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Augsburg’s Christensen Center for Vocation Launches New Congregational Partnership in 2021

A new year and new opportunity for churches


The new year brings a new partnership opportunity for congregations through Augsburg University’s Christensen Center for Vocation (CCV), supported by a new $1,000,000 grant Augsburg has been awarded through the Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. 

The Riverside Innovation Hub, an initiative of CCV,  will continue helping congregations live into placed-based vocational discernment in the public square for the common good through two-year learning communities of twelve congregations. The first learning community runs July 2021 – July 2023 and the second learning community runs September 2023 – September 2025.

Our congregational application will become available early February 2021 along with dates for  informational sessions and more details for congregations interested in considering this opportunity. Our CCV blog and Riverside Innovation Hub facebook page will continue to post regular updates. 


Place-based vocational discernment in the public square for the common good


The Christensen Center for Vocation orients its work towards place-based vocational discernment in the public square for the common good. This new opportunity is an invitation to congregations interested in pursuing or deepening this same orientation in their particular place, in relationship with the neighbor and neighborhood, leaning into God’s promises and challenges and that meet us there. 


PLACE-BASED: A claim that vocational discernment is always located in a particular place and the discernment process must take place in, with, and for that location. The particular matters.

VOCATIONAL DISCERNMENT: A way of moving through the world that allows us to be listening to God’s promises, the demands our neighbors’ stories place on us, and wondering how we are being called to respond.

PUBLIC SQUARE: Vocational discernment in the public square is done out in the open and outside our comfort zones in conversations with our neighbors, seeking to bring all perspectives to the table.

COMMON GOOD: This approach claims an orientation towards becoming neighbor and giving ourselves away to the common good of one’s community, not to maintaining our congregations or institutions.


The learning community structure


Congregations who partner with us in this endeavor will be joining a learning community. This is not a training, nor is it a train-the-trainer. The Riverside Innovation Hub sees itself as a convener, not a consultant. We gather as equals – curious and faithful communities desiring to learn and share new ways to be good news in our neighborhoods.

  1. Twelve congregations will be selected for each learning community. 
  2. Congregations will recruit a leadership team of five members to steward this work for two years.
  3. Each congregational leadership team will be in a cohort with three other congregational teams.
  4. Each cohort of four congregations will have a part-time facilitator who will be a paid staff member of the Christensen Center for Vocation.
  5. Each cohort will also have a mentor congregation who was part of the first five-year project with the Riverside Innovation Hub.
  6. The faculty, staff, and students at Augsburg University also become assets available to help partner congregations with their place-based vocational discernment.
  7. Every other month, these teams will either gather in cohorts or the entire learning community.
    1. Seven learning events for the entire learning community over the course of the two years. In-person if possible (otherwise they will happen virtually). At these events, congregational leadership teams will deepen and develop the knowledge base, skill set, and attitudes necessary to lead congregations towards becoming public churches.
    2. Congregational leadership teams will also gather every other month with their cohorts on-line or in person with their facilitator and mentor congregation for support and reflection on their learning and implementation.
  8. During the alternate months, congregational leadership teams will be expected to gather for regular leadership team meetings on their own to plan and work on integrating the Public Church Framework in their congregation.


Stay tuned for more information via our CCV website and Riverside Innovation Hub facebook page!