Leadership Focus 2022 Mini Virtual Conference

Curiosity, Creativity, and Collaboration in our Congregations!

February 21-26, 2022 | Virtual Workshops and Presentations via ZOOM

With 2022 being a Southern Province synod year, we typically take a year off from having a Leadership Focus event. However this year, with the new changes being brought on by our transition from the Board of Cooperative Ministries to the Commission on Congregational Development, this year’s Leadership Focus will showcase the upcoming work of the CCD and those involved in doing the work to push forward into 2022 and beyond.

We invite you to join us as we continue our shared provincial work with a growing vision towards the new things God is doing in the World and in our Church!

Activities this year will be scaled back compared to previous years, but here are some things to look for during Leadership Focus 2022:

  • Introduction to the members of the newly formed Commission for Congregational Development
  • Hear from Director of Congregational Development, Rev. Rebecca Craver
  • Get to see our revamped website and resource center
  • Experience opportunities to share with us the ways we can support you and your congregation in the areas of spiritual growth, community and mission!

There will be a variety of live and recorded content that we hope will encourage you and give you a sense of the ways the Commission will be moving with you into the future.

Workshop Schedule

  • How to Try: Design Thinking and Church Innovation

    • Monday, February 21, 2022 at 2 pm EST  RESCHEDULED Tuesday February 22, 2022 at 2pm EST
    • Hosted by Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija
  • Learning to Look for the Spirit of God In Our Midst: Practices to help us see where our needs and resources are in harmony
    • Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 9am EST
    • Hosted by Rev. Rebecca Craver, Rev. Christy Clore, and Rev. Rusty Rushing
  • Energize Your Church Through Listening
    • Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 7pm EST
    • Hosted by Joy Skjegstad and Heidi Unruh

How to Try: Design Thinking and Church Innovation
RESCHEDULED Tuesday February 22, 2022 at 2pm EST
Monday, February 21, 2022 at 2pm EST (1pm CST, 12pm MST, 11am PST)
1 hour workshop

What if tried and true methods from the corporate world could raise your ministry’s probability of success by a considerable margin? TryTank, a lab for church growth and innovation, has developed a fresh straightforward framework for experiments in new ministry based on research and interviews. With three clear steps, this framework can have a lasting impact on any church that uses it. You can even start innovating today, using this specific and actionable process within your church community.
This course is for you if:
  • You want to try new things!
  • You’re curious about design thinking.
  • You want to learn a few tools that can help you maximize your
    chance of success.
  • Want to find the steps to prove your idea before you invest too
  • You want to take away practical skills you can share with others, to
    help them think about new ways of doing things.

Scripture is full of examples encouraging us to try new works in the name of God. This 2-hour workshop gives the tools and templates for how to do just that, and to find God in the failures as well as the successes.

About the speaker:

The Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija. Photo courtesy of the speaker.

The Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija is the founding director of the TryTank, the experimental Lab for church growth and innovation. TryTank is a joint project between Virginia Theological Seminary and the General Theological Seminary. It offers inventive approaches to the challenges facing the Episcopal Church. He is responsible for the entire process of development and implementation of experiments for innovation in the church.

Prior to launching TryTank, Fr. Lorenzo was the Chief Development Officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. He also served as the Pastor on behalf of the Bishop at St. John’s Episcopal Church in San Bernardino, CA, and as priest associate at St. Athanasius Episcopal Church at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in Los Angeles. He studied at the General Theological Seminary in New York City where he earned his Master of Divinity degree.

Before entering seminary Lorenzo was president and CEO of Seraphic Fire & Firebird Chamber Orchestra, Miami’s professional choral and orchestral ensemble. He was also the Miami Program Director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation responsible for a substantial grant portfolio and the launch of the Knight Arts Challenge.

Learning to Look for the Spirit of God In Our Midst: Practices to help us see where our needs and resources are in harmony
Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 9am EST (8am CST, 7am MST, 6am PST)
1.5 hour Workshop

Join Rusty Rushing, Christy Clore, and Rebecca Craver for a round-table discussion where, together with workshop participants, we’ll explore the practice of looking for the Spirit at work, name examples of where we are catching glimpses of the Spirit of God in our congregations or communities, and then look for the clues we could follow together to enable the Spirit to help us capture the possibilities for ministry and transformation.
  • Experience a model of discussion that can be used in congregations to discern how the Spirit is moving in your community.
  • Connect with others in the province as we share time and ministry ideas for the future.
  • Practice listening for and exploring ministry ideas in a group setting.


About the speakers:
Photo of Rebecca Craver

Rebecca Craver

As Director of Congregational Development, Rebecca works with congregations and provincial leadership to provide resources and support their ongoing work towards greater health and vitality. She works to cultivate collaborative relationships between and among pastors, congregations, provincial and interprovincial agencies and other partners. Working with communities of faith, her passion for capacity building and innovation have shaped her 15 year career in ordained ministry. She has led communities in reimagining their structures, practices, and traditions as they embrace Jesus’ call, supporting them through organizational change, worship creation, and adult learning curriculum. Rebecca’s evenings and weekends are often spent investing in good conversation over a mocha, making new connections in the community, or delighting in the laughter of her children and spouse.

Photo of Christy Clore

Christy Clore

Full bio coming soon.

Photo of Rusty Rushing

Rusty Rushing

Since January 2021, Rusty has served as Pastor for Peace Church (Peace Moravian Church) and Little Church on the Lane, in Charlotte, NC, where he is presently leading them in the formation of a new collaborative ministry to better serve the Charlotte community. Prior to accepting his current call, he served as the Pastor of Peace Church for four years where he helped guide them forward into a new vision for ministry following the congregation’s decision to sell their facility and property in 2015.

In addition to his seven plus years in pastoral and ministry leadership, Rusty also has twenty-six plus years experience in various business development roles, including nineteen years as V.P. of Business Development for three start-up ventures in the healthcare industry.

Rusty has a Bachelors of Science in business administration from the University of South Carolina in 1987, a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2012, and Certificate in Moravian Studies from Moravian Theological Seminary in 2017.

Energize Your Church Through Listening
Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 7pm EST (6pm CST, 5pm MST, 4pm PST)***UPDATED***

At a time when so many people are tired, stressed, and uncertain, it is hard for churches to maintain current levels of activity let alone plan ahead. Sometimes we just need to pause to take a deep breath. For a church, a period of intentional, prayerful listening is like taking this rejuvenating breath.
If your church is feeling “stuck,” or in a state of malaise, or struggling to get enough people to run programs… taking a break for listening may be just what you need.
About the speakers:
Joy Skjegstad

Joy Skjegstad is a consultant and trainer who works with churches on developing clear vision, strategic direction, relational focus and really great community ministry programs.  She is the author of four books:   Real Connections; Seven Creative Models for Community Ministry; Starting a Nonprofit at Your Church; and Winning Grants to Strengthen Your Ministry.  She served as Executive Director of the Park Avenue Foundation at Park Avenue United Methodist Church, and as President of the Sanctuary Community Development Corporation at Sanctuary Covenant Church. She founded the Institute for Ministry Leaders at the University of St. Thomas, a program that builds management capacity for ministry.

Heidi Unruh
Co-author of REAL CONNECTIONS: Ministries to Strengthen Church and Community Relationships
Heidi Unruh is a trainer and coach, walking with ministry leaders from ideas to action. She develops practical resources to help church-goers connect with one another, care well for neighbors, walk alongside those who are vulnerable, and work toward the flourishing of their community. Books Heidi has co-authored include Real Connections: Ministries to Strengthen Church and Community RelationshipsChurches That Make a DifferenceHope for Children in Poverty; and Equipping Christians for Kingdom Purpose in Their Work. Heidi and her husband Jim are raising their family in Hutchinson, KS.