UnitingNext - Learning from innovation in the UCA

In 2015, Uniting Mission & Education commissioned a research project aimed at sharing learning from innovative projects that have taken place across the NSW and ACT Synod. There were three key aims of this project:

1. To provide voice, and pastoral engagement, to people who had been involved in missional innovation projects across the NSW/ACT Synod.
2. To establish a learning community who will become the ‘wisdom holders’ for the project and for future adventures in missional innovation, thus developing capacity in younger adults who are engaged in innovation.
3. To disseminate the learning to participants and to the wider church, in creative and useful ways.


Two researchers, Lynne Taylor and Naomi Nash, undertook four site visits to innovation projects that have taken place in the NSW/ACT Synod over the past ten years. At each of the four sites, between 8 and 15 interviews took place, working from a  set of core questions but allowing  interviewees to focus the conversation. There was an invitation to pray together at the beginning and end of the interviews and an emphasis on listening deeply to the individuals as they shared their experience. The four site visits were supplemented by interviews with individuals who have held significant positions of authority in relation to the missional activity of the NSW Synod across the last ten years. These interviews provided an additional perspective of the larger context in which these initiatives existed, as well as insights into how the shaping of strategic priorities, funding structures and the education and formation of pioneers has occurred.

From this research, three resources have been developed – an online digital “Story Library”, a discussion paper, and the UnitingNeXT Missional Innovation Workshops, which are run with a view to equipping, resourcing, supporting, and building missional capacity in Presbyteries and congregations across the NSW.ACT Synod.

Digital Story Library


A collection of archetypal stories, based on themes uncovered by research into innovation


Questions for reflection, designed to support the formation of practitioners in pioneering and innovative ministries


Each story can be read standalone, is accessible anywhere and usable as part of meetings, conferences, courses


Wisdom from the pews with direct quotes from the Innovation Research Project and links to resources for Going Deeper into the themes are also part of each story.


1. Learning from Innovation Research Discussion Paper

The ‘Learning from Innovation” Research Discussion paper details the background, process and findings of the research in an easy to read format, with questions for reflection throughout. To access an instant download link to this PDF, please provide your name & email address below:

2.UnitingNeXT Missional Innovation Package
The UnitingNeXT Missional Innovation Package is designed to engage groups in reflecting on their mindset & practice around doing ministry and mission differently. It includes a contextualised workshop, the use of NCLS and Pathways data and learnings, support from the Mission Enablement Team, and on-going coaching supporting the missional initiatives that are developed and planned. The Workshop includes physical and digital resources that cover areas of practice with up to 8 hours of material that can be adapted to suit your context. The workshop covers:
. Innovation landscape & your Missional Context
. The real world of Missional innovation & Practice
. Equipping missional innovation enablers and practitioners, and a very important,
. “NeXT steps”, where and what now?

For more information please contact UME, Mission Enablement Team: