Intrepid Ministry. Digitally engaged.
In the Old Testament, only the priests could enter the Holy Place of the temple. The outer court, however, was the place where everyone had access, and could enter in as they wished to worship. When the veil tore upon Jesus’ death, God’s presence was no longer confined to the Holy of Holies. Today, God’s presence is not confined to our modern-day temples, but runs in and through our lives, on and offline, physical and digital. As leaders, we’ve got incredible opportunity to offer grace in those spaces as well. We must.
Welcome to Outer Courts
We’re taking a 6 month journey toward the frontiers of faith formation in today’s world – a digitally-connected, socially-networked, media-engaged world. We’ll explore, experiment with, and execute innovations in digitally-enabled ministry. We’ll share and learn tools, ideas, and strategy to keep our church doors open 24/7 via creative online engagement with our communities of faith. This experience is a combination of individualized coaching, dynamic training, action research, and a shared online learning environment. What you’ll gain can’t be found in a book or online. This will be transformative, innovative, and actionable.
The next Outer Courts cohort begins March 6, 2017.
Launch Gathering | Monday, March 6th · 11am CST via Zoom Video Conference (link to follow upon registration)
Phase 1 Gathering 1 | Tuesday, March 14th · 2pm CST via Zoom
Phase 1 Gathering 2 | Tuesday, April 4th · 2pm CST via Zoom
Phase 1 Gathering 3 | Monday, April 17th · 11am CST via Zoom
*Phase 2 dates to follow based on schedules and group agreement.
This is inclusive of a $100 deposit due upon registration. An invoice will be sent for the remainder. Scholarship support may be available. Just ask.
PHASE 1 · Listen & Discern | March – April 2017
During this phase, we will meet 2 times per month virtually as a large group. We will focus on learning new skills, exploring different platforms and integrations, and developing ideas on overall strategy.
We will also learn tools and ideas to analyze the current state of our digital presence. We’ll focus on measuring what matters most here, the engagement and relationship building happening in our digital spaces.
PHASE 2 · Prototype & Experiment | May – June 2017
During this phase, we’ll develop some small projects to try out in our own context. This might be a new social platforms, a certain website or communications project, or sprucing up part of our digital identity. We will then gather together 1-2 times as a large group, as well as 1-2 times in virtual small groups of people working on similar projects.
PHASE 3 · Reiterate & Implement | July – August 2017
In this final phase, we’ll get big picture and work toward a bigger project. We will develop your digital strategy mission statement, being working on the framework of your digital faith formation action plan, and create a project plan for a January 1st launch. We’ll work together to plan our gatherings during this phase based on needs. We will have more hours of individual and small group coaching during this phase as well. We’ll then gather as a large group 1-2 more times at the end of January to measure and share our learnings, and talk about next steps.
Ending in August prepares you for a Fall 2017 launch of one or more digital engagement experiments. Participants will have the option to continue as a cohort on their own, and also the option to extend through individual coaching with Jared at a discounted rate.
Why the focus on digitally enabled ministry?
People nearly always visit out digital spaces before we see them face to face. People find their faith communities by searching online, exploring social media, and hearing from others they trust. We’re can join them in the outer courts and meet them where they are, as Jesus did. We welcome them authentically and into our presence, and God’s presence.
Why a learning community?
This learning community model is a way to both dive deep in learning together, honing skills, and learning new tools and ideas. It is also a way to put immediately into practice the things we explore together by testing and experimenting, then sharing what we learn. Next we make new iterations, and then try again. This small community will become a network of people to support and learn with for years to come.
None of us has all the answers, but together we do. Harnessing that reality is the power of a networked learning community.
What do I need to participate?
- Excitement to take real steps forward in digitally enabled ministry
- 4-8 hours per month for online gatherings, small group conversations, and coaching. Implementation of projects will take extra time beyond this, depending on your individual goals and plans
- A decent internet connection. We meet via Zoom, a video conferencing system we love, almost exlusively. There are no in person gatherings planned.
- Support from other staff and leaders in ministry in order to implement action plans and have strategic conversations.
- A committed plan to complete the cohort experience.
How will we gather & complete our work?
For our large and small group gatherings, we’ll meet via video conference on a platform called Zoom.
In between, we’ll continue conversations via a private group on Facebook.
We’ll also set up an occasional individual or small group phone call.
You’ll also have Facebook and email access to the facilitator throughout the cohort.
We may use other platforms for different purposes like managing test projects and tasks, design, and communication.
What kinds of things will we explore together?
Participants in Outer Courts will help bring their churches to the frontiers of faith formation in digital space. You will learn new skills, strategies and tools in:
- What is digital strategy and why does it matter in ministry
- How and why to think digital in every aspect of ministry
- Concepts, ideas, and action steps to enable a faith formation focused digital presence
- Websites and smart content management
- Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube)
- Digital communications (email newsletters, etc)
- Digital identity, branding, and visual design
What will I leave with?
COMMUNITY & COACHING
- A community of co-leaders and co-learners for support and follow up
- Hours of coaching from digital strategy experts
- New perspective and practice rethinking our default to technical fixes into real, adaptive change
PROCESS & ACTION STEPS
- A process to follow for any ideation and innovation in ministry based in human-centered design concepts (4Ds)
- Important questions to ask when doing anything digital
- A clear launch plan for next steps following the cohort experience
TEMPLATES & TOOLS
- A Digital Strategy Mission Statement
- A framework for a Digital Faith Formation Strategic Plan
- A project plan for at least one major digital faith formation project
- A Church Brandbook template
- Some exposure to new tools for project managment (Basecamp, Asana), social media management (Hootsuite, Buffer), design (Canva), communication (Mailchimp), and evaluation (Survey Monkey).
Who should apply?
We seek participants who
- have a role in which they help strategize or execute digital strategy in their faith community
- are enthusiastic about real progress and alignment between digital space and overall mission
- are called to a congregation or organization that is enthusiastic about engaging in digitally enabled ministry
Meet the Facilitator
A congregation’s digital presence is their new front door, and it should feel just as welcoming as actually walking through the front door of the church. Jared Rendell combines website design and intentional digital strategy with coaching to help congregations cultivate an online presence that encourages deep engagement as a faith community. With a background in youth and outdoor ministry, Jared serves as a “translator” between technical language and the ministry of the church. He is passionate about helping ministries move forward by embracing technology for the formation of faith.
Jared is married to Anna, and has two children, Sam and Josie. They lead their church’s mid-week band-led worship service. Jared also coaches volleyball and designs other blogs and websites on the side.
Partner for Digital Strategies