Over the past few weeks, we’ve introduced you to the Connections Project, a three-year, grant-funded experiment to develop new ways of connecting congregations in the CRC to resources. With three teams of local leaders equipped to be “resourcers” working with congregations in 12 classes in the US Midwest, Southern California, and Southern Ontario, the project is hoping to help congregational leaders connect more efficiently and effectively with resources for ministry.
So, what have we been learning? The teams are only six months into their work but already we’re discovering:
- there’s a huge number of resources available for congregations: books, coaches, cohorts, consultants, curricula, institutes, institutions, peer groups, programs, websites, etc.
- congregations are often unaware or unsure of what’s available, especially when it comes to resources created or offered by CRC ministries and agencies
- wading through what’s new, what’s been updated, and what fits a specific context can be an overwhelming task
- many congregations are looking for resources to help them learn to engage with the community around them, discover new ways to do ministry with teens and young adults, and recruit and retain volunteer leaders
- many denominational ministries have projects and people at work in the regions but it’s often hard for congregations to understand who’s doing what and how the various parts work together or overlap
- there isn’t a streamlined or user-friendly way for congregations to call, click, search, or browse for helpful ministry resources
While our work is limited to churches in our 12 classes, our guess is that these findings ring true for many churches across the CRC. Our hope is that we can use the Connections Project as a learning lab of sorts to discover better ways to serve all our congregations.
We’d love to hear from you about your experience searching for, discovering, and contextualizing resources for ministry. How easy is it for you to find useful tools for ministry? What do you wish was easier about the process? Where do you turn to find resources for your congregation?