ECF has responded to the changing needs of the Church by acting as an incubator for new ideas. Some of these ideas have evolved into successful programs. Others have provided important learning and testing opportunities that led to completely new opportunities. We are currently discerning ECF’s unique role in equipping adaptive, transformational leaders for the Church of the future.
A program that strengthened the lay+clergy leadership teams that are at the heart of the Episcopal Church’s many ministries. Vital Teams developed a two-day team training for Episcopal vestries, mission-committees, and other types of strategic leadership teams in congregations. It also established partnerships with seminaries and other leadership formation institutions across the Episcopal Church to place greater priority on teaching team leadership skills. Finally, Vital Teams developed a set of easy-to-use tools to help congregations identify individuals with strong team leadership skills, tools that can be applied in a variety of contexts including clergy search processes.
The Barnabas Project: Parish Life Education for Seminarians, New Clergy and Lay Leaders
The Barnabas Project was a 3-year pilot program that trained more than 550 emerging church leaders by providing parish life skills necessary for their congregations to meet the future needs of the Church. Barnabas addressed practical aspects of ministry that ordained leaders need to know and in which lay and clergy leaders need to share. Examples included budgeting, non-profit management, ministry and leadership roles, staff and volunteer development, managing change, vision & planning, communications and more.
For more than 12 years Fresh Start helped clergy and congregations effectively use times of transition as opportunities for self-reflection and transformation, ECF was a partner in Fresh Start from its inception. More than half the dioceses in the Episcopal Church have participated in Fresh Start programs, supporting those clergy in transition with resources, training, and networking opportunities. If you are a diocesan Fresh Start facilitator and wish to access the Fresh Start curriculum, please click here.
New Dreams New Visions (NDNV)
NDNV was a pilot project that addressed the growing number of small congregations that are unable to support full-time clergy and the growing number of retired clergy interersted in part-time ministry. Working with a targeted group of clergy and congregations over three-and-a-half years, the NDNV Pilot Project: developed effective support models for congregations moving from full-time to part-time clerg; equipped retired and retiring clergy to develop new ways of serving a congregation; celebrated small congregations that are vibrant, faithful communities engaged in God's mission in the world; advocated moving from an old model of “being gathered around the minister” to “being gathered around the ministry”. A final report on New Dreams New Visions is available here. The tools and resources developed are available below:
- Introduction for Diocesan Transition Ministers and NDNV Clergy [Exit Strategy]
- Introduction for Pilot Dioceses and Their Congregations
- Change and Transition: Doing a New Thing
- Church Size: Experience and Expectations
- Moving from Full-time to Part-time Clergy Leadership
- Gathering Around the Ministry
- Decision Making for Church Leaders
- Team Plus One: Ministry for All and All for Ministry
- Practicing Spiritual Discernment: Your Vestry as a Discernment Body for Ministry
- Parallel Development: Intentional Succession Planning