Program Overview

The Plan

Soundings will involve fifteen partner churches that represent the diversity of Texas congregational life: Baptist and non-Baptist, Protestant and Catholic, rural and urban, small and large, with a wide range of ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic locations. These churches will work together and with Baylor to think deeply, theologically, and creatively about what it means for God to call us to lead lives of meaning and purpose.


  • Select congregations and leadership teams within them that represent the rich diversity within the Body of Christ.

  • Provide trained leadership coaches who can facilitate efficient and healthy processes the promote ecumenical, dialogical, and diverse conversations within and between participating institutions for their mutual flourishing.

  • Help congregations create nimble, sustainable, and replicable processes for the ongoing exploration of vocation within the life of its their congregations.

  • Ensure all leadership teams are intergenerational.

  • Align congregational efforts with Baylor events and initiatives that might resource innovation. 


Phase One

  • Identify partner congregations
  • Provide readings, opportunities for collaborative learning, and other resources as the churches develop their projects
  • Equip coaches to support the work of the congregational leadership teams
  • Appoint congregational leadership teams
  • Inventory their churches’ unique assets, interests, and needs
  • Develop a proposal for new ministries or initiatives related to the theological exploration of vocation
  • Baylor and the partner congregations will build rich relationships as they learn together more about their particular communities and how best to minister to them
  • Each congregation will propose a project that Soundings will fund up to $30,000


Phase Two

  • Visit congregations to support and learn from the ministry taking place through their projects
  • Convene learning and implementation workshops
  • Host summer retreats for all participants
  • Facilitate an online learning community
  • Implement their grant-funded projects
  • Work with the congregational coaches to assess the progress of the projects
  • Participate in workshops, retreats, and the online learning community in order to learn, share best practices, and develop community
  • Continue to deepen the community of learning and purpose between and within the congregations and the university
  • Strengthen the life of the congregations as their members are enriched by the various projects
  • Provide opportunities for Baylor educators to explore new ways to help students think about how God is calling them to lead lives of meaning and purpose


Phase Three

  • Collect feedback from the partner congregations about their projects
  • Use insights collected from the congregations to develop a strategic plan for incorporating these insights into relevant programs at Baylor
  • Provide feedback to Baylor about the projects
  • Collaborate with Baylor coaches and other participating congregations to revise the projects so that these ministries (or some version of them) can continue long-term
  • Both Baylor and the partner congregations will become better equipped to live out their missions in partnership with one another
  • Strengthened ecumenical and interracial dialogue to heal and build up the Body of Christ in Waco and Texas at large
  • Strengthened pastoral relationships among the participating congregations with the aim of creating new ecumenical events and ministries
  • At least one sustainable ministry at each congregation will be created or strengthened as a result of Soundings
  • At least one research project will emerge as a result of the initiative that will make the insights from Soundings accessible more widely accessible for other institutions and congregations

Existing Baylor programs that will be strengthened by being brought into conversation with the Soundings congregational partners: