Design Training for Ministry Leaders

"Because it's always been done that way." These seven last words signal the death of possibility for ministries everywhere. Breaking familiar patterns is incredibly difficult, but tools from the world of design thinking can help. These training materials offer a theological framework and practical exercises to help ministry leaders embrace empathy, make sense of others' stories, and generate fresh ideas. Get ready for challenging, vulnerable work and prepare to break from the familiar to reform and transform your church and the communities it serves.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is an empathy-driven, human-centered approach to addressing complex problems. This session provides an overview of design thinking, offers a theological reflection on the power of empathy in encountering others, and introduces an activity to prepare for a design cycle.

Download Session 1: What is design thinking?

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How do I practice empathy?

Generative research is about problem-seeking, not problem-solving, in the early phases of the design thinking process. This session delves into the nature of generative research, outlines a few frameworks for developing empathy, and includes practical tips for conducting empathetic interviews.

Download Session 2: How do I practice empathy?

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I've listened—now what?

Sense-making is critical to the design thinking process because it's where conversations and observations are "magically" transformed into insights and ideas that can be prototyped. This session covers sense-making and suggests a few frameworks for synthesizing generative research.


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