Thinking in progress. Notes under construction. Expect typos and clarifying positions.


The Church is a Community of Practice

The concept of communities of practice was coined by Etienne Wenger in a 1996 article, and it articulates an important aspect of what a church should be.Wenger, E. “How We Learn. Communities of Practice. The Social Fabric of a Learning Organization.” Healthc. Forum J. 39.4 (1996): 20–26. See also Cultiviting Communities of Practice, 2002.

Communities of practice are also referred to as learning communities. An essential characteristic of these communities is learning socially through participation in the group. The community functions as a grouping of learning peers who all help one anotyher figure out what they are attempting to learn. While learning communities terminology emphasizes the co-learning aspect, communities of practice terminology connotes an active learning concept that would include learning through activiity or practice.

Both social learning and Experiential LearningExperiential Learning
In 1984, an educational scholar named David Kolb published a theory about how people learn. His goal was to highlight the extreme significance of experience in learning. Kolb claims that people learn through acquiring new concepts that are usually abstract in nature but can be applied to real life circumstances. In other words, new knowledge is best gained when abstract concepts can be put into practice. The reason people want to learn, in Kolb’s theory, comes through having new experiences t...
are important concepts in a healthy church. Transformational DiscipleshipTransformational Discipleship

Incorporate Bloom's learning domains
Adapt Kolb's cycle
Find some illustrations of both
Biblical foundations for it

Working definition: At its best, [[Discipleship]] is transformative learning. It's the kind of learning that changes someone's life. Biblical discipleship is being on Christ's mission and taking others with you.

[[Transformational Discipleship has much in common with habit formation]]. The overall process develops rhythms within a person's life that engages all...
requires church community that embraces both of these concepts and is crucial for spiritual formation.

If the thesis holds, that humans learn primarily socially, then this demonstrates an important truth about the reason for church.

From the Knowledge Project

Adam Grant discusses this concept of communities of practice in the knowledge project podcast that he does.

Grant discusses this concept at the one hour and 5 minute Mark of the episode that he is in. Episode 22.