The term “Community of Practice” may be new to you, but it has been increasingly used in many settings over the past ten years or so, from educational settings to corporations to groups of friends learning a new skill. As Etienne Wenger-Trayner, a leading author on the subject, has written,
Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor: a tribe learning to survive, a band of artists seeking new forms of expression, a group of engineers working on similar problems, a clique of pupils defining their identity in the school, a network of surgeons exploring novel techniques, a gathering of first-time managers helping each other cope. In a nutshell: Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
RoadMakers is a year-long Community of Practice which will explore an active, creative, vital kind of Christian life. It’s designed for anyone of any age seeking a fresh way to experience and practice their faith, long-term Christians seeking new vitality, and those who feel out of place in traditional church circles.
Our “road map” for the year together will be Brian McLaren’s new book, We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation. In just over 52 short readings, McLaren offers a simple curriculum of insightful reflections and transformative practices. Organized around the traditional church year, these readings give an overview of the whole Bible and will guide us through a year of rich study, interactive learning, and personal growth. (Ebooks are about $13; hardcovers will be available for $17.50.)
Here’s an overview of three things you can expect if you take part in RoadMakers.
1. Monthly gatherings, which will include a meal
We’ll have an initial gathering and potluck meal together on Sunday, September 21, 12:15 PM in Wesley Hall. The monthly gatherings will be facilitated by Tim Gossett, C/W’s Director of Discipleship. (Tim has been helping church staff and volunteers to create Communities of Practice as part of an association called Christians Engaged in Faith Formation and is excited to start one here.)
Future meeting times will vary based on the desire and availability of the group but will include a monthly meal at a restaurant, home or at the church. It is hoped that everyone will make a strong effort to make these gatherings a priority for the ongoing benefit of the Community of Practice.
2. Community gatherings
Participants will be invited to consider meeting with other RoadMakers periodically at times that are convenient. For example, a group of three or four might gather weekly for coffee or after Wednesday night Soup Supper; another group might communicate less frequently via email or Google Hangouts. These meetings might last from 20-30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the level of sharing and conversation desired. Further, the hope is that everyone will get to know many people in the Community of Practice over the year, not just a few; so, we’ll try to stay in touch about when we’re meeting via email or Facebook.
3. Weekly readings and reflective action
Participants are expected to read roughly one short chapter per week and to put into practice what they are learning. In other words, this is not solely a book study but a guided engagement of a spiritual life.
Ready to take part, or have some questions first?
Contact Tim Gossett, 292-6936 x35 or by email.