Church leaders across Canada have access to information riches thanks to innovative online portal
A wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience resides in ministry across Canada. But because most of it resides in a multitude of churches and communities across the country, this treasure trove is largely inaccessible to pastors and ministers who could make great use of it.
Using technology to eliminate geographic barriers that prevent people in one part of the country from learning about and from others many kilometres away, this curated “knowledge portal” is making best practices accessible to all, and opening the doors to important insights and conversations nationwide.
“If all churches knew what all churches know, would we be more effective and productive? I think so,” says Dr. Terry Young, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and the driving force behind Ambrose @ Large.
“The challenge we face in churches today is one of knowledge transfer. Within churches, people know and do things, are developing tools and templates, that work very well — but that knowledge tends to stay within organizations.”
The Ambrose @ Large portal is a two-way information pipeline, enabling people to share and also to learn.
“There is very good work happening in front-line ministry, and it’s exciting to think that Ambrose @ Large can be the platform for getting their knowledge, experience and wisdom into churches across the country.
“Our hope is that leaders and churches will both contribute to the growing inventory of resources and also come to rely on this hub of information as their ‘go-to’ site when facing tough problems.”
Curating beyond a blog
A grant of US$50,000 from the Association of Theological Schools in 2017 provided the seed funding to develop the Ambrose @ Large portal, which is more than a typical “blog.” All information shared on the site is curated, so everyone accessing it can be confident of its quality and relevance.
“Curation capitalizes on the expertise of Ambrose Seminary to ‘find the gold’ in mountains of words,” Dr. Terry Young explains. “We synthesize information and share the best in knowledge, wisdom and practice.”
The result is information that gets to the heart of issues and challenges, is timely and relevant to the needs of church leaders, and can be trusted.
Good conversation in the cafés
Six different online “cafés” have been built on Ambrose @ Large. Like their namesakes in any community, they’re places for casual conversation. Each focuses on a key aspect of ministry: cultivating heart; engaging mission; navigating culture; leading well; communicating effectively; and working theology. Plentiful servings of encouragement, insight and information are promised.
The conversations are rounded out with The Commons, a section of the website comprising helpful tools and myriad resources, all immediately accessible wherever and whenever they’re needed.