Communities of Practice

At CEF 2016 we will be exploring more deeply the concept of Communities of Practice and will learn and practice together what it means to be a Community of Practice (CoP).

During the event, you will be placed in a CoP, both to help you network with others who have similar interests, and to gain experience in how a CoP works. (There will be an introductory workshop for everyone on CoPs Tuesday morning and an opportunity to switch groups, if you need to.) You will meet in CoP groups four times. If at all possible, you will be assigned to a group of your first choice. All groups will have a facilitator.

Our conference Communities of Practice will include:

Adult Ministry
Effective Youth Ministry
Engaging Children in Worship
Ministry with Churches in Transitions
On-Line Learning & Faith Formation
Partnering with Parents in Children’s Ministry
Senior Adult Ministry
Special Needs Ministry
Using Social Media in Faith Formation

During the conference, you will have opportunity to not only connect with those in your community of practice around your area of faith formation, but to also connect online to share more about what you are learning and the resources shared.  Also, after the conference, participants are encouraged to continue the conversation, adding resources you find and experiences you encounter as you back to your place of ministry.

Click Here to go to the Conference Communities page to connect with the communities.  You will receive your Community of Practice assignment at registration, but feel free to post your questions now in the communities that interest you.

What are Communities of Practice?

Etienne Wenger, a cognitive anthropologist who helped coin the term and wrote the most important books on the topic, defines Communities of Practice as formal or informal groups of people who share a common concern or passion about a topic and who interact on an ongoing basis in order to strengthen their knowledge and expertise related to the topic.

Communities of Practice (CoPs) share some characteristics with other small groups, such as networks, task forces, and committees. The primary difference, from Wenger’s perspective, is that participation in a CoP leads to the development of a shared identity and shared practices related to a shared domain (topic).

Communities of Practice & CEF:

  • a way to “meet” others in ministry vocations and positions like yours
  • led by someone with a passion for a particular ministry
  • either virtual (online only) or IRL (“In Real Life”)
  • focused on the actual needs and interests of the group members
  • small groups of up to about 20 people, in general, in order to enhance the relational aspects
  • enabled and enhanced through the various community-building features of our website

For more information on Communities of Practice, check out the resources available on the CEF website:, or check out the conference updates throughout the year leading up to CEF 2016.