TMF's Learning Projects enable deep learning in a rapidly evolving environment.
Supporting experimental gatherings, projects, and initiatives that demonstrate a potential for new, adaptive approaches and insights for responding to challenges facing the Church.
In addition to Learning Communities, another TMF platform is learning projects, which may take the form of a one-time event/conversation or an on-going experiment for the purpose of learning around a significant issue facing the church’s ability to live out its mission. These projects are often the place where TMF engages its own learning agenda. While Learning Projects may, over time, develop into scalable projects, TMF’s primary interest is in supporting initial, innovative efforts for testing the feasibility of new solutions and the effectiveness of the outcomes provided.
Current Learning Projects:
Future Faith Communities
Beginning with a gathering called the FORUM ON WESLEYAN POTENTIAL held in Austin in December of 2015, TMF is exploring the ways people are gathering in order to deepen their faith outside the traditional structures of congregational life. We continued this conversation with the DENOMINATIONAL LEADERS GATHERING in January 2017. Who is leading those faith communities? How and where are they gathering? How do these communities sustain themselves financially outside traditional funding structures? What role, if any, does an Annual Conference or other denominational structure have in supporting these efforts? These questions and others are fueling TMF's learning in this area. View the video from December 2015.
Legacy Church Project
Some predict as much as 35% of United Methodist churches nationwide will close in the next two decades. What is the strategy for how to reach the mission fields where those churches exist? How might those church assets (people, buildings, resources) be focused toward the mission of the church before they are all depleted? These are the questions driving TMF’s Legacy Church Project, an initiative in which we consider the information and resources required to foster new strategies for addressing these issues. We have gathered a national team, outside the TMF staff, to participate in the next steps of this project. This team will work with three pilot conferences to implement an integrated strategy around identifying and resourcing potential legacy churches. Read a summary of the pilot gathering of the Legacy Church Project held on June 29 - July 1, 2015.
Year Round Stewardship Pilot Project, North Texas Conference
This is a collaborative project with TMF and Horizons Stewardship to give churches a platform for peer learning and resources by which they might establish a year round stewardship process in their church for the sake of creating a culture of generosity. Seven churches are involved, with each church represented by a team of the senior pastor and two to five key lay persons. The cohort meets four times during a calendar year with follow-up meetings in between via video conferences and visits by TMF Area Representatives. The intent is to test the effectiveness of this learning platform and, if effective, to scale it for use throughout Texas and New Mexico.