This is the time of year that many of The Emerging Journey groups are beginning to see that the end is in sight, and some in your groups may be wondering, “OK, what’s next?” If that’s the case, let me suggest some “next steps” for your participants and possibly your church in the bigger picture of the VP3 process.
1. Consider The Equipping Experience. This is a natural next step for those wanting to continue the discovery process begun in the Emerging Journey, with a particular eye towards the skills associated with leadership. Like Emerging, it is an 8-9 month process in four stages that adds to the development of your character the development of practical skills for doing the work and activity of leadership. It is intended to have mentoring relationships for discipleship, coaching, and spiritual formation; timely events for motivation and discovery of important leadership lessons; and the development and implementation of ministry projects and experiences. Many new ministry initiatives have been spawned from The Equipping Experience groups. As a church you might consider it a training ground or R&D for new ministries or ‘missional communities’.
2 a. Utilize The Enriching Conversation. ER is the third in our series of developmental processes. It is a 6-8 month small group process, which invites participants to explore together the work of developing others as Christian leaders. Participants are required to have completed the Emerging Journey, while the Equipping Experience is recommended, but not required. Participants are challenged to build on the discoveries of their Emerging Journey and The Equipping Experience by exploring the importance of (1) intentionally cultivating their inner lives as Christian leaders, while at the same time (2) intentionally developing others as leaders for their lifelong development as Christian leaders. In feel, it resembles more of the self-reflection and discovery of The Emerging Journey, but seeks to help participants develop habits and a focus of finishing ‘the race’ well, while paying attention to the development of others.
2 b. Come to The Enriching Retreat. Each October we kick off the year with a retreat together with participants, facilitators and other guests from various churches across North America. We have designed this experience to be a context of shared thought, preparation, and prayer for the year. All Enriching Conversation participants & facilitators are invited, as are VP3 ‘alumni’ wanting to find refreshment and spiritual encouragement. This year’s Enriching Retreat is being held at the Green Lake Conference Center in beautiful Green Lake, Wisconsin, October 5-7.
3. Be Trained as an Emerging Journey or Equipping Experience Facilitator. Some in your group have a God-given capacity to pay attention to the development of others and would be great facilitators of groups within your setting. Consider ‘investing’ in their development as fellow ‘laborers’ in the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. Your willingness to identify them, and invest in their lives in that way can be invaluable in their growth and in the growth of your church.
4. Cultivate some new Emerging Journey participants by introducing Growing Up to your small group(s), Sunday School class, or Ministry Team. Growing Up is an 8-session conversational group study that introduces some of the themes of the Emerging Journey. It might be a great Summertime study that could transition into an Emerging group in the Fall.