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What’s the Secret Ingredient?

5/29/14

By Anna Marx

This post is 1st in a series on Accomplishments and Lessons Learned, a cumulative report demonstrating 5 years of evaluation and research about the Coalition of Innovating Congregations. The report is available online and for download at innovatingcongregations.org/all.

Can anyone establish powerful learning models? Is there some special formula that makes it possible for congregations to fully integrate a model into their systems? We took a look at 32 models in the Coalition to see if we could find out what makes a model established in congregations (read the full report innovatingcongregations.org/whole-person-learning-models/).

We looked at congregations’ movements, size, leadership tenure (or turnover), and how many models they operated. It turned out that none these things made a difference. Reform and Conservative congregations were just as likely to have fully established models, as were small and large congregations and those where one model or multiple models are operated. Even tenure didn’t make a big difference — congregations with rabbis and educators that had been in place for many years were just as likely to have fully established models as those with new rabbis or educators.

We found one secret ingredient in all the congregations with well established models: time. The longer the congregation had been working on innovating, the more established the model was. And the more opportunities for support along the way (RE-IMAGINE, the Leadership Institute, LOMED), the more established the model was.

So, can anyone establish a powerful learning model? Yes! But it takes time, determination, and maybe a little bit of help.

Look out for the next post in this series: “Relationships, Relationships, Relationships”.

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