Action Learning Experiments

Innovate in your context

Action learning experiments are learning tools -- they are a way for us learn by doing and behave our way into some new thinking.

Here are some examples of action learning experiments you might want to try in your ministry context:


Go to a summer neighborhood event, like a county fair or farmers market gathering, and set up a table with your church’s name displayed and bunch of strips of cloth on the table. Invite people to write down prayers they have on the strips of cloth and hang them on a display.

Sit on the Front Lawn

Set up some lawn chairs in the front of wherever you live and commit to sitting in those chairs on a regular basis. Pay attention to what is going on around you, who is outside, what is the neighborhood like, what do you think God might be doing in the neighborhood?

Spiritual Stories

After a parish spent time developing their capacity to listen to each others' spiritual stories, they decided to bring that practice into a ministry they are already involved in with women experiencing homelessness. Identify a ministry your church is already involved in where you could make deeper connections with neighbors and practice listening to their spiritual stories.

See a Baseball Game

Are their children in your parish or in your neighborhood who are engaged in a sport, music or art activity over the summer. Consider going to one of their games, recitals, or shows to show an interest in what they are doing. When you go, ask what God might be doing in the lives of all the people gathered there.

Eat with your neighbor

Consider developing enough relationship with a neighbor that you can share a meal with that person. See if you can ask that person to tell you one significant story about their spiritual journey during the meal and be willing to share your own.

a tool

Practice engaging your neighbors by borrowing something from them. Could be a lawn tool, a cup of milk, or something else.

This will put you in a place where you are vulnerable with your neighbors, allowing them to serve you.

Hang Out in a New Place

Maybe there was a place that you noticed when listening to your neighborhood that you’re not as familiar with. Consider planning to spend 30 minutes there several different times over the course of the summer. Who is there? What are they doing? How do you sense God’s presence?

Pray at the Laundromat

Go to a local laundromat several times over the summer. Get permission to set up a table, offer to pay for people’s laundry and also pray for them.

Design Your Own

Download this Word document to design your own experiment. Let us know how it goes!