A free Advent resource for congregations in this season of pandemic discernment is available thanks to a Lilly Endowment grant administered by Central Baptist Theological Seminary and Pinnacle Associates.
“Preparing to Hear God’s Call” is a new downloadable Advent resource that is part of the “Reshaping Church” initiative. The booklet, which may be viewed online or downloaded to an e-reader or for printing, offers daily reflections, Scripture and questions for thought and discussion.
The resource will be used by the first cohort of 12 congregations beginning a 12-month plan to “make the most of this unique moment in time and to transform a season of uncertainty and crisis into an opportunity for clarity, growth, transformation and mission,” the seminary said in its announcement.
“It is a significant opportunity for Central to partner with Pinnacle Leadership Associates, and we look forward to strengthening our service to the local church by not only providing resources but also journeying with congregations as they discern pathways to flourishing for themselves and their communities,” said program director Angie Jackson.
The Advent resource is one early product of a $1 million grant Central Seminary received from Lilly last year. However, the arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 changed the intended course of the grant’s rollout.
“While we were eager to come alongside pastors and churches to partner with them toward flourishing, the pandemic pressed us to reconsider our approach to congregational transformation and leadership,” the project’s website explains. “These weeks of waiting proved useful for clarifying our own ideas about leadership while we learned from faith leaders in the field who were innovating and adapting week by week in response to local restrictions and recommendations aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus.”
Now, the Reshaping Church initiative will include congregational resources and support in the form of coaching and peer church clusters. In addition to the 12-church cohort currently beginning its work, churches are being recruited for cohorts that will begin in 2022, 2023 and 2024, with 16 congregations engaged each year. Churches desiring to know more about potential participation should contact Angela Jackson at [email protected] or (913) 667-5741.
The Advent resource, meanwhile, is available to any congregation that would like to access it.