Our Work

In a time of immense change and challenge for faith communities as we have known them, there is a great need for innovative professional development for leaders in ministry settings. The BTS Center meets this need by serving as a think tank and incubator for 21st-century ministries:

  • We convene generative gatherings – like our annual Convocation, and the annual gatherings of the Regional Theological Education Consortium of the United Church of Christ, in partnership with the Ministerial Excellence, Support, and Authorization Team.
  • We create and curate fresh thinking – to be shared through our Bearings online magazine, vocational development programs, webinars, social media, and our web site.
  • We fund selected projects as an active partner, investing in faith leaders and organizations prepared to apply innovative thinking to equip and support creative leadership for both familiar and emerging forms of ministry, and religious and spirituality-based leadership that resists traditional labels and forms – as in our Innovation Incubator, and our partnership with ARC - Arts|Religion|Culture.
  • We seek to do our work primarily in collaborative relationships.

What is learned through all of our projects will be shared in multiple contexts. Selection criteria for supported projects includes alignment with our mission and our desire to model a way of life that embodies biblical justice and prophetic ministry in a pluralistic world.

Through these channels, The BTS Center carries out its mission: to catalyze spiritual imagination with enduring wisdom for transformative faith leadership.


Bearings Magazine

Readers of our award-winning online publication, Bearings: Navigating Life-as-Ministry, are grappling with questions of what it means to be religious, to be spiritual, to be church (or not church, or different church), to minister, and to live in the twenty-first century. Our magazine is a robust resource for them.

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Innovation Incubator

Launched in 2016, our Innovation Incubator seeks to create, promote, and disseminate new practices, knowledge, and scholarship that can help individuals and organizations generate positive transformation in the fields of religion, spirituality, practical theology, and ministry. 

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ARC - Arts|Religion|Culture

The Center has entered into a strategic partnership with ARC – Arts|Religion|Culture, to explore the mutual benefits of a strategic partnership in which both organizations, as ARC Executive Director Callid Keefe-Perry expresses it, “are grappling with the same question: How does a 20th-century institution reinvent itself for the 21st-century?”

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Charting a Course - with Auburn Seminary

In October of 2017, Auburn Seminary and The BTS co-convened a remarkable two-day multi-faith conversation in New York City. A second gathering is planned in November of 2018 in the San Francisco Bay area, to continue to explore how we might best build regional and national networks of diverse pastors and faith leaders deeply connected to each other and to a generative cohort of wise elders.

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Convocation is an annual learning event, with presenters and workshops or group activities related to a specific topic. The Maine Conference UCC and the Maine Council of Churches are partners with the Center in planning Convocation 2019.


This year Convocation 2019 is on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the Harraseeket Inn, Freeport, Maine.

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The Crux

The Crux is a program for progressive faith communities facing significant changes in embodying their missions. It is designed to unleash creativity and prepare communities to wisely discern next best steps as they approach the decision points at the most difficult stretches of the trails they are on. 

Please Note: Our previously promoted program plan for The Crux is being revised to make it more broadly accessible and affordable. We remain confident that there is a need for this kind of experience, and that it will be transformative for participants.

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UCC Regional Theological Education Consortium / MESA

The BTS Center has co-sponsored gatherings of the regional theological education programs in the United Church of Christ with the Ministerial Excellence, Support, and Authorization Team (MESA) since 2013. We were a partner in giving birth to the Regional Theological Education Consortium (RTEC) in 2015, and continue to be a primary convener and consultant with that group.

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Past Events & Activities

The BTS Center has explored and experimented through a range of events and activities in the past few years. Click on the "Learn more" link below to learn more about some of the amazing programs and the gifted colleagues who have helped us equip and support transformative faith leadership.

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