Four Key Renewal Conversations


May 16, 2017


Donna Claycomb Sokol and L. Roger Owens


When congregations need renewal, we often look for proven strategies we can apply. But that is not what we need. We need to know how to host the conversations out of which renewal will emerge. There is no quick fix. This workshop will introduce participants to four key conversations that can lead to congregational renewal, and provide the space for participants to imagine how they can take these conversations into their own contexts.

The four key conversations are:

  • The Pruning Conversation. We often think about ministry as “adding,” and certainly renewal often means new adventures in ministry. But we don’t start there—we start by asking the difficult question: What are we doing now that should stop, so that new fruit might burst forth.
  • The Vision Conversation. Pastors and lay leader have been told for a long time that a church needs a clear vision of where they want to be in a few years. But is that really the case? This conversation challenges that assumption, and offers a liberating view of vision as a landscape within which a congregation seeks to live and serve.
  • The Strategic Planning Conversation. We’ve also been told that we need a clear plan to get to our vision—a roadmap. But this conversation invites congregations to think about a process of discerning next steps in ministry, rather than writing a well-defined map. This refreshing approach will inspire leaders to tackle planning differently.
  • The Mission/Evangelism Conversation. For too long mission and evangelism have been distant cousins, kept at arms-length from one another. But renewal can come when we learn to hold them together. A renewed sense of how mission and evangelism relate can inspire deeper and more holistic engagement with our communities.


Any pastor, staff, or lay leader in a congregation that is seeking some kind of renewal, and is tired of quick fixes and church growth conferences and one size fits all approaches.


May 16, 2017

11:30 a.m. Chapel ~ "Everything" Scripture: Acts 2:42-47 with Donna Claycomb Sokol

1:30 p.m. Workshop on "A New Day"

4:30 p.m. Adjournment



Registration is $10 and with it you will receive a copy Sokol and Owens' 2017 book, A New Day in the City, published by Abingdon Press.

If you are unable to be with us on May 16 but have an interest in this topic, Drs. Sokol and Owens' book can be purchased via the Seminary Virtual Bookstore. Simply select the Continuing Ed tab and add the book to your cart.