The Telos Lab for Congregational Discovery

Many pastors are facing a liminal moment, wrestling with how to navigate complex theological and cultural terrain and how to lead the church into a faithful witness of the Gospel. 

Pastors are wrestling with things like:

  • When our “normal” way of doing church has been disrupted, what do we do next?
  • How can our community honestly reckon with racism and injustice in an antagonistic political environment?
  • How do we engage our neighborhoods on mission without jettisoning the church’s unique practices?

At the Telos Lab for Congregational Discovery, we believe the Holy Spirit is fully present and active in you and your community. That means the liminal space where you stand is an opportunity to forge new, faithful practices that you might not choose on your own. A pair of fresh eyes and ears can help you reevaluate the long-standing habits and assumptions that aren’t serving you well.

Let us help. 

The Telos Lab joins with you in your field of ministry to provide custom research that helps illuminate contextual challenges and opportunities to mission and spiritual formation. We dig deep into the data of your real congregational life and the social forces that impact the life of your community.

The aim of our process is not merely fixing perceived problems, but rather helping you move toward transformative practices. We help you pay attention to the Spirit’s work at the intersection of congregational life, pastoral work, and cultural trends. Then we get curious with you about what is happening and why. Based on what we notice together, we will help you craft a concrete, corporate practice so that you can join in the Spirit’s transformative work in your community.

Meet our Director

The Rev. Dr. Seth Richardson

Director of Telos Lab

As the director of the Telos Lab for Congregational Discovery, Seth is the creative architect, shaping the work of Lab to align with the vision of Telos and adapt to the complex and ever-shifting challenges ministry leaders face. He also functions as the lead researcher, working directly with local leaders in the design and execution of custom projects. Seth has studied at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Wheaton Graduate School, and Northern Seminary, where his doctoral research weaves together theological and sociological disciplines. Seth’s heart and vision for the Lab is grounded in his passion for all the particulars of local church ministry. An Anglican priest, he has served in a variety of roles in churches in Chicago and Arkansas for over a decade. Seth is also a coach for Gravity Leadership and a writer for Missio Alliance. Seth lives with his wife and two daughters in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Check Out Our Field Notes Podcast

Like an ethnographer jotting down observations and impressions while being embedded with a particular people in a particular place, we are curating rich, thick data about how theology and leadership get real on the ground. The Field Notes podcast offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the kind of work we get our hands dirty with at the Telos Lab.

Check out the Podcast

What the process will look like if you partner with us: 

Easy answers.

Quick fixes.

One-size-fits-all solutions.

When you partner with us for congregational discovery, we listen. We come alongside you and make space to tend to your stories, to access your community’s imagination, and to be curious together about how the Holy Spirit is leading you into a faithful future. You’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of your ministry context and a fresh imagination and clear plan for the next faithful step.

You don’t have to settle for the status quo in how you worship, engage your context, and nurture spiritual formation. The Spirit of God is presently working in and through your congregation, opening a way toward faithfulness in God’s Kingdom. Let’s tend to the Spirit’s work together.

To start on the path toward congregational discovery today, download our FREE Church Diagnostic Tool, “4 Questions to Develop Holy Curiosity and Cultivate New Life in Your Congregation.” This resource will help you move beyond surface answers and quick fixes to discern what faithfulness looks like in your context during this season.

Interested in participating in the Telos Lab for Congregational Discovery?  Let us know.