Information for Congregations
We are pleased to share that Wesley Theological Seminary has received a grant from the Lilly Endowment to create an Innovation Hub with congregations who are engaging young adults (ages 23-29) in their communities.
Over the next four years, Wesley will be engaging congregations in the Washington, DC metro area to experiment with congregational formation processes that help churches build relationships with and partner with young adults for social change. We are looking for partner congregations that are ready and willing to take risks, try new things, and learn from and with young adults. Ultimately, congregations will be able to create collaborative platforms for social transformation based on their own assets and the skills of young adults in and outside their congregations.
The following outline explains the primary two ways congregations will be involved in the project:
- Five congregations, all of which demonstrate some proficiency and excellence in engaging young adults in ministry, leadership, and innovation, will be selected to be part of the first cohort. This “master” cohort (involving teams of 4 people per congregation, at least one of whom is age 23-29) will have learning sessions (two in-person, 1 online, 2-3 podcasts) throughout the 2017-18 academic year, focusing on human-centered design and relational experimentation, analysis, and adaptation.. At the end of the academic year, each master congregation will be invited to apply for up to $20,000 to use in creative ways to engage more young adults in the following 1-2 years..
- In summer 2018, a second cohort of 15 “learning” congregations will be selected to participate. Through the 2018-19 academic year, they will complete similar learning sessions, ending by applying for grants that will be used in the 2019-20 academic year.
- Throughout the 2018-19 academic year, the five master congregations will meet twice with the 15 learning congregations in order to share best practices and provide mentoring. Additional learning opportunities will be provided for the master congregations, with final reports due by Fall 2019.
- Wesley faculty and student researchers will be helping to establish metrics, facilitate learning processes, and identify best practices throughout the process.
Applications for the second cohort will open May 1, 2018.