Theological Education Outside the Academy
When: June 8, 2023, 9:00 am - Thursday
Where: Board Room
Theological education is often associated with professionally trained ministers and seminaries. But what does it look like when theological education moves outside the academy to engage laypersons in various contexts? What are the challenges inherent to such a task? What are the outcomes for those who participate? This generative session will consist of invited papers from scholars who have implemented theological education programs in various contexts. As we engage with their work and discuss it together, we will imagine new possibilities for theological education outside the academy.
Zac Luben, Pepperdine University, “CrossWays: An Experiment in Theology and Vocation”
What does it mean to view one’s vocation as God-given? What does it mean to be called by God? What is God’s plan for me? These and other questions undergird the CrossWays program at Pepperdine University. The programs invite incoming junior and senior high school students to spend nine days in Malibu to explore questions of vocation theologically. Over the past eight years, nearly eight hundred students have gone through the program. This paper will offer reflections on the benefits and obstacles of inviting high school students to reflect theologically about their professional lives.
Garrett Best, York College, “They are like Trees Planted by Streams of Water: Theological and Spiritual Formation in the Local Church”
Drawing its name from pervasive agricultural metaphors in Scripture, the Rooted ministry was formed to reimagine the role of the local church in theological education and spiritual formation. This paper explores the vision, process, and challenges involved in one minister’s attempt to implement an adult formation ministry at the Oliver Creek Church of Christ in Bartlett, TN, a medium-sized church in a Memphis suburb.
Kristi Miller Anderson, Fourth Purpose Foundation, “Theological Education in the Prison Setting”
Those serving long sentences in America’s prisons represent society’s most discarded and banished. Isolation and rejection are heaped upon hearts already heavy with guilt and loss. And yet, the gospel message gives hope that even the most shameful places can be redeemed and restored. This paper will describe how robust theological education within a prison has led to indigenous church planting and effective ministry among the most recalcitrant. This paper will describe benefits and barriers in providing theological education in a prison setting.
Matthew B. Hale, Abilene Christian University, Convener
- Zac Luben, Pepperdine University, “CrossWays: An Experiment in Theology and Vocation”
- Garrett Best, York University, “They are like Trees Planted by Streams of Water: Theological and Spiritual Formation in the Local Church”
- Kristi Miller Anderson, Fourth Purpose Foundation, “Theological Education in the Prison Setting”