Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your minds,
so that you may discern what is the will of God—
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
— Romans 12:2 (NRSV)
“Personal transformation precedes communal transformation.”
This is part of the learning of leaders and congregations across the RCA and in other denominations all across North America. Unless each of us does the hard (yet GOOD) work of personal transformation in the Spirit, and do that work alongside and in the support of others, who are on their own journey of transformation in the Spirit, then our congregations will not change, and our communities and our world will not change. Think about that for a minute… the artistry of God’s renewal of this world, as we accompany God in bringing grace and shalom to the parts of this world where we are stewards, starts with the renewal of YOU.
What does transformation look like for you as you seek to live more fully as a disciple of Christ and as a leader within Christ’s Church, always on mission with God?
Below are some ideas, some processes and programs, and some resources (books and online, free and not free) that you can get involved in or get into action in your personal learning and transformation. This list will change from time to time. And please know that this isn’t an exhaustive list.
This list was compiled by the Rev Greg Town during his time with RSNY as Minister of Revitalization… any corrections or additions can be sent to email@example.com.
PROCESSES or PROGRAMS
Faithwalking – An ongoing spiritual formation process, for individuals, where you will discover your true self, full of passion and desire to make a Christ-like impact in the world. You will receive teaching, coaching, and support as you identify and remove the obstacles that stand in the way of living as your true self in Christ, living fully alive on mission with God – in your family, workplace, and all places. More info here.
Ridder: Churches Learning Change – CLC is a learning process for pastors and teams from congregations, where we learn and converse on Discipleship, Leadership, and Mission. CLC is a transformational learning process of acquiring information, putting it into practice, and reflecting on one’s learning about self, others, God, and the content being learned. This learning process leads to mastery of the content and experiences of deep change with the Holy Spirit in practice and ways of being, by living more fully alive and on mission, both personally and corporately. More info here.
Read the companion book, Learning Change!
DiscipleOn – For mutual growth and support in implementing a discipleship pathway in your congregation, join an online learning community of ten people or less, over a 5-month period. If you’re looking to do more than a conference or book here-and-there, a DiscipleOn! community provides mutual support to work toward a new way of discipleship in your church. Here’s a short synopsis… or get more info here.
Ascending Leaders (the hub for DiscipleOn) also has many other resources… including a series of podcast on discipleship and a sermons series on discipleship.
3D Movements (3DM) – Here’s an overview.
RCA Elder & Deacon Leadership Development Journey – A tool designed to help equip elders and deacons for leadership in the church and in life. Ideas for consistory retreats and elements of leadership development that into regular consistory meetings that you can cycle through over three years as new elders/deacons join consistory. How you use the different elements is entirely up to you, so adapt the material to work best for your consistory. Check it out: RCA Elders & Deacons Booklet
The 30-Day Pivot – Created by Carey Nieuwhof, through his work with the Barna Group, this training sets out what it takes to learn to thrive and not just survive, to shift obstacles into opportunities, and to innovate and remain agile and not just adapt to given situations… not just amid a pandemic, but in any reality of a changing cultural context. Check out the site.
Congregational Resource Guide (CRG) – Created by the Center for Congregations to offer a thorough guide to 1400 resources on any number of topics for congregations and leaders. Easily create a free account, look for and obtain resources, setup workspaces with other leaders from your congregation (or other congregations), and invite support from CRG resource experts. Check out the website and create an account. You can also signup with CRG to receive monthly emails with recommended and new resources.
Practical Resources for Churches (PRC) – Created and supported by a number of ecumenical partners in NY, this site continually offer workshops, webinars, and resources in multiple areas of ministry (youth and children, stewardship, environmental, social justice, etc). Check out the website and easily register for any of the offerings PRC provides.
The Next Faithful Step, from Fuller Theological Seminary – A concise, yet thorough, explanation of what transformation requires from leaders and the congregation. A number of short articles guide you through learning and conversation starters: from technical problems versus adaptive challenges to creating “Holding Environments” to reinterpreting conflict and more. Start your learning here, where you’ll find links to several articles.
Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger – A very accessible book expounding on the need to adapt or die as leaders and congregations in ever-changing contexts. What does it mean to lead “on the map” and “off the map”? Using the analogy of Lewis and Clark’s expedition into the Louisiana Purchase, Bolsinger weaves a story of how the church can learn to stay on mission, while learning to adapt in leading their congregations. Read the first chapter online.
Leading Congregational Change by Herrington, Bonem, and Furr. Through stories of experience, you’ll find practical and effective tools for developing a culture of change in your congregation. What does the process of change look like? What steps are needed to enter into change faithfully and courageously? What do the leaders and people need in order for change to be effective?
Leading Change by John Kotter – How does one create a culture of transformation? Kotter sets forth, for the business sector but also for congregations, eight stages to the process of creating successful transformative organizations that learn to change and adapt. Read the first chapter online.
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown – Courageous leadership is needed to face any amount of change or to help bring wholeness to any relationship. There are several supporting documents online, including a workbook for teams as they read through the book together, some proposed schedules that teams might take on for reading and discussion, and many other amazingly helpful guides.
To Transform a City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City by Eric Swanson and Sam Williams – How do you engage and make a difference in your city? In what ways does your congregation see itself as an agent of grace in the community? Examine different mental models of how the church interacts in the life of the city, and how those models impact how your congregation lives on mission.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzer – Any conversation is capable of becoming a crucial conversation – where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Learn to lean into crucial conversations as part of your leadership in helping others experience transformation in healthy communication. Read the beginning of the book here.
Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change by Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzer – A thought-provoking book on what traits and skills leaders need to make a difference. Read the first chapters of the book here.
BLOGS and e-NEWSLETTERS
Center for Action and Contemplation – Sign up to receive daily meditations, weekly summaries, and/or monthly resources or programs offered by CAC. [Spirituality, Spiritual Disciplines, Justice]
Leadership Freak – expand and deepen your understanding when it comes to leadership. Sign up to receive daily newsletters in your email. Each daily teaching is under 300 words, so it can be quickly read at any time during your day. [Leadership]