Discovering Hope in Congregations and Communities

Discerning the next, most faithful, step in a changing world

Our Story

Houses of Hope is a place for people who are actively seeking transformation in themselves, their congregation, and their community.


Frequently Asked Questions

While there is no financial cost, as this project is graciously funded by the Lilly Endowment, there are time and energy commitments.

  • Commit to and hold yourself accountable to daily practices of prayer and contemplation.
  • Be accountable to meeting as a group.
  • Commit time and energy to assignments designed to help you see yourself, your church, and your community with new eyes.
  • Share honestly your excitement and trepidation about the state of your community, your church, and your own life.
  • You need at least four people to get started – and the pastor’s (or the Church’s leadership) blessing. We leave the construction of the group of four+ up to you; it need not be formal leaders. We call this group of committed people your Core Team. They will form the core congregational leadership if you complete the Discernment Pathway and proceed to Building Hope. 

    Yes! Every group will have a Guide who will check in regularly, will participate in your group’s meetings, will be available weekly to answer questions, and will keep the conversation and work moving forward.

    This discernment process has been designed with full recognition that we live very busy lives, and that our time is precious and our commitments many—and so your Core Team’s composition, recruiting, and meetings might take a little longer to develop, and may not follow a consistent rhythm. This discernment process requires at least five group meetings of 90 minutes each and may take longer than five weeks.

    Attendance and participation by every member of the Core Team is essential. Each meeting, and the assignments for work to be done between meetings, builds from the conversations and work done before. While it is very important to proceed through the discernment path in a timely manner, it is more important that meeting times be chosen so that everyone can attend.

    At the conclusion of the Discernment Pathway, you will decide whether to move on into the year-long Building Hope process. Building Hope guides you into personal, congregational, and community-based practices of gratitude and forgiveness that lead to hope in action.

    Your congregation will discern how to live out hope just as you discern the other priorities, programs, and ministries of the church. We believe you will be different and different possibilities will emerge. This may be a new ministry, using your physical space in new ways to meet the needs of your community, partnerships with organizations outside your congregation, or letting go of things that don’t hold hope. Houses of Hope Guides will offer their networks and connections as we continue to accompany you in building hope.