Church Innovations’ Partners Post

May 27, 2009

Memorial Day and Memories

As we observed Memorial Day this past weekend, we took stock of how the past shapes the future.  How does the past at Paz or Faith or Bethlehem or Central shape the future there?  What from the past SHOULD shape the future?  What from the past do we NOT want to shape the future?  What happened at St. Barnabas and Our Saviour’s  that equips us for the challenges ahead? What are we learning?

You know that’s my operating question!

peace. Pat Ellison

May 18, 2009

Appreciating each group’s uniqueness

Filed under: Uncategorized — ptellison @ 11:01 am

In my work as Managing Director of Research and Development for Church Innovations, I get to read a lot of answers to a lot of questions.

Just think of it:

Every congregation or organization we help through a Discovery process asks of its members/participants 8 questions, questions that ask them to tell stories. If each congregation or organization interviewed just 4 people, that would be 32 stories!

But they interview 20-24 people.  That’s 160 to 192 stories!   For each congregation.   For each sub-group within an organization.

I recently read an interview collection from students at a major Christian university with a reading team here at Church Innovations.  We read their stories, told in 31,000 words.  We prayed over them and tried to put the patterns in those words into a report that will help their university to flourish.  The students have unique slants on that school and its gifts and its future.

Another team and I will read today an interview collection from a group of alumni of a national ministry program working in parks – 52,000 words in this collection  The stories they tell of their experiences ministering in unique places to complete strangers will weave a pattern that will help their organization discern its future.

The last Bremer Project congregation I read was Central Baptist Church in St. Paul.  Their collection of interviews also contained over 35,000 words. Imagine the stories they told particular to their location in the Midway in St. Paul. Imagine the friendships, the ministry, the connections they described! 

How good it is to see the Body of Christ at work in so many places as we read these interview collections and write our reports back to these good interviewers.  We can appreciate the unique gifts of each ministry and sometimes see things they don’t see about themselves, things God will use for God’s preferred future for their work.


Pat Taylor Ellison

May 7, 2009

What do you think of YOUR partners?

Filed under: Bremer Partnership,Uncategorized — ptellison @ 1:11 pm

I’m slow to blog this week, not because there’s nothing happening. We are reading a university, a ministry that works in the National Parks, and about a dozen congregations this month.

What am I learning?

  • That people really like to be deeply listened to, and that they like having their opinions and stories honored as part of a larger project. 
  • That people who have learned how to read and interpret interview responses never lose their knack for it – and are willing to continue doing it even when they become big shots somewhere else in the world.  
  • That God gives us good work to do, and we are blessed at Church Innovations to have wonderful partners.  Thank You !

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