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10 things you need to know from the experimental lab

1. Social Enterprise Provides Jobs and Revenue

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in the NorthPark area of San Diego recently offered their kitchen to some parishioners to start a social enterprise, Mama Africa Catering. The goal was to create jobs for entrepreneurial church members and revenue for the church. TryTank stepped in to see how geo-targeted advertising on social media could help. In a month’s time, the results brought in 38 new subscribers (more than $3200 in revenue). This proved that the neighborhood was very willing to support the social enterprise efforts of the church and that the church could think of new revenue sources for its missional work. 

2. NC Church participating in Facebook Experiment gets 12 new visitors

As TryTank continues to experiment with the evangelistic possibilities of Facebook in reaching people open to the Christian message but who have no relationship to the church, Trinity Episcopal Church in Mt. Airy, NC has started to see tangible results. Trinity offered a Zoom book club based on Bishop Michael Curry’s latest book. The book club was promoted through targeted ads on Facebook and the church received more than 100 RSVPs. When the church started gathering in person post-pandemic a few weeks ago they counted 12 new visitors. The experiment continues to determine the direct correlation to the book club. 

3. New Experiment for Engaging People with Disabilities in our Churches 

On average, ten percent of a community’s population is made up of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. At the same time, these are also some of the most unchurched people in America. TryTank is launching a new experiment creating a cohort of churches to work together to engage this population applying a proven method used by our partner in this experiment.  We are currently looking for partner congregations. An information session will be held on July 27 at 11 am PST (2 pm EST). To register for it, simply hit reply and let us know.  

4. More Masterclass tickets offered

Based on continued high demand, TryTank  has released more tickets for its masterclass on being a top-notch hybrid congregation. The class, which will be offered over two consecutive Wednesdays, will cover four fundamental pillars: the missional theology of the effort, how to effectively fundraise online, how to produce for the medium, and how to create true community digitally. Subject-area experts will provide practical information and takeaways. The class concludes with the creation of your own action map. To register for the class, go to www.trytank.org/masterclass

5. Free webinar being offered about Big Tech and the Church

TryTank’s U.K. partner, HeartEdge, is offering a webinar tackling the intersection between technology and the church. The pandemic forced the Church to move online to a greater extent than ever before. With the end of the pandemic in sight, questions remain about the relationship between the Church and technology (and, not just the technology tools but the companies that run these platforms as money-generating enterprises). During this panel, participants will tackle questions like:  Is ‘online church’ simply about accessing the tech needed for online services, or are we baptizing Facebook, Instagram, whatever, and calling it 'church’? How do we avoid re-creating Christian subcultures online while imagining different and better futures in which all can contribute towards a new understanding?  How can attention to relationship and a ‘beyond in the midst’ when online encourages us to pause and reflect?  Underlying these questions are societal and ethical issues raised by the actions of Big Tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter. 

6. Prayer line takes a “prideful” break for poetry

In honor of Pride month, TryTank is offering the gift of poetry. LGBTQ+ poetry group Pride Poets will be taking over our national prayer hotline to write custom poems based on the topic of the caller’s choice. Members of the public are invited to call in and speak to a poet, have a poem written, and receive a copy via mail or email. The poet’s themes are love and pride, and the whole process takes 10 minutes. The result might just change your day!  This project is part of the City of West Hollywood’s One City One Pride festival and benefits the LA LGBT Center. The hotline will be open June 11-13 from 10 am-10 pm PT. The number is 202-998-3510 for a custom poem! 

Dr. Lisa Kimball talks about the upcoming eFormtaion conference.

7. Next month is the 8th annual eFormation conference

eFormation 21: Dwelling Places for God is around the corner.  It will take place online July 13th-15th, 2021. This conference – designed to optimize learning, minimize fatigue, and renew spirits – will feature keynote speakers, workshops, and the opportunity to engage in focused small groups with digital ministry peers. The conference will be a robust engagement of what it means to be Dwelling Places for God, online, in pews, and in our communities.  After a year of forced migration to all-digital platforms and programming, is the work of digital ministry different? Each day of eFormation21 will include a keynote speaker, time for group reflection, workshops, and affinity group time. Click here to register. 

8. New survey launched to research what might be the lasting effects of Covid19 on the church

Working together with York St. John University, TryTank has launched the Covid 19 and Church 21 survey. The survey is seeking to understand how clergy and churchgoers in the United States have coped with the COVID-19 pandemic and their opinions about how this may affect the Church. Researchers hope that the information will help identify which groups have flourished and which have struggled over the last 18 months. TryTank’s partner in this is York St John University in England, which has run a similar and successful survey in the UK over the last few months.  The survey asks how people have experienced the virus, how the lockdown has affected them, and opinions looking ahead. Participants will receive questions in blocks that reflect their role in the church and what they have done church-wise during the lockdown. The survey is available here.

9. Last call for Blessing of the Animals Evangelism Experiment

Would you like to introduce your church to more people in your community?  Think about the great opportunity your annual blessing of the animals provides! We know that some churches have had success this way, and we want to see if this is replicable. In May, we held an information session about this project where we explained the “how” of the experiment and guided partners through the process of the three phases:  the invitation, the day, and (most important) the follow-up. Check out the recording and if you want to participate simply hit reply and let us know and we’ll get you on the list.

10. Innovation insider going on hiatus for the summer

Church Innovation Insider is going on a summer break. We will be back in your inbox after Labor Day. But we are always here and ready to talk and discuss innovation. Simply hit reply and say hello. 

Remember, you can find updates on all of our experiments at any time on our website www.TryTank.org.
Upcoming ONLINE Offerings through
Lifelong Learning at VTS

Click here for more information and to register 
for the Lifelong Learning and Seminary events below: 
Jun 7, 8, and 9  Preaching as Healing Speech: Deep Calls to Deep Lecture Series
Jun 9, 16 Being a Top-Notch Hybrid Church
Jun 10     Attending to the Self: Healthy Habits for Sustainable Ministry Webinar
Jun 14     Conversations on Race and Faith: The Sacred Ground Curriculum
Jun 14     Association of Anglican Musicians Virtual Conference: Feeding Our Flocks
Jul 13      8th Annual eFormation Online Conference: Dwelling Places for God
Jul 28      Small Group Ministry: Leadership Development for Facilitators
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