VTS Announces PitchTank, Encouraging Church Entrepreneurship

Virginia Theological Seminary
Posted Jan 13, 2020

From church in a spin studio to a smart speaker version of morning prayer that’s been a hit, to starting Spanish-speaking congregational communities from scratch, it has been a year of trying for TryTank, the experimental lab for church growth and innovation. And now, TryTank is casting a wide net for the next great innovation idea for the church by introducing PitchTank, an opportunity for church entrepreneurs who wish to see more innovation and experimentation to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts.

PitchTank will occur on Friday, January 24, 2020 at the Rooted in Jesus conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Entrepreneurs may pitch their ideas either live at the conference or over videoconferencing. The selected ideas will receive a budget of up to $5000 to launch their experiment in collaboration with TryTank. All are encouraged to submit ideas and can do so by visiting www.TryTank.org/pitchtank.

PitchTank is open to anyone in the church, lay or ordained, who wants to share an experiment idea about how they believe the church could grow. Based in grassroots organization, PitchTank seeks to glean the wisdom of the church to help the church. As the Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija, the founding director of TryTank, explains, “We know that the wisdom of the church is actually in the church and this is one way we’re trying to find more of it.”

PitchTank will have a straightforward process that allows good ideas to have a hearing. The individual pitch should only be five minutes long. With such a brief window of opportunity, entrepreneurs are encouraged to present the essence of their idea. Some guiding questions might be, “What is the problem to be addressed and the solution proposed?” “Briefly, how will the solution work?” and “Why is this important for the church.” Lebrija explains, “On purpose, this is a very simple process so that anyone who has an idea can give us the gist of it. If it’s good, we’ll work to develop it with them.” All ideas are welcome.

TryTank: An Experimental Laboratory for Church Growth and Innovation is a joint project between Virginia Theological Seminary and the General Theological Seminary. TryTank offers a much-needed inventive approach to the challenges facing the Episcopal Church. Working in partnership across the Episcopal Church, TryTank works to understand the forces threatening the church in order to identify creative ways to equip future leaders to reinvigorate the church.

Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those ordained who received residential theological education. Visit Virginia Seminary online at www.vts.edu.