Learning Communities

Learning Communities provide challenging self-directed learning opportunities for Church leaders to pursue questions of importance.

When the “right people are called to the right table to address the right questions” both wisdom and courage flourish.

TMF Learning Communities are essential gatherings where clergy and lay leaders are provided a safe environment for frank, honest discussion about the tough issues facing the Church.

Learning Communities inspire courageous thinking and innovations through peer-learning experiences. These small groups, comprised of leaders strategically positioned to bring about change in the Church, provide a safe space for wrestling with issues facing the Church and the challenges of leading through change. They also offer opportunities for new ways of learning and understanding through the encouragement and nurturing of peers who share the journey. Each group is by invitation and is facilitated by exceptional leaders in the Church.

Current Learning Community Groups:

  • Thought Leadership Group, facilitated by Gil Rendle, a gathering of select leaders in the church for the sake of challenging and supporting one another in pursuit of new ideas, models or strategies that will help other leaders pursue their God-appointed missions
  • Entrepreneurial Pastors Group, facilitated by David McNitzky, comprised of younger pastors appointed to larger congregations in order to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in their leadership for the Church, specifically the deep spiritual courage to take risks for the sake of the mission of the Church versus minimizing risks for the sake of preserving the institution
  • Executive Pastors in larger Churches, facilitated by Mike Bonem, comprised of leaders who are tasked with implementing systems to help the Church navigate a changing landscape
  • Deep Change Group, facilitated by Mike Bonem, comprised of executive associates in larger churches who have responsibility for implementing deep change in and through their church
  • Second Chair Leaders Group, facilitated by Mike Bonem, a third group comprised of executive associates in larger churches who have responsibility for implementing deep change in and through their church (new 2016)
  • Worship Leaders Group, facilitated by Dave Wilson, comprised of leaders who have responsibility for non-traditional worship in their church and how music and worship can facilitate reaching beyond the walls of their church
  • The South Central Jurisdiction Bishops’ Conclave, facilitated by Gil Rendle, comprised of the active bishops of the SCJ jurisdiction for the sake of creating balcony space to focus on leadership in a changing environment
  • First Year SCJ District Superintendents, facilitated by Lisa Greenwood, focusing on understanding the role of a Missional Strategist
  • Continuing SCJ District Superintendents, facilitated by Lisa Greenwood, focusing on living into the role of a Missional Strategist
  • Texas Large Congregation for Senior Clergy, facilitated by David McNitzky, focusing on the unique role of the senior leader of a large church and giving balcony space for peer learning and support 
  • Conference Leadership Directors, facilitated by Lisa Greenwood, comprised of cabinet level conference staff who have responsibility for leadership development and who are making significant shifts toward the adaptive leadership needed for the church’s mission today
  • President’s Advisory Council is comprised of lay persons for the purpose of expanding the adaptive conversations occurring throughout the TMF circles
  • Edge Organizations and Entrepreneurial People, facilitated by Gil Rendle, provides a unique peer group learning experience for leaders of “edge organizations and entrepreneurial people.” TMF President, Tom Locke, is a member of this group, along with leaders from a variety of denominations and entities across the nation
  • Other occasional gatherings address specific needs or issues in the Church. For example, TMF gathered the South Central Jurisdiction Board of Ordained Ministry leaders to address issues of clergy effectiveness and the disconnect with the processes of the Church


Learning Communities Facilitators

  • Mike Bonem
  • Lisa Greenwood
  • David McNitzky
  • Gil Rendle
  • Carole Somers-Clark
  • Dave Wilson


What Church Leaders Are Saying About Learning Communities:

"Thanks to my participation in TMF Learning Communities, I've experienced success in challenging churches to do the hard, intentional work that takes time and patience. Rather than rushing the process and looking for quick and easy fixes, I now have several congregations who are engaged in the kind of transformational work that truly impacts communities and makes disciples."

— Fred Leist, Pastor in the Missouri Annual Conference.