The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture invited a number of guests at our conference on “Reimagining Ministry (Again)” to share programs, services or models of engagement that faith leaders can learn from as they seek to create thriving congregations.
Below, you will find video introductions to 10 of these individuals, who talk briefly about the resources they can offer to faith leaders. Feel free to connect with these individuals through their websites, which are listed with each video.
“Reimagine (Again): Ministry Sustainability in a Post-Pandemic World,” a half-day conference in summer 2022, provided time for Los Angeles-area clergy, staff and lay leaders to reflect and connect after a difficult few years. Faith leaders had the opportunity to think about how to develop innovative ministries through engagement, relationship-building and partnership and how to improve and sustain ministries in a rapidly changing world.
Programs and Services
Dr. Lance McCarthy shared how he teaches faith leaders to use economic planning to further their ministry and create thriving congregations.
Michael Mata shared how TogetherLA works with leaders of thriving congregations: “Our city-focused strategy seeks to connect, develop and resource local leaders who are asking and answering the question: ‘How do we love our city?’”
LA County Department of Children and Family Services
Stacie Ottley shared how thriving congregations can work with the LA Department of Children and Family Services to support foster youth that attend or are looking for a church in their area. She works on several job and internship programs for foster youth.
LA County Department of Mental Health SPA6
Kisha Thompson, LCSW of the LA County Department of Mental Health welcomes faith leaders to participate in SPA6 and city-wide efforts to connect. DMH, she says, recognizes “the connection between spirituality and mental health as an important component of recovery from mental illness.”
Green Economy (EV)
Brenda Solorio of LACI shared how thriving congregations can get involved in a variety of environmentally-focused programs — from e-bike sharing to community pilots and workforce development. LACI is looking to partner with faith communities to move towards a green economy together.
Green Economy (Energy Efficiency)
Rev. Frank Jackson Jr. shared how Village Solutions Foundation “serves as a bridge between energy organizations and underrepresented communities to funnel vital information about environmental sustainability.”
Fernando Tamara shared how Made to Flourish “empowers pastors and their churches to integrate faith, work, and economic wisdom for the flourishing of their communities.”
Models of Engagement
Joe Paul shared about the importance of collaboration for leaders of thriving congregations seeking to create systemic change. “LARRP is a network of public, community and faith-based agencies and advocates working together to ensure that our reentry system meets the needs of our agencies, communities, and the people we serve, both in terms of capacity and public policy.”
Caroline Sato shared how Fountain of Life Church’s Family Center can be a model for leaders of thriving congregations. “God has called us to love and serve our West Long Beach neighbors in practical ways.” The Family Center hosts programs ranging from tutoring to English-language education and youth groups.
Alfred Lomas shared about the importance of collaboration for leaders of thriving congregations. His organization, Inner City Visions, focuses on community violence prevention, with on the ground initiatives like safe passage through local parks and school intervention.