PREACHING FOR CHANGE COHORTS

NEXT Church believes leaders and the ground on which they serve must be tended in order to bring about change and transformation. We know that Christian leaders who respond to the needs around them require the cultivation of growth and change, both in themselves and others.

Because of this belief, NEXT Church’s Preaching for Change Initiative:

  • begins with the internal work of preparing the leaders and community for change,
  • builds upon an evaluative practice of accountability to the work we are called to do,
  • and creates a collaborative learning environment to move communities toward wholeness.

Worship is a catalyst for congregational change, rooting people in the proclamation of God’s Holy Word and the movement of the Holy Spirit in order to embody their faith in the world. The Initiative creates the opportunity for transformation by developing learning environments for discernment, growth, and experimentation.

Applications are currently closed for Spring 2024. Stay tuned for more information about Fall 2024 cohorts.

Questions? Contact LeAnn Hodges, Preaching for Change Coordinator

THE COHORTS

Applicants are invited to form a cohort of 5-8 congregational leaders who identify a common aspect of preaching/worship leadership to create generative change and impact the world around them. The leadership cohorts will be accompanied by trained coaches and facilitators with the goal of cultivating growth rooted in worship. Leaders may form two kinds of cohorts.

  1. a cohort of colleagues serving different congregations
  2. a cohort of congregational leaders from a single church

The two-year cycle includes opportunities for individual and communal exploration so that participants examine themselves as leaders and the contexts in which they serve. Cohorts will be supported and challenged as they lead toward relevant, liberative change throughout the cycle, allowing knowledge to lead to embodiment and proclamation.

Participation in NEXT Church’s Preaching for Change Initiative will provide cohorts with a number of resources.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

YEAR ONE

  1. Group Coaching for Your Cohort: Cohorts will be accompanied by a designated NEXT Church trained coach. The coach meets with the cohort 4 times (quarterly) for 90 minutes.
  2. Individual Coaching: Each member of the cohort receives four 50-minute one-to-one coaching sessions to root their journey contextually and accompany them towards impact.
  3. Content-Based Learning: All cohorts in the program, along with their coaches, receive four workshops on specific topics relevant to leading toward change that is rooted in the liberative gospel of Jesus Christ. Topics will include:
  4. Attendance at the 2024 National Gathering in Falls Church, VA: All participants in Preaching for Change Colleague Cohorts attend this year’s NEXT Church National Gathering for an opportunity to gather as a cohort in person, dig into relevant content, and meet others in the NEXT Church network. Registration and lodging (shared room) will be covered. Participants must cover their own travel.

YEAR TWO

  1. Group Coaching for Your Cohort: Continued accompaniment with the cohort’s coach 4 times (quarterly) for 90 minutes.
  2. Individual Coaching: Continued coaching in four 50-minute one-to-one coaching sessions.
  3. Contextual-Based Learning: Accompanied by the cohort’s coach, participants develop a contextualized implementation plan based on the first year’s learnings. Cohorts have the opportunity to seek microgrants from the Initative’s Impact Fund to facilitate the intended goals and expand the cohort’s capacity.
  4. Evaluation: Cohort participants and their coach will measure effective change and share learnings as a result of the journey together.

YEAR ONE

  1. Group Coaching for Your Cohort: Cohorts will be accompanied by a designated NEXT Church trained coach. The coach meets with your cohort 6 times for 90 minutes.
  2. Individual Coaching: Cohorts receive eight 50-minute one-to-one coaching sessions to root their journey contextually and accompany them towards impact. Each cohort will decide how best to use these individual sessions. 1-2 key leaders can use these sessions or they can be distributed among the cohort members.
  3. Content-Based Learning: All cohorts in the program, along with their coaches, receive four workshops on specific topics relevant to leading toward change that is rooted in the liberative gospel of Jesus Christ. Topics will include:
  4. Attendance at the 2024 National Gathering: 1-2 members of Congregational Cohorts are expected to attend this year’s NEXT Church National Gathering for an opportunity to gather in person, dig into relevant content, and meet others in the NEXT Church network. Registration and lodging (shared room) will be covered for two participants, but more may attend. All participants must cover their own travel.

YEAR TWO

  1. Group Coaching for Your Cohort: Continued accompaniment with the cohort’s coach 6 times for 90 minutes.
  2. Individual Coaching: Continued coaching in eight 50-minute one-to-one coaching sessions. Cohorts will decide how best to use these individual sessions.
  3. Contextual-Based Learning: Accompanied by the cohort’s coach, participants develop a contextualized implementation plan based on the first year’s learnings. Cohorts have the opportunity to seek microgrants from the Initative’s Impact Fund to facilitate the intended goals and expand the cohort’s capacity.
  4. Evaluation: Cohort participants and their coach will measure effective change and share learnings as a result of the journey together.

YEAR ONE

  1. Group Coaching for Your Cohort: Cohorts will be accompanied by a designated NEXT Church trained coach. The coach meets with the cohort 4 times (quarterly) for 90 minutes.
  2. Individual Coaching: Each member of the cohort receives four 50-minute one-to-one coaching sessions to root their journey contextually and accompany them towards impact.
  3. Content-Based Learning: All cohorts in the program, along with their coaches, receive four workshops on specific topics relevant to leading toward change that is rooted in the liberative gospel of Jesus Christ. Topics will include:
  4. Attendance at the 2024 National Gathering in Falls Church, VA: All participants in Preaching for Change Colleague Cohorts attend this year’s NEXT Church National Gathering for an opportunity to gather as a cohort in person, dig into relevant content, and meet others in the NEXT Church network. Registration and lodging (shared room) will be covered. Participants must cover their own travel.

YEAR TWO

  1. Group Coaching for Your Cohort: Continued accompaniment with the cohort’s coach 4 times (quarterly) for 90 minutes.
  2. Individual Coaching: Continued coaching in four 50-minute one-to-one coaching sessions.
  3. Contextual-Based Learning: Accompanied by the cohort’s coach, participants develop a contextualized implementation plan based on the first year’s learnings. Cohorts have the opportunity to seek microgrants from the Initative’s Impact Fund to facilitate the intended goals and expand the cohort’s capacity.
  4. Evaluation: Cohort participants and their coach will measure effective change and share learnings as a result of the journey together.

YEAR ONE

  1. Group Coaching for Your Cohort: Cohorts will be accompanied by a designated NEXT Church trained coach. The coach meets with your cohort 6 times for 90 minutes.
  2. Individual Coaching: Cohorts receive eight 50-minute one-to-one coaching sessions to root their journey contextually and accompany them towards impact. Each cohort will decide how best to use these individual sessions. 1-2 key leaders can use these sessions or they can be distributed among the cohort members.
  3. Content-Based Learning: All cohorts in the program, along with their coaches, receive four workshops on specific topics relevant to leading toward change that is rooted in the liberative gospel of Jesus Christ. Topics will include:
  4. Attendance at the 2024 National Gathering: 1-2 members of Congregational Cohorts are expected to attend this year’s NEXT Church National Gathering for an opportunity to gather in person, dig into relevant content, and meet others in the NEXT Church network. Registration and lodging (shared room) will be covered for two participants, but more may attend. All participants must cover their own travel.

YEAR TWO

  1. Group Coaching for Your Cohort: Continued accompaniment with the cohort’s coach 6 times for 90 minutes.
  2. Individual Coaching: Continued coaching in eight 50-minute one-to-one coaching sessions. Cohorts will decide how best to use these individual sessions.
  3. Contextual-Based Learning: Accompanied by the cohort’s coach, participants develop a contextualized implementation plan based on the first year’s learnings. Cohorts have the opportunity to seek microgrants from the Initative’s Impact Fund to facilitate the intended goals and expand the cohort’s capacity.
  4. Evaluation: Cohort participants and their coach will measure effective change and share learnings as a result of the journey together.

Worship is a catalyst for congregational change, rooting people in the proclamation of God’s Holy Word and the movement of the Holy Spirit in order to embody their faith in the world.

MORE DETAILS

To begin the application, a representative from the cohort needs to fill out the Preaching for Change Application – Part 1

Upon completion of Part 1, an email will be sent to every member of the cohort to individually fill out Part 2.

All corresponding parts of the application are due by January 7, 2024. 


Tips for Your Application

  • Spend time forming a cohesive plan with all the members of your proposed cohort.
  • Describe, in detail, how you hope participation in the cohort program will lead to actual, specific change.
  • Be creative! We aren’t interested in teaching you how to craft a perfect three-point sermon. Use this opportunity to stretch and grow with other amazing church leaders.

Colleague Cohorts: $500 per participant, per year

Payment of $500 is due at the time of acceptance in February 2024. An additional $500 payment is due February 2025 for the commitment to Year 2. Additionally, each member of the cohort is expected to pay for travel to and from the 2024 NEXT Church National Gathering.

Congregational Cohorts: $1500 per cohort, per year

Payment of $1,500 is due for the entire cohort at the time of acceptance in February 2024. An additional $1,500 payment is due February 2025 for the commitment to Year 2. Additionally, 1-2 members of the cohort are expected to pay for travel to and from the 2024 NEXT Church National Gathering.

Equity funds are available in recognition of resource imbalances, especially for small churches, leaders of color, students, and lay leaders. To inquire about available stipends, please contact LeAnn Hodges.

Examples of Potential Cohorts

  • Congregations where there is a specific need in the surrounding community and they are seeking ways for the proclamation of the Word to connect worship to the work of the church outside the walls for the purpose of being a catalyst for generative change
  • Leaders from a congregation and a nesting immigrant fellowship, seeking ways to partner in worship
  • Pastors seeking to preach faithfully and provide theological grounding for congregations who are facing difficult decisions about selling buildings and/or significant changes to staffing patterns
  • Congregations who are noticing a change in the worshiping community and are in discernment about how to adapt the worship and preaching moment to connect with those in the room. (i.e. intergenerational, neuro-divergent, intersectional, etc.)
  • Congregational leaders who are interested in exploring ways to expand spiritual practices in worship to facilitate the embodiment of scripture
  • BIPOC leaders serving in predominantly white spaces who are seeking mutual support in their work as preachers and an increase in their capacity to lead change in ways that are healthy and life affirming to their embodied ministries.
  • Pastoral leaders serving in ways other than full time, installed positions, such as yoked congregations, tent making/part time, transitional/interim, etc. focused on how to use the preaching moment as a concentrated opportunity to shift the culture toward wholeness.
  • Changing the staffing model to equip and empower the preaching laity
  • Developing a new post-COVID lectionary cycle
  • A cohort of CRE’s who are the primary preachers, desiring to support peer learning around the preaching moment
Leading Change with an Antiracist Posture

Change leading to liberation must be embodied with an antiracist and anti-oppression posture. Using the new video series produced in collaboration with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training, Antiracism as a Way of Being allows participants to explore what we mean by antiracism, how values guide action, and the ways embodying an antiracist posture leads to liberation for all. Participants will have the opportunity to explore this topic more in depth while attending the National Gathering in April 2024.

Community Organizing Skills

Mapping power and working on relational meetings are critical to the work of change. Learn how these skills are essential within organizations to understand and prime the landscape in which you hope change will occur.

Evaluation and Assessment that Lead to Change

How will you know if real change is taking place? Traditional metrics – such as membership counts, financial totals, and worship attendance – have proved inadequate for measuring effectiveness and healthy change. Learn about how to assess impact within your own context through guided teaching on NEXT Church’s resource Cultivated Ministry.

Preaching and Worship

Worship is at the center of congregational life, which elevates the importance of the preaching moment. Through a collaboration with Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, cohort participants will explore how the proclamation of scripture can be used to disrupt complacency and move congregations toward an embodiment of gospel values.

All cohort members from Colleague Cohorts are expected to attend the NEXT Church National Gathering from April 8-11, 2024 in Falls Church, VA.  Cohorts formed from a single congregation (Congregational Cohorts) must send 1-2 key leaders to the National Gathering.  Participants will attend a pre-gathering session on the morning of April 8.

Registration and the cost of a shared hotel room will be covered for participants. Travel expenses and other incidental costs will be the responsibility of the participant.

Participants from accepted cohorts will receive a coupon code to register for the gathering. Please do not register until you receive instructions.

Learn more about the NEXT Church National Gathering.

TIMELINE

  • November 8, 2023

    Application Process Opens

  • January 7, 2024

    Completed Applications Due

  • February 2024

    Cohort Selections Announced

  • March 2024

    Cohorts Begin Meeting with Coach

  • April 8-11 2024

    NEXT Church National Gathering

  • February 2025

    Midway Assessment and Evaluation

  • March 2025

    Year Two Begins

SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

Applicants are invited to schedule a consultation with LeAnn Hodges, Coordinator for the Preaching for Change Initiative, as they prepare proposals.