Online training platform now available for new worshiping community leaders

The Accelerator cohort-based training for 1001 NWC startups is now digital

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Sean Chow helped develop the Accelerator. The cohort-based training for leaders of new worshiping community startups is now online and helps leaders determine their core values to better shape their ministries. (Photo by Shawn Kang)

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Sean Chow, associate for training and leadership cohorts for 1001 New Worshiping Communities, is thrilled that the first cohort of leaders of 100 1NWC startups are being trained online.

A group of about a dozen leaders began their 12-week cohort-based digital training on Oct. 12.  After completing readings and watching assigned videos each week, they’ll meet weekly with their ‘1001’ facilitator. The Accelerator training, which the 1001 team developed a year ago, is designed to help new worshiping community startups determine their core values to better shape their ministries. Spanish Accelerator training for leaders in Hispanic/Latino-a NWC startups began this week.

When the pandemic hit, followed by an ensuing travel ban for employees of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the 1001 team pivoted. By making adjustments, they revised the content for digital use. Collaborating with the Rev. Lindsay Armstrong, executive director of the New Church Development Commission of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and her team, online curriculum was developed.

Chow said the first training module begins with the question “why,” which encourages new leaders to refine what God has called them to by defining the new idea of church they have by what they’re for rather what they’re against.

The Accelerator training also includes modules on:

  • “What is measuring impact?” including a look at measuring failure, which is part of starting new worshiping communities, so that the measurement doesn’t become just about the numbers.
  • “How to do fundraising” with the Rev. Jon Moore. The mission engagement advisor for Presbyterian Mission Agency focuses on sustainability in the 1001 movement using principles in “A Spirituality of Fundraising” by Henri Nouwen.
  • “How to lead collaboratively” includes guidance on developing partnership and leveraging assets with the NWC startup leadership team.
  • The entire leadership team coming together to learn how to tell and then share their NWC story to donors, the presbytery and community.

Chow said the cohort of leaders will also go through a “who and why” wrap-up to help unpack the learnings, which he describes as “drinking from a firehose online.”

The Rev. Nikki Collins, coordinator for 1001 New Worshiping Communities, appears on a video explaining the Online Accelerator. (Screen shot)

“We want to continually help the new leader and team to refine their vision,” he said, “to get underneath the surface to the depth of meaning behind the startup.”

Chow is now working on a new Core Leadership Training Program for new worshiping community leadership teams, which will launch in November. Instead of meeting at in person for two-day gatherings, teams can train at their own pace online. Depending on the team’s needs, the CLTP can be worked on in sections or completed as a whole.

“During this training we’ll go through Strength Finders with them, and also use Appreciative Inquiry,” he said, “to help them figure out the assets they have so that their community is not pastor-based but leadership team-driven.”

Watch an introduction to the New Worshiping Communities Online Accelerator here. If you have questions about the upcoming Core Leadership Training Program or are interested in registering for 2021 Accelerator online training, send an email to Chow


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