Cultivate Community

Christian communities need to be centers of deep listening, where God's presence is named and life-giving relationships are formed across all dimensions of diversity, both within and beyond the church.


The world is changing. 

Stay up to date on the latest research, resources, and reflections exploring how to cultivate Christian faith in the 21st century. 

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May. 16, 2013

Being Church Beyond Our Walls

Did you read Amanda Nelson’s thesis yet? If not, it is posted at the bottom of the previous post. I want to commend Amanda on her work in digging into what the church needs to learn about the spiritual lives on young adults. Her stories of young adults are similar to so many stories of young people in our contexts.
May. 03, 2013

Rethinking “Welcome”

“A radically welcoming community seeks to welcome the voices, presence and power of all people — especially those who have been defined as The Other, pushed to the margins, cast out, silenced and closeted — so they can help to shape the congregation’s common life and fulfill the reconciling dream of God.” Stephanie Spellers, Treasurer, Canonfor Missional Vitality, Diocese ofLong
Apr. 30, 2013

Open your eyes to the community around you

By Eric Elton, Mission Outreach Director at Prince of Peace Church in Burnsville, MN Ah yes … the mission trip.  As many of us know, on these trips, God often takes us to a new mountaintop place.  A place we may have never been before spiritually.  We return home … we are fired up … we are going to trust
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Mar. 21, 2013

What a Psychologist would say happens to young people on a mission trip

By Andy Sahl “It’s like my first world problems really are first world problems.”  I could hardly believe the words came out of her mouth as we sat in a circle reflecting on our trip to Bolivia this summer.  One of our very high functioning, gifted, intelligent kids reflected that the “joke” she had been repeating for the last year
Dec. 01, 2012

How to be an un-welcoming congregation

[Author’s preface: In my travels I have visited many churches (mainly Lutheran) and have experienced both the best and the worst in terms of how congregations welcome or do not welcome outsiders. Some well-intentioned efforts go awry and can be counter-productive. Sometimes the effort is not even made to welcome newcomers. I have the impression that many congregations are not
Nov. 20, 2012

Really, I’m not that different…

I read articles all through seminary like “Spiritual Nomads,” an article The Lutheran published to offer their explanation about what makes us Millennials tick (i.e. why don’t we come to church).  I used to read these articles and wonder myself why my peers didn’t go to church.  What wasn’t working for them?  What was I getting that they weren’t?  Now
Sep. 06, 2012

Digging deeper into missional identity

This video explores a common struggle in many mainline churches: how can churches address their lingering “establishment” assumptions and practices in a world in which they are increasingly displaced from cultural privilege? How can churches reenvision their relationship with their neighbors in the 21st century? Dwight Zscheile proposes a more radical approach for hospitality and mission that comes from Jesus’
Aug. 16, 2012

What is hospitality in a multicultural church?

  Recent doctoral graduate, Harvey Kwiyani, talks about his dissertation research which involved working with three multicultural congregations in the Twin Cities area.
Sep. 30, 2011

Moving with the Spirit, engaging race and diversity

This week at Luther Seminary we honor Jane Buckley Farlee with the annual Race, Church and Change award. Her work with Trinity Lutheran Congregation, the only Christian community in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis (which is predominately Somali Muslim), demonstrates the flow and vibrancy of the Holy Spirit in that context.
Jul. 25, 2011

Listening, leadership, ethnography

Dori Baker reflects on the benefits of an “ethnography of hope” at the Alban blog. She quotes Thomas E. Frank, a seasoned observer of church life, noting that he “writes about turning to ethnographic practices of listening as a way to escape what he perceived to be market-driven perspectives prevalent in church-improvement literature. He found most of that writing to