The Persistent Parish: Pursuing Missional Movement in Cozy Congregations

with Leanne Friesen

We do not have to look far to find churches that are no longer the thriving congregations they once were. This can cause us great heartache. We can feel discouraged by the declining church engagement we see around us, and many of us long to find those ways to “fix” what seems to be an inevitable decline. Perhaps, as we seek these “fixes,” we find ourselves reading about “missional” churches or expressions. We may be inspired by creative initiatives and church plants. We see the possibilities of these new missional opportunities.

But for those of us who attend or lead in established congregations, these missional initiatives can lead to us feeling more discouraged than inspired. It can be hard to picture how many new expressions could fit within the long-standing churches where we may lead. Where would we fit these creative elements in the midst of our much-loved traditions? How would we create space for the new when we already need so much space for the old? And how could we ever expect our most faithful longterm members to manage the change required to become truly missional?

What You’ll Learn

This course will guide you in an exploration of the missional movement that invites you to:

  • Identify ways parishes struggle to make space for mission in the midst of longstanding practices,
  • Uncover best practices rooted in experience,
  • Build a culture of discipleship within your established parish,
  • Consider the relationship between mission and hospitality, and
  • Create space for questions, wonderings, and mutual learning.

How It Works

Join our instructor, Leanne Friesen, and an engaged learning community of fellow clergy and parishioners live online and in online forums.

  • Participate in six two-hour sessions with Leanne Friesen and the learning community. 
    The learning community will meet weekly on Tuesday afternoons, 3:00p – 5:00p, February 8 – March 15.
  • Practice in your context. 
    During the course you will be encouraged to apply your learning in your context to deepen your understanding. It is strongly encouraged that you participate in this course with at least one other member of your parish.
  • Reflect within the learning community. 
    Your new knowledge and experience will become even more meaningful when shared with other learning practitioners like yourself. You will use the online forums between sessions and break-out sessions with members of your parish taking the course to further integrate your learning.

Meet the Teacher-Practitioner

Leanne Friesen

Leanne Friesen is the Lead Pastor of Mount Hamilton Baptist Church, where she has pastored for sixteen years. In her time there, she has led her church through a renovation project, incorporation, restructuring, the hiring of new staff, and the church’s shift to becoming a more missional congregation. She is passionate about the local church and believes in the importance of individual parishes embracing their own unique roles and callings in their communities. Leanne is also a frequent guest speaker and teacher at retreats and conferences around the country. She writes at leannefriesen.com and has also recently started a project to support people who are grieving called “Grieving Room” on Facebook and Instagram.

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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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