Don’t have a clue how to start a Learning Community or what it’s all about? We’ve got you covered. Here are 10 simple steps to getting your first Learning Community off the ground.
1. Be clear about the purpose of a Learning Community—to cultivate ideas and missional strategies on a local level.
2. Choose your type.
Church-Based Learning Community
These Communities draw together a group of 5 to 10 lay people, both Anglican and non-Anglican, to listen to one another and take an intellectual journey together toward mission in contemporary culture.
Clergy-Based Learning Community
These Communities draw together 5 to 10 clergy or leaders in your region who will meet together a few times a year to discuss their unique missional contexts and what they are learning on the ground.
Affinity-Based Learning Community
These Communities meet around a common affinity or domain of interest. They can bring people together from different locales or contexts who are pursuing the same goal.
3. Choose your topic and domain. Members might discuss a particular topic (such as race, sexuality, missional leadership, joy, worship), read a missional book, do peer-based coaching or simply meet to talk and ask questions.
4. Choose an appropriate location such as a living room or coffee shop, or arrange to meet online via Zoom (what we use) or another online meeting application.
5. Choose dates, times and frequency that are doable and sustainable. People are busy, so try to find a structure that isn’t burdensome.
6. Invite a small group of men and women (5-7 is ideal) to meet regularly for a discussion.
7. Be clear about your role: to foster an honest, life-giving environment where people feel safe to share and are emboldened to creatively engage culture, foster mission and make disciples in their own spheres of influence.
8. Ask good questions. A few sample questions (that may or may not be relevant to your Community) are:
– How does our Anglican ecclesiology and/or practices help us engage mission?”
– “What does it mean to use that specific modifier ‘missional,’ and how does it change how we think about church and its connection to culture?”
– “How can we simultaneously listen to our church community as well as the unchurched community around us?”
9. Listen. Listen carefully to the people attending. If you create an intellectually, relationally and emotionally honest atmosphere, people will be excited to participate and open up.
10. Collectively set objectives. As a group, it’s important to create a mutual agenda for your times together. Along with goals, decide on a few benchmarks that will tell you if you’ve accomplished those goals.
Interested in starting a Learning Community in your context or around a common theme/domain with others that you know? Download our Learning Community Guide below, and email Ryan to start the process!