Hearts on Fire Spiritual Practices for Ministry Innovators
A workout for your soul
grow in love of God and neighbor. Grow in peace and patience. Grow the life that God has called you to.
Ignite your soul.
Every time we begin a Practice, we say the Covenants of Presence together.We create sacred space online by marking it as such, declaring our communal commitment to gather intentionally, curiously, gently, and by placing our stories in each others' hands, and God in the center.We believe that God is in the midst of creating something new within our communities of faith. We gather to witness to that, and to build it piece by piece with God's direction and support.Come listen and create with us: hear where God is calling you, and where God is calling us.And then find the tools to make it manifest.
Every Monday at noon Eastern, join us for free.
Ignite your life.
Join a digital monastery in the rhythm of Daily Practice and weekly co-working space to help bring your creative vision to life.The inner work we engage through Hearts on Fire is both momentous and actually very simple.The main thing is to show up, inquire within, and listen.We have lots of ways of helping us in community look within and listen to what our hearts and souls have to say:🔥 Daily Practices that build on Monday's Centering Reflection and go deeper.🔥 Saturday Practices for journaling, sharing about, and designing the creative spark that is within us.🔥 Adaptive Practices to meet with and learn from Ministry Innovators - those building their own new ways of connecting with the love of God.
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Ignite your creativity.
The Hearts on Fire Practices are of particular value to innovators:Ministry innovators or social innovators or even secular entrepreneurs.People who are being called into pioneering roles in their field and need deep reservoirs of creativity and motivation and just plain confidence and courage to equip them to do what they have been given to do.Join the Ministry Innovators Program to find the spiritual, technical, and financial support you need to launch your creative vision.And do it right here on this Platform within the Hearts on Fire Community.
Apply to the Innovator Program.
Hearts on Fire
We would love to hear from you!When you join at any level, you will be on our email list and receive insights and information.You can also email the team and learn more about us here.
The Essential Practices
Each Hearts on Fire gathering is structured around the core Practices which help us deeply engage with God and each other.
There are several Practices related to the discernment, design, and implementation of your calling.We start with these.
Shaping the space
Covenants of Presence
The Covenants of Presence are the threshold Practice: we repeat and affirm them before every Hearts on Fire gathering.In the words of Parker Palmer, they are 'markers for the kind of space convened', the promise of what we hope for the relationships we create as we engage the Practices together.
Opening our hearts
Centering Reflections move us deeper. Sometimes called an evocative reading, it is reflective poetry, prose or Scripture that breaks the ice within us, and warms us up to the work of discernment.
Sharing our Souls
Story Telling and
The Centering Reflection provides the inspiration for storytelling - we call these Story Prompts.Our stories now become the focus of exploring the sacred space among and between us.We spend time journaling individually and then share in pairs or trios. We listen to others' stories with hope and reverence.
Technology allows us to use a Jamboard to create Word Clouds of virtual sticky notes with words or phrases that shine through our storytelling and holy listening.
This interactive engagement helps us enter into creative space together, and collectively find meaning in the messages that are revealed.
Meet Ministry Innovators
Ministry Innovators co-create the platform using adaptations of the Hearts on Fire Practices and their own content.Adaptive Practices are sharing the structure of Hearts on Fire with the content of these creative pathfinders.Hearts on Fire Membership includes unlimited participation in Adaptive Practices, and a place to build relationships with each of these practitioners.Ministry Innovators develop their own space and on the Hearts on Fire Platform and offer Adaptive Practices to all Members. They also offer their own unique ministry through their Platform space and beyond.Ministry Innovators have an affiliate link through Hearts on Fire and receive 50% of Membership subscriptions brought in through the link. If you click 'learn more' and subscribe through an Innovators' page, they'll be supported by half of your Membership income.
Free Range Priest
Evolving Christian Faith Network
Giving voice to a progressive approach to Christian Spirituality
Free Range Priest
Reimagining ministry in the digital age.
Hearts on Fire Team
My training in ancient spiritual traditions that shape holy lives began in the staid setting of The General Theological Seminary in the 1990s - where I received my doctorate in ascetical theology - but was soon sent in wildly unexpected directions by my 9-11 experience and service, and my job as the Director of Disaster Response for the Episcopal Church in Louisiana post-Katrina.I currently serve as Executive Director of the 166-year-old Society for the Increase of the Ministry, in Atlanta, Georgia.On my best days I may be found at my home in the Mississippi Delta reading, writing, and cooking for a crowd.
When I was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church at the turn of the 21st century (literally, January 2000), I thought my career would consist of serving full-time in one congregation after another.Living and serving in the digital age has upended that expectation!After serving 3 congregations and on the staff of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, I founded Free Range Priest, dedicated to reimagining ministry - including this online platform for ministry innovation.I live near Lake Norman, NC with my wonderful husband and adorable Great Dane. I get all my best ideas while running.
I have worked in discernment practice for nearly twenty-five years with undergraduates, university faculty and staff, and congregations.I've supporting the vocational lives of young people and various groups across the Episcopal Church as they dream forward the church that God, with our help, can bring into being.In each of these contexts, I have witnessed the quality of deep awakening that accompanies giving people a stake in molding their destiny in the company of the Holy Spirit.Through the Hearts on Fire practices, we are on the way to ligating daily practice to a kind of “participatory knowing” on the part of practitioners. That is, the recognition of their unique callings, here and now, and the graced ability to live them out – in innovative ways.These practices are also a way of wedding ancient wisdom with current social technologies to create what could be called a “social mysticism” that, in and through these contemplative, conversational and design practices, can yield an immense social capital, the kind that can change the world.
As a Presbyterian Church (USA) Teaching Elder, I have been obsessed with the question, "Into what is Christianity evolving?" for the last two decades. As a result, I explore both the theological and communal implications of the cultural shifts that we are experiencing today.My approach to spiritual growth emphasizes that, as adults, we need to take responsibility for our spiritual lives and take intentional steps toward personal growth and development. After all, you can't expect the world to change around you if you aren't willing to change yourself.I believe the Hearts on Fire program offers you a unique opportunity to embrace the kind of spiritual transformation needed to have a greater impact on this world.
Hearts on fire
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the Hearts on Fire Spiritual Practices Covenants of PresenceBe fully present, extending and presuming welcome. Set aside the usual distractions of things undone from yesterday, things to do tomorrow. Welcome others into this story space and presume you are welcome as well.Listen Generously
Listen intently to what is said; listen to the feelings beneath the words. As Quaker Douglas Steere writes, “To listen another's soul into life, into a condition of disclosure and discovery, may be almost the greatest gift we can offer to another.”Author Your Story
We all have a story. Some might say, “I don't have a story” or “a story worth telling,” but you do, and the world is in need of hearing it. You are invited to claim authorship of your own story and learn to tell it to others so they might understand you, be inspired by you and discover what calls you to be who you are, do what you do or love what you love.We come as equals
We don't have the same gifts, limits, or experiences, but no person's gifts, limits or experiences are more or less important than another.No fixing
We are not here to set someone else straight, right a wrong, or provide therapy. We are here to witness God's presence and movement in the sacred stories and conversations we share.Turn to wonder
If you find yourself becoming judgmental or cynical, try turning to wonder: “I wonder why she shared that story or made those comments?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me?” “I wonder what he's feeling right now?”Hold these stories with care
There are many people who will benefit from the stories they hear during our time together. Imagine hearing another as you would listen to scripture—attentively, mindfully, and open to the holy.Believe that it is possible for us to emerge from our time together refreshed, surprised and less burdened than when we came.
Expect that our work together can provide renewal, refreshment, and possibilities for what we can do together to create the future that is waiting to be born, and that seeds planted here will keep growing and flourish in the days ahead in service to God's church and renewing work in the world.
©Courtney Cowart and Jim Goodmann
Hearts on Fire Community ValuesThe Hearts on Fire Platform is a place where we are welcomed, respected, supported, and nurtured to become closer to God and others. Therefore we take our values very seriously and ask our members to assent and abide by them:This is a space for Christian ministry. You do not have to be Christian - or a minister - to be part of this community, but we are oriented towards the Christian faith, and towards the support of ministry - lay and ordained. We come from different places - geographically, demographically, theologically. We do our utmost to encounter our differences with grace.This is a space to feel centered in who you are in God's sight.Please be kind. Disagreements are inevitable. The way we face them is intentional. Please speak for yourself clearly and kindly, and listen to others with the least judgment possible. Ask for forgiveness often.This is a space to feel affirmed and loved.Please respect others’ privacy. We will be engaging with our stories - often deeply personal - in this space. We will hold them carefully and not share them outside of this space without explicit permission.This is a space to feel positive about the human experience and about life.Please refrain from any aggressive behavior. This is a space for vulnerability. As such, we ask that everyone engage with care, even under vulnerable circumstances. No attacks, threats, name-calling or calling out will be tolerated here.This is a space to feel grateful and vitalized.Any content or member may be removed at any time at the discretion of the Hearts on Fire admins for violating our values in letter or spirit.
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