Discussion Questions:

  1. Welcoming Questions and Doubts:

    • Share a time when you felt safe to express your doubts or questions in a church setting. What made that environment welcoming for you?

    • How can we, as leaders, create spaces where questions and doubts are encouraged and respected?

    • Share an example from your experience where a question or doubt led to positive growth in faith. What can we learn from that experience?

  2. Being Your Authentic Self:

    • Reflect on a moment when you or someone you know embraced authenticity in a leadership role. How did it impact the community?

    • What are some barriers to being authentic in your current leadership context, and how might we overcome them?

  3. Creating Spaces Where Everyone Can Belong:

    • Discuss an example of an inclusive initiative or practice that has worked well in your church or another community.

    • Reflect on a time when you felt a strong sense of belonging. What contributed to that feeling, and how can we replicate it for others?

    • What steps can we take to ensure our church communities are truly inclusive and welcoming to all individuals?

Resource list: https://bit.ly/deepeningcourage

"Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver

Additional resources:

Right-Sized Belonging: Six Practices for Organizers by Sammie Ablaza Wills

Belonging: A Weekly Practice (with facilitator and practice guide) by Othering & Belonging Institute (Berkeley)

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Join us as we learn from Dr. Jen Hale Christy and explore the courage required of us as leaders to welcome questions and doubts, be our authentic selves, and foster truly inclusive communities.

"My journey, both as a researcher focused on the full inclusion of women in churches and as the host of the podcast PreacHer, has underscored a vital truth: our churches are shrinking because we haven’t created spaces where everyone can belong."

Jen Hale Christy is a writer, speaker, and podcast host whose published work addresses the reality that many of our churches are shrinking because we haven’t created a place where everyone can belong. She helps women embrace their calling, identity, and strength to create spaces of belonging, and coaches early- and mid-career people through discernment, difficult conversations, and growth. She also serves as the full-time Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Beaverton, Oregon, where she lives with her husband Dave, four kids, and two dogs. Jen earned a Doctor of Ministry in Missional and Spiritual Formation from Lipscomb University, a Master of Divinity from Abilene Christian University, and a BA in Psychology from the University of California at Davis. In addition to her family, Jen’s favorite things are: playing games with friends, discovering new recipes, traveling, playing the ukulele, roller skating, running, and watching Marvel movies.