School of Ecclesial Life



SEL is for leaders and key people of smaller, newer (or retooling), parish-style churches. It’s a 21-month journey that guides your church to: examine, clarify and articulate your deepest values; enrich your communal life by exploring and adopting shared practices; and thoroughly re-examine your neighborhoods in order to serve them better. Thanks to a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, this opportunity is completely free of cost to all participants!

SEL – Overview

The world is changing, and that change is accelerating. “Business as usual” is a slow and certain death. We have a strong hunch that the Church’s new clothes will be fashioned principally on the margins, among the collective of newer, smaller, less risk-averse, neighborhood-centric churches & faith communities with flexible DNA. We know it’s not uncommon for churches of this type to feel unseen and under-supported in their work. This is precisely why we’re launching SEL. Our hope is that it will serve as an accelerant for the transformation of the Western church as we 1) support / pastor leaders of nascent, alternative faith communities; 2) put them in collaborative, learning communities of like-minded peers; 3) and provide them with the resources needed to thrive and implement their learning.

The first half of SEL (modules 1-5) guides each participating group through a deep exploration of values, practices and mission at the individual and team level. The second half (modules 6-9) facilitates a broad implementation of the learnings and outcomes into congregational life and mission. With the situation permitting, about half the modules begin with 2-3 day in-person retreats. The others begin with 1.5 day online retreats.

Each September for the next several years, starting in September 2021, we’ll accept up to 4 churches into SEL. David Nixon, the founding director of Sustainable Faith and founding pastor of Vineyard Central, will be the lead mentor and accompanist for the participating groups.

Inquiry Process

If you’re interested in learning more and being considered as a candidate, click the green button to the right to fill out & submit an inquiry.