The world continues to change and grow more complex. What does this mean for ministry, today and into the future?
The Congregations Lead Initiative is a new, two-year program that will gather a cohort of 50 congregations from across the ELCA to unleash and harness their collective genius and discover new and useful ministry innovations. If you’re excited about more new, young, diverse people knowing a life in Christ, then your congregation might be a great candidate to apply for this initiative.
The ELCA seeks to activate each of us so that more people might know the way of Jesus and discover community, justice, and love.
“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)
If your congregation is selected to participate in the Congregations Lead Initiative, your team can expect to:
Cohort application opens.
Cohort application closes.
Cohort participants selected.
First learning event for program participants.
All congregations, Congregations Under Development (CUDs), and Synodically Authorized Worshiping Communities (SAWCs) are invited to apply! Any congregation applying must:
To complete the Congregations Lead Initiative application, you will need:
If selected, a participating congregation will be asked to contribute a $500 registration fee. This fee will be used for a “community chest” to fund the cohort’s real-time experiments. Need-based assistance will be available.
No! Congregations will be ideating, exploring and learning together over the course of the program to develop new ministry innovations. However, your congregation must be willing to experiment and take risks.
The Congregations Lead Initiative is not a granting program, but rather a learning and training program. The main goal of this initiative is to equip and empower the congregations in the cohort with innovation and design thinking tools and resources. As part of joining the cohort, congregations are asked to contribute $500; this will make up a community chest to be used for seed funds to do ministry experimentation toward the end of the two-year program. If a congregation is unable to manage the $500 registration fee, the ELCA can provide assistance and it will not be a barrier to be part of the program.
“Innovation” means anything new and useful. This could come through developing new tools, refining processes or creating new products or programs. Innovation is not an end in itself but a way of thinking that you can apply to your ministry.
We anticipate a high volume of interest and applications, and therefore encourage you to use this FAQ page to self-solve. If you have a question about the registration or application itself, please email CongregationsLead@elca.org. We will do our best to get back to you quickly and will also consider updating this page as new FAQs arise.