Orlando 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!

Case Thorp & Justin Holcomb
City Network Leaders – Orlando

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: May 2-3, 2018

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: Pastor Darryl Ford 

Darryl Ford is Lead Pastor of Ikon Community Church in Atlanta. His greatest passion is seeing the gospel radically transforming myriad cultures and people groups through creative contextualization without compromise.

Darryl was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He began his career in the US Air Force as a weather forecaster where he served in several places around the world including Alaska, Hawaii, and the Middle East. During this time, Darryl served as a lay leader, teacher, and preacher in several churches. After the military, Darryl became a District Manager for a retail gas chain in the Midwest. He holds a B.S. in Information Systems and a Masters in Management, Leadership and Strategy from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad School of Business. Darryl left the business world and entered the vocational ministry in 2008 while serving on the staff of a church in the Greater Chicago Area. In 2011, Darryl and his family moved to Atlanta as a church planting resident at Perimeter Church.

He wholeheartedly believes that when people awaken to the grandeur of God and His attributes, their greatest affections will be oriented towards Him and genuine transformation (both individually as well as corporately) will occur.

Session 2 – The Church for Vocational Discipleship

Date: September 12-13, 2018

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: Tom Nelson and Luke Bobo

Tom is president of Made to Flourish. The author of The Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community’s Compassion and CapacityWork Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday WorkFive Smooth Stones: Discovering the Path to Wholeness of Soul, and Ekklesia: Rediscovering God’s Design for the Church, Nelson is a regular speaker and facilitator on faith, work, and economics. 

Tom is also the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Kansas City. He has served on the Board of Regents of Trinity International University and is on the leadership team of the Oikonomia Network. He graduated with a master’s of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and received his doctorate from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Dr. Luke Bobo serves as director of resource and curriculum development, bringing leadership to creating and curating resources and curriculum for MTF pastors. Luke brings a rich blend of experience to MTF, having worked for 15 years in the marketplace as an engineer before pursuing an M.Div. and Ph.D., and eventually serving as the executive director of the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Seminary.

Recently, Luke has spent time as a professor of religious studies at Lindenwood University, and wrote curriculum for a workplace ministry. Luke is an adjunct professor of contemporary culture and apologetics at Covenant Seminary. Luke is also the author of Living Salty and Light Filled Lives in the Workplace, and A Layperson’s Guide to Biblical Interpretation: A Means to Know the Personal God.

Session 3 – The Church for Vocational Mission

Date: November 14-15, 2018

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: 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, including Kingdom Calling, 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.


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 AnEconomic Actor How Churches and Commissioned Congregants Revitalize Communities
VOCATION INTEGRATION EXAMPLES: Individual(s)Shaped by FWE Theology ChurchesShaped by FWE Theology CommunitiesShaped by FWE Theology

Made to Flourish Learning Community Session #1

Wednesday, May 2

First Presbyterian Orlando
106 E. Church Street
Orlando, FL 32801

8:15-9:15 AM Introductory Breakfast
9:15-10:30 AM Segment 1
10:30-10:45 AM Morning Break
10:45-12:00 PM Segment 1 (cont)
12:00-1:00 PM Lunch
1:00-2:15 PM Segment 2
2:15-2:30 PM Afternoon Break
2:30-3:30 PM Segment 2 (cont)
3:30-6:30 PM Free Time
6:30-7:30 PM Dinner
7:30-9:00 PM Segment 3

Thursday, May 3

9:00-9:15 AM Welcome
9:15-10:30 AM Segment 4
10:30-10:45 AM Morning Break
10:45-12:00 PM Segment 5

Click here to apply for the Orlando Learning Community

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