What is Awaken Dane?
Awaken Dane is a two-year journey of intentional engagement in Christian practices that awakens participants to God’s activity in the community, sends them out into new spaces and relationships, and facilitates the sharing of these experiences with one another—all as means to discern God’s future calling. The outcome for churches will be:
- Engaging the neighborhood. Fostering learning about the neighborhood and city in which participants dwell is a primary element of this process, which is designed around rhythms of engagement with neighbors, and is enriched by plenary events.
- Embracing Christian practices. The steady rhythm of this process is a cycle of action and reflection as a primary practice of communal discernment. This discernment is fueled by a constellation of practices including breaking bread, group lectio Divina, listening, and conversation, hospitality, story-telling and innovation.
- Building community. Community emerges from time spent together; life-giving relationships come with laughter, listening, and honesty. In congregational teams, eight to ten people gather together over a two-year period to break bread, tell stories of their experiences in the community, engage with other congregational groups, listen to Scripture together, learn from local experts, and prayerfully discern what God is doing amongst them. The wider congregation will also be drawn into closer community through periodic gatherings open to the whole congregation, in which members of the congregational team will share their experiences and facilitate activities that are part of the Stepping Out process.
- Understanding trends. Pastors will gain a deeper understanding of key social and cultural trends such as the hollowing out of American community, the rise of “the nones,” and the loss in the West of a sense of God’s presence and action.
- Clarifying values and calling. At each gathering, through storytelling and conversation, participants will be invited to articulate and refine their developing values and sense of God’s call related to their congregation’s unique identity. This congregational process is shaped by the core practice of communal discernment of God’s agency in the local context. Gathering together all the stories shared and learning from the journey thus far, the final module guides the congregation in naming next steps for responding to God’s call.
- Strengthening leadership. Strengthening leadership practices is the primary focus in the monthly pastors’ learning community gatherings. Pastors will develop skills for cultivating a “community of interpreters” that is capable of discerning and acting upon God’s call. Similarly, the process will help congregational participants envision governance and leadership processes that prioritize communal discernment.
- Connecting with partners. In addition to developing relationships with the five partner organizations on this grant—each of which can support thriving—participating congregations will form meaningful connections with other churches in their own neighborhood and across the city.