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Transforming From Within: Reflections from Cohorts

A drop of water in a lake or river rippling out. Ducks and an eagle are in the horizon along with the sun set. Trees are red and brown along the sides. Geoffrey’s Reflection

Peace friends,

So far, in our shared journey of faith and community, an essential truth emerged: real change begins within. As Lauryn Hill insightfully puts it, “How you gonna win when you ain’t right within?” This feels like it resonates as a deep undercurrent with our congregations’. .

We’re on a mission, not just to extend our sacred influence into the neighborhood but to first cultivate it within our own teams. It’s a process of aligning our hearts and minds, ensuring our internal compass is set towards genuine humanity.

This isn’t just about strategy; it’s about soul-searching. We’re engaging deeply with each other, understanding that to truly touch our neighborhood, we must first be united and aligned in our purpose and vision.

As we undertake this internal journey, we’re igniting a transformation that extends beyond our walls. We’re becoming the change we want to see, equipped to be sacred spaces in our neighborhood’s story, whether it’s filled with joy or echoes with grief.

This path we’re embarking on is and will be progressively challenging, yet incredibly rewarding. As we align within, our capacity to impact our neighborhoods grows exponentially. We’re not just changing – we’re evolving, ready to make a real ripple in the world around us.

Brenna’s Reflection

October brought the first of many cohort meetings for this round of the Riverside Innovation Hub journey. We met at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bloomington, sharing in the rich history and context of their space. We heard their team members tell stories of teen lock-ins and Sunday school classes held in the room where we met from multiple generations in the past to today. Over the next year, each of our congregations will get a chance to host a cohort meeting in their space so that we can all get a taste of their place and story as we build relationships together.

This first cohort was centered around learning how to build relationships both with each other and with our neighbors. We discussed moving past surface conversation with deep listening and intentional questions to discover the essence of the person we are talking to – their passions, their strengths, their story – what makes them a unique and irreplaceable force in this world. 

Team members interviewed each other and then brought their findings back to the group through an introduction of their partner to the rest of us. The cohort members engaged really well and built relationships quickly with one another, many of them complaining when they had to stop building relationship and come back to the group. Hearing them share the strengths and passions of someone they had just met was really amazing, they dug deep and got to the essence of the other person so well. The room felt like family by the end of the night with playful banter and genuine appreciation for each other. 

I am incredibly excited for this journey with this group of people. They are ready to grow together and invest deeply in knowing and being known, both with each other and with their neighbors. The gifts and talents that each of these individuals bring to the space makes their teams stronger and, when invested in their communities, will make their corner of the world better.