Communities of Practice for CE/FF
Communities of Practice peer learning groups for people who work in Christian Education and Faith Formation
The Christian Education/Faith Formation Commission of our Wisconsin Conference offers a Communities of Practice (COP) program for educators each year as a parallel to the successful COP program for pastors in our conference. We hope you will pause briefly to consider whether you, as a faith formation leader, might benefit. Lay volunteer or paid leaders or staff involved in Sunday school, youth group, or overall education/faith formation work might be supported and enriched by involvement in a COP with others practicing ministry in similar ways.
- be composed of about six Christian educators/youth leaders from throughout the Wisconsin Conference;
- meet every four to six weeks for three hours at a day/time that is reasonable for those involved;
- meet at a central location when possible, and use technology to meet remotely when the weather is difficult.
Now is the time to talk with the volunteer or staff person in your church to see if they would like more support and enrichment to better practice their ministry. It will be the greatest gift you and your local church could give them to support them in connecting with others doing faith formation ministry. Please share this information with them. Groups start in September and run though May each year.
A community of practice is one that is intentionally focused on interaction and gathering wisdom from the perspectives and practices of group members.
There are three necessary interacting dimensions of a Community of Practice.
- The focus is ministry: There are topics, issues and concerns that form a common domain of interest that creates a bond among participants.
- The community is essential: Over time, trust develops in these relationships and members come to share their deepest questions, their expertise, as well as their uncertainties. Mutual accountability becomes a way of caring for one another.
- Knowledge is practice-based: Knowledge within a community of practice is developed and is tested through actual practice as it is refined into common wisdom. Skill develops within the group as it helps its members to craft practices that members can use to address specific issues or the growing edges of their ministry.
Wisconsin Conference Communities of Practice groups for Christian educators are facilitated by people who have served Christian education ministry, and have experience and training in group dynamics and training in the Communities of Practice facilitation model.
The Communities of Practice program is subsidized by OCWM contributions to the Wisconsin Conference, and participants are asked to make individual contributions of $250 per year. Ideally, this amount is paid through the general budget of the local church where the Christian educator is employed or is volunteering. Scholarship money is available. Please make that request when applying for admission to the program.
Questions? Contact Nita Fitzgerald