Reimagining Church

with John Bowen

Are you frustrated by the decline in church attendance and ministry participation at your parish? Perhaps you’re hearing the buzz around terms like “missional church,” “discipleship,” and “fresh expressions,” but are baffled about what those mean or how they might relate to your own parish. Or perhaps you are simply curious about whether a new perspective might help you and your parish engage differently with the gospel and with parish ministry.

This course seeks to define terms like mission and discipleship and to connect them in such a way as to inspire a new vision of the church that is life-giving for us and for the world.

The course is for anyone eager and willing to explore Christian faith in a fresh way that is at the same time ancient and yet relevant to today’s world. The course may not always be comfortable— changes in thinking and living are never easy—but it will be rewarding. It will also be demanding, requiring time and effort outside of the gathering times as well as inside.

What You’ll Learn

This course will introduce you to:

  • Core meanings of words like mission, discipleship, evangelism—and even church!
  • The skills of how to “read” a community, and
  • Some basic practices of a missional church.

How It Works

Join our instructor, John Bowen, and a community of fellow leaders and missional practitioners, live online.

  • Participate in six, two-hour sessions with John and the learning community. 
    The learning community will meet weekly on Tuesday evenings, 7:00p – 9:00p, October 4 – November 8.
  • Practice in your context. 
    Each week, there will be practical assignments for you and your parish team to carry out in your neighbourhood in order to apply what you are learning.
  • Reflect within the learning community. 
    Your new knowledge and experience will become more meaningful when shared with other learning practitioners like yourself. There will be the option of online discussions between sessions to further integrate your learning. Once the six-week course is over, there will also be the option, for any teams who are interested in going further, for a six month follow-up course, with Saturday meetings once a month. NB: taking Reimagining Church in no way commits you to this option. You can decide once Reimagining Church is over.

Meet the Teacher-Practitioner

John Bowen

John Bowen is Professor Emeritus of Evangelism at Wycliffe College in Toronto, where he taught courses on evangelism, culture, church planting, preaching, and C.S. Lewis. Before that, he worked as a campus minister and evangelist for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. His new book, The Unfolding Gospel: How the Good News Makes Sense of Discipleship, Church, Mission, and Everything Else (Fortress, 2021), is helpful background reading for this course, but is not required. He and his wife Deborah, a retired English professor, have four wonderful grandchildren and are long-time members of St. John the Evangelist in Hamilton.

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We acknowledge with respect the history, spirituality, and culture of the Indigenous peoples with whom the Upper Canada Treaties were signed and the territory wherein our church resides.

The Niagara School for Missional Leadership is a part of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara.

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