Faith Community Innovations

A 9 Month Process: 3 days of leadership development and program planning followed by collaborative learning through video conferencing

This is your invitation to create a participatory mission development process with up to 10 other innovative faith communities.   


About Faith Community Innovations

The intention of this process is to develop the capacity of a faith community to become agents of cultural change within the church system.  Activities intended to effect systemic change are very different than activities intended to create new programs within stable organizations.

For the church to move toward greater collaboration among faith communities by clustering and networking, there must be a shift in the ways we work with one another. There must also be a cultural shift in the self-perception of congregations as being independent and self-sufficient.

A few leaders from a select number of faith communities will be trained and supported over a period of 9 months to engage church and community members in small and large group conversations. The outcome of the conversations will be innovative emergent practices that have the potential to create a more collaborative church culture, relevant mission and ministry, and life-giving community.


Training and orientation

  • 2 or 3 key leaders from up to 10 communities of faith (or clusters) attend a 3-day training event.
  • Participants learn and practice Art of Hosting methods (world cafe, open space etc), learn to use the video conferencing platform and become familiar with the overall process.
  • Community of faith leaders will design a process to suit their own context. They will discern the right inquiry questions for the small groups and learn how to create meaningful conversations to foster a culture of innovation.

Small Groups — Learning, Discovering, Discerning

  • Each leadership team will implement the process in their context.
  • Local small groups meet 4 times to engage questions developed by the local team and “probe” the community of faith and their neighbourhood to learn where change is possible and where there are opportunities for discipleship and ministry
  • Teams will gather online with other faith community leaders through monthly video conference calls for collaboration and support.


Innovation Cafés & Safe to Fail Experiments

Innovation Café #1:

  • Small groups come together with the whole community of faith to host a world café style session to discover the themes and patterns that are emerging.
  • Together the community of faith will identify small changes and simple new ideas or activities to try, based on the themes and patterns emerging from their conversations.
  • Through open space sessions participants  propose “safe-to-fail” innovative experiments that can be tried over the next few months.
  • The faith community experiments with innovative activities for 4-6 months.
  • Small groups gather again for 3 sessions to probe and learn what is changing and how changes might be related to the experiments.

Innovation Café #2:

  • Another round of world café conversations is held by the community of faith.  Together they celebrate positive changes and share the learning from their experiments.
  • A second open space session helps them  create new “safe-to-fail” experiments (or amplify existing ones)
  • Leadership Teams will continue to discern where this new spirit is leading the community of faith and decides next steps.
  • The monthly on-line gatherings will be a place where ideas and challenges are shared and leaders are encouraged by others on the innovation path.

Your Leaders and Hosts

For the past 3 years, Joe Ramsay and Allan Smith-Reeve have been bringing Art of Hosting practices to faith communities of all sizes and configurations. This program is an opportunity to learn and put into practice their approach to changing church systems in ways that promote vitality, faithfulness and contextual relevance.

Allan Smith-Reeve


Greenwood United Church / Bedford House Community Ministry

Ordained minister, conversation host, social innovator, community activist, poet


Joe Ramsay

Joe Ramsay and Associates, Inc

Ordained minister, conversation host, organizational consultant, musician, singer-songwriter

Apply Now!

Interested in participating in this event? Complete the form on this page and indicate in 250 words or less why you believe this program would be a good fit for your faith community (or cluster of faith communities). We will let you know when the next Faith Community Innovations program begins. 

Faith Community Innovations Application