Launch and Lead History & Mission

Launch and Lead originally launched in 2011 after increasing numbers of people from across the U.S. began to visit our missional communities (New Day and the Epworth Project) in Texas. People called, emailed, and traveled to spend time with us, and they were full of questions. We heard their longing to engage in missional community formation in their contexts. Each time another person or group came to visit we saw how inspired they were by seeing with their own eyes, new possibilities for the church. It became clear to us that God was calling us to share our learning processes—our successes and our failures—with others who are called to a similar journey. Launch and Lead was born.

In designing Launch and Lead we wanted to make it portable, taking it to different geographic regions in the form of localized training retreats and spiritual formation experiences. We also wanted to use distance learning technologies, so we established the six classes for Launch and Lead online. We wanted a contemplative practice to be at the heart of the two year program, so we determined that every geographic cohort would have a trained and gifted spiritual director who would work closely with students and instructors to help integrate the coursework into a life of prayer. We knew that a year of coaching would be essential to help students work with their lead teams to establish their new communities (something that happens during Launch and Lead), so we built coaching into the program. Finally, we wanted the program to be accessible and affordable so that ordinary people could receive the training. So the instructors develop the courses in ways that challenge people with advanced degrees in theology, yet are understandable and useful for persons with no college. In fact we find that persons without seminary training are often more able to grasp the paradigm shifts going on in culture and that are necessary for the church, than clergy who have been completely formed in systems that are now in decline.

Our first 2 cohorts (Alaska and Texas) agreed to go through the first year with us as a pilot, and they offered excellent feedback along the way that has strengthened subsequent cohorts.

We continue to learn from our communities here in Dallas/Ft. Worth, and we are learning from our students’ communities that are forming in diverse places. We are excited to offer Launch and Lead as a learning community that equips ordinary Christians to start and lead missional micro-communities.

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