Whitworth University's Office of Church Engagement: The Ekklesia Project
OCE serves a selected group of churches (8-10 per year) which enter into a 2-3 year process of developing new forms of ministry capable of effectively engaging people in their specific geographic, demographic, and cultural context. This partnership develops through a four step process: 1) intentional spiritual formation of the leaders (pastors, elders, and other key leaders) in a communal process of scripture reflection, individual and group prayer, and relational bonding, all with a view toward leading the congregation into an intentional process of vision-casting for the future of the church; 2) learning and recording the story of the church through an intentional process of oral-history recording facilitated by an OCE-trained Whitworth student who will come and live in the midst of the congregation for a summer; 3) cultural analysis of the church's context, facilitated by OCE-trained Whitworth faculty, staff and students; and 4) planning and implementing new forms of ministry with the people who live in the neighborhood. Applications for the Ekklesia Project will be available on the OCE website in the early fall, with selection process complete by mid- November in order to facilitate a January start for the new cohort of Ekklesia Project churches. The cohort for 2015 will be based primarily in the Pacific Northwest, with expansion to other west coast sites in 2016.