheffield
City Directors – Kansas City

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: January 23-25, 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: Jim Mullins

Jim Mullins is the pastor of theological and vocational formation for Redemption Tempe and is on the leadership team for the Surge Network. He is also co-host along with Loren Kutsko and Kimberly Deckel of the Faith, Work, and Rest podcast produced by the Surge Network. Jim has worked as a pastor, entrepreneur, nonprofit leader, and a basketball scout in Turkey. He’s married to Jenny, and has an eight-year old daughter named Elliana. They spend their time watching basketball, cooking Middle Eastern food, and being completely ineffective gardeners.

Session 2 – The Church for Vocational Discipleship

Date: March 7-8, 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: Laura McDaniel and Riccardo Stewart

Reverend Laura McDaniel is an ordained minister and licensed attorney, working with the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) through the Spence Network. As the “research and development” arm of leadership for the BGAV, Spence Network invests in innovative leaders to impact the local church and culture. In her role with Spence Network, Laura serves as an instructor, leadership coach and preacher to churches across Virginia, Haiti, and Europe.

She resides in Virginia and holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a doctorate of jurisprudence from the Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. Laura is also a consultant and speaker for national and international organizations, and co-founder of NEXUS(SM), a faith-at-work Community of Practice project.

Laura enjoys running, writing poetry, sketching, and exploring new places across the US and around the world. And she is the proud mother of Patrick who works with Projekt:RefugeeIntegration, a unique outreach community of Austrian Baptists for Middle Eastern refugees and asylum-seekers in Vienna, Austria.

Riccardo Stewart is lead pastor at Redemption Church – Tempe. 

A native of Southern California is 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 him 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 his sin, and the grace of God was an overwhelming relief and joy. He was led to saving faith through the ministry of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He was pleased to know the saving faith of the Lord and his power to change me.

In 2007, he married Holly and they have been blessed to have two young boys, Noah and Eli. He received a BA in Elementary Education at Arizona State University and an MA in Global Urban Leadership from Bakke Graduate University in Seattle, WA.

Session 3 – The Church for Vocational Mission

Date: June 6-7, 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: Zachary Ritvalsky

Professor Zachary Ritvalsky is the Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary and Graduate School’s Philadelphia Dean, Site Director, and Interim Program Coordinator for the Community Transformation and Social Engagement degree program. Professor Ritvalsky holds a master’s degree in theological studies from Westminster Theological Seminary. A pastor of twelve years in West Philadelphia, he worked closely with neighborhood residents to start both a 501(c)3 community development corporation and real estate development company. Ritvalsky also helped launch Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (P.O.W.E.R). P.O.W.E.R. is an ecumenical organization seeking to promote justice in education, employment, and healthcare.

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”
ECONOMIC WISDOM: 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

The schedule will be posted as details are finalized.

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

Participant Uploads