Learning Communities are the primary 3DM training process to help church leaders put Discipleship and Mission at the center of everything they do.
Is it just another conference?
Put simply, no.
While there is nothing wrong with conferences, the famous speaker with the great story on the main stage isn’t going to come down and walk with you week by week, month by month, as you go to the places God is calling your community. Often, the outcome is that people go away with many pages of notes and good ideas but without having had the chance to reflect, discuss, plan and decide how to implement what has been learned.
A Learning Community, on the other hand, is a series of 3-day immersion experiences with a team of 3-7 people from your church that incorporates main stage teaching and input with tactical training, expert coaching, and a chance to experience Missional Communities and Huddles. This all concludes with the creation of a six month plan that your team creates for your local ministry context. We recognise that every church leader and city is dfferent and your plan needs to reflect those nuances.
These immersion experiences happen every six months, with four gatherings over a two year period. In addition, there is regular coaching on a Huddle conference-call.
This might sound like a significant investment of time over a two year period. It is. If it were possible to impart the skills, tools and vehicles necessary to achieve everything God is calling you to with a smaller investment of time, we’d do that. But after working with nearly a thousand churches in the United States, Europe, and beyond, we know there is no short-circuiting the process.
Workshops are an opportunity to hear how things like Huddles (a discipleship vehicle) and Missional Communities (a missional vehicle) have been used to see discipleship and mission come alive in church communities. They are a time to look at some of the things we’ve learned in the past 20 years, dealing with post-Christian contexts where as little as 1% of people attend church. You’ll receive teaching, discussion, breakout time with your team, a chance to actually experience something of Huddles and Missional Communities. The attendance at a workshop is intentionally capped at a lower number so you have a large amount of access to the 3DM team and whatever expertise/experience we can bring to the table.
If you’re interested in seeing some different approaches to discipleship and mission, these workshops are a great place to enter into that discussion for you and your team.
beyond a learning community
The relationship that is established with participants does not end once the 2 year cycle finishes. We continue to support and equip these churches through communities of practice; ongoing coaching and leaders’ gatherings. We also invite those who have been through the process to share their experience of implementing and innovating the principles in their contexts with new LC participants. Again, this is not about simply gaining more information, but about joining a movement where you can reflect, discuss, plan, be accountable and learn from one another. If you’d like to connect with someone and hear more about this, get in touch here
what people are saying about learning communities
Alan Hirsch | Writer, missional thinker and activist
In all of the missional training I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot over the years), I have not seen discipleship and mission taken as seriously or as practically as I have in a Learning Community (LC), What 3DM offers is a tremendous wealth of experience, but also great ideas and a great way of delivering them.
Brandon Schaefer | Southland Christian Church | 15,000+ people
The reality is that without out two-year Learning Community we would have spent 40 years in the desert – wandering, trying to figure out Discipleship and Mission on our own. Thanks to the 3DM Learning Community we crossed the desert and made the transition in a few years rather than a few decades. Our Learning Community gave us the teaching, tools and strategies to implement our plans in accordance with God’s leading and with the confidence, accountability and support to make it all happen.
Ben Sternke | Christ Church Ft. Wayne | Church Plant
We always knew we wanted to plant a church centered on Discipleship and Mission, but until we joined a Learning Community, they were just words on our website. Now we are actually building a culture of discipleship and seeing mission take off from a grassroots level. 3DM’s 20+ years of wisdom and experience combined with an innovative and effective approach to learning have helped us feel like we have friends and mentors on the journey.
Scott Marshall | Trinity Church | Medium-sized church
Learning Communities gave us a reproducible model for planning that did two things: First, it helped us look honestly at where we were as a church. Second, it gave us real practical help (as opposed to nice theory) that is helping us move toward where we know God is already calling us.
find out more
If you’re interested in joining an LC or would like more information, please click here to make a connection with one of the 16NINE regional teams who carry out this work in Europe.