Centres of Excellence

CCYM Community of Practice

The Ridley Centre for Children’s and Youth Ministry (CCYM) functions as a community of practice, bringing students together with researchers and practitioners to equip, enable, and energise one another in the work of serving the church through gospel ministry among children and young people.

Sign up to the CCYM mailing list to keep updated with Community of Practice gatherings and events.

Thursday Community Gatherings

CCYM gatherings are held semi-regularly on Thursday evenings, from 5:30 pm to 7:15pm, at the Ridley campus in Parkville, or the private dining room of the Great Northern Hotel in Carlton North.

The seminar and discussion elements of the gathering can be live-streamed to community members outside of Melbourne.

Following the discussion, those who are able stay on to share dinner together.

  22 February The What, Why, Who, and How of Communities of Practice
  22 March Making Family Ministry Happen in the Local Church
  10 May What do CYM and Student Ministry have to do with each other?
 Tuesday, 19 June Gather for dinner following RCCYM Public Lecture
  16 August CYM in World Mission – guest: David Williams, Director of Training and Development, St. Andrews Hall (CMS)
  20 September The training gaps: What CYM conferences are worth going to, and which ones still need to be invented?
  8 November tba


Communities of Practice

A community of practice (CoP) is a social learning theory developed by Etienne Wenger that recognises ‘learning’ occurs best when people share knowledge with each other within some sort of community network and shared activity (Wenger 1998a; Wenger 1998b). Wenger defines a CoP in three dimensions (Wenger 1998b, n.p.):

  • What it is about – its joint enterprise as understood and continually renegotiated by its members
  • How it functions – the relationships of mutual engagement that bind members together into a social entity
  • What capability it has produced – the shared repertoire of communal resources (routines, sensibilities, artefacts, vocabulary, styles, etc.) that members have developed over time.

Each element is necessary: Joint enterprise and mutual engagement without shared repertoire is a network that, not having anything to show for its time together, is unable to share its learning with others, or reflect productively on its learning over time. Joint enterprise with a repertoire of resources but without mutual engagement will produce a collection of ideas, statements or proposals that will grow or diminish based on the enthusiasm of the individuals involved, yet without being shared resources they remain unconnected, undeveloped and never accessed by others. Mutual engagement and shared repertoire without joint enterprise will have no boundaries on its development or membership and will quickly lose focus and relevance.

A CoP is able to ‘preserve the tacit aspects of knowledge that formal systems cannot capture’ (Wenger, 1998b, n.p.). The knowledge ‘contained’ in a CoP is a ‘living knowledge’ that is able to respond to the particularities of local circumstances. Knowledge is situated within the practices of the community, rather than something existing ‘out there’ in books and manuals (Atherton 2005, n.p.).

Communities of practice are particularly well suited to meeting the needs of children’s and youth ministry training in an increasingly complex world. A CoP harnesses the tacit knowledge ‘locked up in the heads of youth ministers’ (Hudson, 2008). Membership of a CoP overcomes the isolation of many children’s and youth ministers by providing connections with other youth ministry workers beyond their immediate ministry setting and enabling experiential learning to be shared in ways that are relevant to individual needs.

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Ridley College

170 The Avenue, Parkville, Victoria, 3052 Australia / Phone 03 9207 4800 / Email info@ridley.edu.au

Ridley College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS: 02650E