The 90 Day
Church Renewal Lab

Experience ministry planning and execution in 90-day cycles.
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The Lab is a two-year renewal kick-start helping congregations refresh their mission focus.
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Learning labs are the heart of the experience. Each lab has a particular renewal focus.
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Five individuals comprise the core teaching and creative team.
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Let those who have experienced The Renewal Lab tell about the experience.
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Renewal Lab Overview

Every congregation’s journey through the Renewal Lab process is unique to that congregation. The renewal process is grounded in Several Key Activities, sustained by Four Essentials, and devoted to One Goal.

The Renewal Lab Objective

The Renewal Lab has been designed to come along side any congregation seeking to revitalize ministry by regaining a focus on their missional calling.

Congregations participating in the Renewal Lab will begin a journey toward:

  • Identifying a unique mission and vision Developing tools for making more and better disciple
  • Becoming Gospel-centered in everything they do
  • Changing the atmosphere through congregational health
  • Implementing the priorities of the Acts 2:42-47 N.T. church

The Renewal Lab Process

The Renewal Lab is a two-year journey toward establishing vibrant missional faith communities by providing:

  • Cohorts of 5-10 churches journeying together
  • Quarterly renewal training (The Learning Labs)
  • A three-step process: Listen. Imagine. Do.
  • Peer Learning Environments
  • Team formation to help guide the renewal process
  • Congregational Involvement
  • Multiple coaches for various aspects of ministry
  • Unpacking the essentials and tools of renewal

The Essence of the Renewal Journey

Every congregation’s journey through the Renewal Lab process is unique to that congregation. The renewal process is grounded in Several Key Activities, sustained by Four Essentials, and devoted to One Goal.

  • One Goal: The One Goal is to be MISSIONAL. Missional means joining God on His mission of redeeming everyone He calls and restoring everything He creates. We desire to be communities of grace focused on the Gospel and communities of blessing focused on justice and mercy.
  • Four Essentials: The Essentials on which the Renewal Lab focuses include - ABIDING, VISION, LEADERSHIP, and HEALTH
  • Several Key Activities: Three key activities direct the Lab—LISTEN, IMAGINE, and DO

Teams and Triads

Every congregation is encouraged to designate a team representing the following areas of ministry: Pastor and/or an intern (and possibly a team leader), Elder, Deacon, Prayer, Worship, Discipleship, Outreach, Youth, Children, and Assimilation/Hospitality.

Renewal Lab teams gather monthly in the local congregations. The Congregational Team Members support each other as they advance toward a more mission-focused congregational vision.

The Renewal Lab Team helps articulate a congregational vision by helping to name:

  1. God’s mission in the world
  2. God’s vision for our church
  3. Values that support the vision
  4. Objectives that flow from the vision
  5. Annual S.M.A.R.T. goals to advance the vision

Director's Message

I trust you and your congregation are doing well despite the ministry challenges created by the pandemic.

I'm Keith Doornbos.  I serve as the director of the Church Renewal Lab (CRL). The Lab launched at Calvin Seminary in 2013 and has served 80 CRC & RCA congregations in 10 cohorts throughout North America.  Our goal is to partner with churches on their journey to becoming intentional missional congregations that make more and better disciples.  Many congregations testify to new hope, new vision, new passion, and new beginnings as a result of participating.

We are presently assembling a new cohort of 7-10 congregations from the Great Lakes region. The focus of this renewal cohort will be mission-focused ministry in the present moment.  Together we will step through and then emerge with a clearer sense of what it means to be on mission with God in a rapidly changing world.  Our energy will focus on ministry planning and execution in 90-day cycles.   In other words, this will be a side-by-side working project as we seek to become all that God intends for us to be.

The Great Lakes cohort launch is scheduled for October 15-17.  Pastors/key leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday, October 15 and 16 from 9:30-4:00 in a safe socially-distanced in-person environment.  Council, staff and interested members of the congregation will join via Zoom on Saturday, October 17 from 9:30-2:30.   I'm wondering if you would be open to a conversation about your congregation joining this cohort as we explore three critical questions: "Who are we?", "Where are we headed?" and "How will we get there?".

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Renewal Lab Team

Four individuals comprise the core teaching and creative team. Additional content is taught by guest lecturers who participate in various Learning Labs.




Vander Ploeg

Renewal Stories

A Large Impact!

"The Church Renewal Lab has had a large impact on my ministry and leadership in the church. Through it I received great training in leadership, along with materials and connections to continue that education. Even more importantly, my time in the Renewal Lab confirmed basic ministry passions in my own heart. These passions for discipleship and gospel-centered preaching have given clarity of direction in my ministry, and have filtered down into the communities I've served in."

Rev. Dan Kinnas

Breath of Fresh Air

I knew I had to do something different but I had no idea what to do or where to turn...the Renewal Lab was the first breath of fresh air blown into that discouragement...Change is hard, and I don’t yet know how it will turn out—but now I have resources and help, and hope. What I have been introduced to (both ideas and people) has changed the way I approach ministry.

Rev. Chris Rea

What We Needed

"Thank you for all the work of the Church Renewal Lab!  It has been exactly what we needed at Beckwith Hills.  Not only that, but it has been a great benefit to me as a pastor as I'm learning things about leadership that are long overdue.  Keep up the good work!

Rev. Rick Pinckney

Growing Each Year!

"Taking the Church Renewal Lab journey was one of the best decisions our church has ever made.  It helped us to refine and focus our missional efforts.   In the last two years we have enfolded 16 new members through evangelism—more than the last three decades combined—and the number of new believers is growing each year."

Rev. Tom Baird

Renewal Lab  Application

Registration for the new cohort launching each June opens September 1 and closes April 30. A maximum of 12 churches are admitted into each cohort.  When the maximum number of churches enrolls enrollment closes.

Qualifications for registration

  • A desire to be more mission-focused in all aspects of ministry.
  • A willingness to invest energy and prayer into a visioning process.
  • A board of elders or council willing to take risks attendant to change.
  • A committed core of individuals willing to serve on a renewal team.
  • A believe that Christ can use your congregation to make a redemptive difference in your community and beyond.

Costs of registration

Churches are asked to contribute approximately $3,000 per year depending on church size and location. More exact pricing can be found by contacting us. A variety of resources are available to help financially struggling congregations.  No church should choose not to participate based solely on finances.  Please contact Keith Doornbos to discuss this further. Payments are made on a quarterly basis with invoices sent just prior to each learning lab.

If you would like more information about the Church Renewal Lab or the application process please contact us at