Innovator Learning Academy

The early church was a community of people called The Way. Jesus gathered His followers to walk along the way with Him, sending them to make disciples in order to renew themselves, the community, and the world. We continue this movement, this journey together, every day!  

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

-Matthew 28:18-20

Where we’ve been

You may have heard some of us on synod staff talk about our enthusiasm for Rev. Dr. Michael Adam Beck. He is the co-pastor of Wildwood UMC, where he leads his traditional parish and also supports the growth of small groups in the community known as fresh expressions (click here to see more about his ministry).

These groups are little new Christian communities led by people of faith that spring up in the neighborhood as “Fresh Expressions of Church.” A fresh expression is a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of those who are not yet part of any church. It’s a really neat model of discipleship and engaging our community beyond the walls of our church buildings.

Saturday morning Innovator Session

Saturday morning Innovator Session presentation slides (PDF)

Virtual Learning Session Slides led by Rev. Dr. Michael Adam Beck (PDF)

Where we are

Equipping leaders to make disciples and nurture new communities.

The Church of England defines innovators as: “people called by God who are the first to see and creatively respond to the Holy Spirit’s initiatives with those outside the church; gathering others around them as they seek to establish a new contextual Christian community.”

The Innovator Learning Academy will equip lay, ordained and commissioned innovators to cultivate new Christian communities and other forms of innovative ministry in their unique contexts throughout the Northwestern Ohio Synod.

Working in collaboration with a team of scholars and practitioners, pastors, cultivators and coaches, the academy values practice-focused learning, personal reflection, individualized coaching and mentorship, and collaborative conversation, directed towards multiplication.


Innovator Learning Academy App

Click here for application (Online)

Application Deadline: November 7

Where we’re going

During this formational time, we will provide a spectrum of engaging and immersive experiences to coach innovators to deeply listen to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their communities, and together pursue God’s mission.

View Roadmap

What is Church Exercise

Listening Rule of Life

Listening Audit

Prayer Walking Guide

50-50 Planner Worksheet

FX Start Up Sheet

In this time, it has been incredible to witness faith leaders creatively connecting with their communities. As we strive to love our neighbors, the Spirit calls us out.

We are funding a spectrum of engaging and immersive experiences to coach innovators, lay and rostered leaders, to deeply listen to the movement of the Holy Spirit in their communities, and together pursue God’s mission beyond the walls of our buildings.

Conducting the 2020 year-end campaign was the first step in funding this important work. Generous congregations and individuals gave more than $84,000 to support all who embark on this journey of renewal and transformation of our communities as we walk with Jesus to make disciples, nurture new communities and strengthen parishes.

On the Way is a movement that is genuine in its mission and vision, sustainable in its funding and operation, and structured to be replicated throughout Northwestern Ohio and beyond.