1 big thing: TryTank Experimental Lab is now three years old
Big picture: When TryTank Experimental Lab launched on Jan 1, 2019, who could have predicted what the next few years would bring to the world and the church? As a joint venture between two seminaries, TryTank itself is an experiment in working together.
There have been some successes (Alexa skill, Latino Ministry in a Box, video action alerts, evangelism events, the virtual preaching monks, and more!), and some failures (spin church, “drunk bible,” cleaning monks, prayer puppets, and more!).
Why it matters: Being able to own successes and failures hopefully allows TryTank to model how to be the church in the world today.
Here are some of the highlights of our 2021:
Coming next week: “Church in the Metaverse”
What's next: Next Friday is the premiere of the latest Faith in the Future conversation. Noted futurist Bob Johansen, a distinguished fellow with the Institute for the Future, will join a small audience from around the church to imagine the church in the metaverse.
Go deeper: Our guests will be joined by an expert on Teilhard de Chardin, philosopher, theologian, and priest, who will help us compare the metaverse to de Chardin’s concept of the divine milieu and the noosphere.
Yes, but: Other practical voices will join the discussion to assess the implication for the church at large…especially those who are at the margins and may lack access to technology.
To view the conservation when made available on January 14, click HERE.
Experiment update: Evangelism Theater
Here’s an update on the evangelism theater experiment. The experiment — which was delayed because of Covid-19 — aimed to create a theatrical experience in a church that members could invite their friends for a night of fun.
Why it matters: We know that people have no problem inviting a friend to the theater but aren’t as likely to invite someone to join them at church. We wondered what would happen if we made theater at the church.
By the numbers: The show (Baking with Bertha) took place on Friday, Dec 10 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the Carondelet neighborhood of St. Louis, Mo. The goal was to get church members to invite their friends. And they did!
Experiment update: BOTA ➡️ INFACT ➡️ Easter Evangelism
Here’s an update from the Rev. Ken Kroohs, the experiment manager for the Blessing of the Animals (BOTA) experiment, which led ( ➡️) to the Involving New Friends After Christmas (INFACT) experiment:
BOTA: Over 400 new people connected with nine participating congregations through the Blessing of the Animals!
More than 10K Spanish-language missals distributed
Big picture: If you ask, most clergy will tell you that the bulletin takes a few hours of their time each week. We asked, what if they had that time back?
We created a Spanish-language missalette that included the Eucharist from the Libro de Oracion Comun (Book of Common Prayer).
1 Big Thing: Virtual Preaching Monks a smashing success
Big picture: When the Virtual Preaching Monks experiment was launched last month, TryTank expected a few dozen congregations to take part. Instead, as of this writing, 460 congregations have signed up to use this resource, representing more than 22,000 people on an average Sunday.
What's next: Based on this success, the monks from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist have committed to offering a similar resource during Lent. They will cover:
HeartEdge USA forming peer learning cohorts around the 4 Cs
Big picture: With the support of TryTank, HeartEdge USA is forming a peer-learning cohort in support of the HeartEdge model of congregational renewal.
Go deeper: This small group is for those ready to begin experimenting with a group of other excited leaders while learning from each other. The cohort will meet have 9 monthly meetings over a year facilitated by a mentor and will be a place for:
Faith in the Future to host a conversation about “Church in the Metaverse”
What's next: In January, noted futurist Bob Johansen, a distinguished fellow with the Institute for the Future, will join a small audience from around the church to imagine the church in the metaverse.
Go deeper: Our guests will be joined by an expert on philosopher, theologian, and priest, Teilhard de Chardin who will help us compare the metaverse to de Chardin’s concept of the divine milieu and the noosphere.
Yes, but: Other practical voices will join the discussion to assess the implication for the church at large, especially those who are at the margins and may lack access to technology.
To view the conservation when it’s made available on January 14, click HERE.
Looking for signals of the future
Big picture: Part of TryTank’s work relates to foresight, the ability to spot signals and drivers of change to then develop plausible futures.
Go deeper: Think of a driver of change as a big wave.
Where have you seen the church of the future today? If you have some answers, let us know HERE.
Experiment update: Episcopal Pulse
Here’s an update from the Rev. Ken Howard, the experiment manager for Episcopal Pulse: “We have made significant progress toward the 2022 kick-off of the Episcopal Pulse Experiment:
Experiment update: Christmas Evangelism
Here’s an update from the Rev. Ken Kroohs, the experiment manager for the Christmas Evangelism: “It’s going great! The churches’ enthusiasm, energy, and commitment are inspiring and contiguous!
Prayer Puppets experiment seeks the wisdom of the crowd
Big picture: Last year, we wondered how we could bring Christian formation closer to home. Our solution, and then experiment, was to create a Christian version of Sesame Street. And thus were born the Prayer Puppets.
We created three episodes and tested them on a streaming platform where the conversion rate (from those who landed on the website to subscribe for a dollar) was around 8% which is very high.
The bottom line: We figured if people were willing to pay to subscribe, they’d be even more likely to subscribe to a free YouTube channel. We were wrong. Of some 29,000 times that our 15-second ad was seen only 43 subscribed.
What's next: So now this experiment is stuck. Here is the question: what would you do with the Prayer Puppets? Click HERE to submit your ideas.
You are now reading our newsletter experiment
Looking for market study participants
Big picture: TryTank is looking for ten active members of the clergy to be interviewed about professional and executive education for clergy.
Why it matters: In an ever-changing world, clergy are often called to take on tasks that they were not trained for in seminary. At the same time, there is new learning about leadership, finance, and other fields that affect ministry.
Go deeper: Selected participants will commit to a 20-30 minute interview. For their time, you will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
To apply to be a participant, send us an email and you’ll hear from us soon.