Circle Visioning Process

6/23/20 Update

Attendees: Brian, Diana, Beth, Jenn

Taking Stock

This process is going to take longer than I (Sean) imagined and that is okay! As I type up these notes I am holding four moments from our conversations together in my mind:
Teri’s sense of possibility, of how what we are doing now is setting the stage for the deepest expression of our faith and mission, how transformative this is and will be.
Jenn’s reflection on how the circles leaders, let alone the circles themselves, begun to wrestle with the question of how to live out our mission/vision
Brian’s question about we’re we thinking about some sort of circles before COVID, the answer is yes because we have been trying for a long time to solve the challenge of siloed programming that scatters us and divides our capacity.
The forth, was during our subgroup meeting Beth asked a really important question: “where are we are in our design process?”. IDEO’s Human Centered Design Kit outlines three phases ():
INSPIRATION: In this phase, you’ll learn how to better understand people. You’ll observe their lives, hear their hopes and desires, and get smart on your challenge.
IDEATION: Here you’ll make sense of everything that you’ve heard, generate tons of ideas, identify opportunities for design, and test and refine your solutions.
IMPLEMENTATION: Now is your chance to bring your solution to life. You’ll figure out how to get your idea to market and how to maximize its impact in the world.

Where are we? We have drafted a few design questions, and curated a set of impacts we are hoping to have (which lined up nicely with the church’s vision statements).
How can community circles become the core way Foothills unleashes courageous love?
How does our mission of unleashing courageous love become real in our community circles?
During this time of disruption, how can our community creatively and sustainably response to unleash deepening belonging, spiritual grounding and resilience, and deploying our people to be agents with courageous love?

Cultivate Spiritual Grounding and Resilience
Deepening Belonging between our community members of all ages and stages
Integration of newcomers
Unleash us as Agents of Courageous Love (in our neighborhoods, in NOCO & Beyond)
Leaderful & Sustainable
Creative & responsive
Aligned & Nimble
Scaleable & Multiplying

During our conversation, it became clear that I moved us through inspiration too fast, towards ideation. We unearthed a set of open assumptions, hypothesis, and polarities (see below) that need to be engaged with before moving into ideation. For example: Do we enter into the process with the principle of geographic proximity or do we not?

Surfacing Assumptions and Polarities

If it means more, people give more.
Geographic Proximity is Meaningful
‘Circles’ Providing Platform for Holistic Church Experience allowing for a culture (vs. piecemeal programs and ministries) that:
Cultivates Spiritual Grounding and Resilience
Deepens Belonging between our community members of all ages and stages
Unleash us as Agents of Courageous Love (in our neighborhoods, in NOCO & Beyond)
Building for a Post-COVID World: We are aiming not to craft something temporary to get us through the pandemic but a culture that will be transformative enough that when we can gather in new ways we add those in
Can’t Go Back: We will be different after the pandemic ends, our church will have been through a traumatic experience, and we will have grown and changed in ways that will make it hard to flip the switch back
What we create needs to be sustainable and scalable to manage capacity and unleash impact

Recreating The Way We Used To Be ーーーーーーーーーーー A Totally New Way Of Being
Our Current Circle Model (Leaders, Structures, Offerings) ーーーーーーー A Future Structure
Communication & Change Management (this is how we are doing church for the next X time)

What’s Next

To get there IDEO suggest we move through at least two more phases of work:
Align Impact Goals (
Define Our Audience & Ecosystem Mapping (Link:)

Concurrent to these process, we identified two key groups to engage right now:
circle leaders
people who were previously highly engaged in the church who are now during covid much less engaged.

Circle Leaders
In engaging circle leaders we hope to better understand:
How have, how could/might, circles create the desired impacts?
How has, how could, the process meet out process objectives?
If we asked them to wrestle with living out the mission of church in their circle what might that look like?

Previously Engaged
We suggested a phone calls to individuals to learn more about the reasons why the change in engagement. Maybe using the Five Whys methodology.

Next Steps

Set a date (and design meeting) during the week of July 6th for Circle Leaders engagement session(s)
Find team member to lead us through the next two activities (Impact Ladder & Define Your Audience)
Identify a few secondary sources of research to broaden our conceptions of the possible

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