Calvin Seminary, in collaboration with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, is pleased to offer a series of short term online courses that are designed to support your ministry leadership amidst the ongoing pandemic. These online mini-courses are centered around key ministry challenges you face today.
With a commitment of four hours per week for just three weeks, each class is designed to fit alongside the many time demands and commitments that you already have. Though some courses may include optional live discussion online, you won't be required to be present for a session during a specific time. You can choose to audit the course or enroll for credit.
Summer 2021 Course Options
Session 2: June 21-July 9
Developing a Rhythm of Life in a COVID-Shaped World
In the middle of chaos, how can disciples of Jesus engage in rhythms that are life-giving for themselves and those they serve? In this course, we will look at how ancient and more modern disciples answered this question. Then we will follow their lead in developing a Rhythm (or Rule) of Life.
A Rhythm is an intentional pattern of practices that cooperates with the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. We will develop a Rhythm by first assessing where we are in our Christian way of life and discerning areas of life where the Spirit is calling us to grow. Then we will develop an intentional plan for how we can continue the journey from where we are to where we need to go.
David Rylaarsdam, Professor of the History of Christianity and Worship
Together Again: Cultivating Safe and Healthy Church Communities after COVID
The loss of opportunities to meet in person over the last year has created a deep hunger for community. As churches begin to regather in person, there is a unique opportunity to think intentionally about what kind of community we want to be and how we might structure our lives together in ways that reflect the value and dignity of every person. This course is designed to provide Christian leaders with the framework and tools to begin instituting practices and behaviors that promote healthier and safer church communities. Topics of discussion will include: how to deal with conflict in ways that are constructive and healing; best practices for women and men working in mutually respectful relationships; attending to uses and abuses of power; becoming a more inclusive community; and relating to each other in restorative ways.
along with Sean Baker, Dave Den Haan, Eric Kas, Elaine May and Viviana Cornejo.
God’s Story and Our Stories: Discipling the Beloved Community Toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In the wake of racial tension and disparities globally, Christians proactively are reaching out to find answers to these heightened concerns. Church leaders are asking questions like how to move beyond awareness to action, how to embrace biblical, Christ-centered approaches that impact God’s kingdom, and how to not fall into the complicity trap. At the same time, Christians are wondering about personal and corporate challenges, commitment, and practices. In this course, participants learn a common language in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the beloved community and society by sharing God’s story and our stories as God weaves them into his story. Through this transformative learning experience, participants will be engaged in conversations, practices, and activities to deepen and strengthen their witness!
David Beelen, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Discipleship Coach & Mentoring Specialist
Denise Posie, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Discipleship Coach
Reviewing the Nuts and Bolts of Preaching
The global pandemic and the ways it forced churches to re-tool worship and also preaching caused a lot of preachers to revert to the basics of the sermon-writing craft. With most of the usual practices of preaching knocked out from underneath them, preachers had to fashion sermons that were strong on many simple yet foundational fronts so that they would work in the new formats of sermon delivery via streaming and Facebook Live and other virtual platforms. In the wake of all that, now may be a good time to review the nuts and bolts of sermons. In this course Prof. Scott Hoezee will foster conversations, assign readings, and deliver lectures that will get at the practices of what we could call “Homiletics 101.” What are the basics of good sermon introductions and conclusions? What makes a sermon lively and easy to follow? What are illustrations and why do sermons need solid imagery and stories? Participants in the course will have ample opportunity to share their ideas and best practices with their peers, including samples from their own preaching of things that worked (and maybe even a few things that did not work!). The course will look at many practical aspects of sermon-making in an effort to help course participants review the basics so as to fine-tune their preaching anew.
Scott E. Hoezee, Director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching
Session 3: July 12-30
Faithful Anti-Racism in a Global Context
This course will survey the global influences and far-reaching impact of American Christian racism. We will discuss the global phenomenon of white dominant evangelicalism, the currency of colorism, the essential components of caste systems, and the complicity and strengths of Christianity in racialization and anti-racism.
Organizational Leadership and Decision Making in a COVID-Shaped World
Using student submitted case studies from a variety of leadership settings and contexts, this course will engage students in curated conversations about effective leadership in an ever changing world. Students will engage focused and generative reading designed to spark their leadership imagination. These readings will be enhanced by engaging lecture material that seeks to encourage student reflection and conversation. Beyond the already included expertise of students, there will be some rooted conversations in topics such as adaptive and technical leadership, system theory, interpreting ministry and cultural context for leadership, discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit in individual and communal leadership, - all with strong links to the comprehending more of the mission of God in our world.
Jul Medenblik, President, Calvin Theological Seminary
Creating Congregations of Belonging for People of All Abilities
People with Down syndrome, autism, ADHD, learning differences, dementia, medical challenges, and other differences of ability are treasured by God and should be treasured in every church. This course provides the framework and practical tools to shape a congregation where people of varying abilities and disabilities can participate and belong.
Rev. LaTonya McIver Penny
John Witvliet, Professor of Worship, Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
The Sermons to the Seven Churches of Revelation
A New Testament scholar, a seasoned preacher and an experienced tour guide who has led over 40 trips to ancient biblical sites in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Israel and Jordan explains in this course the meaning of the seven sermons of Revelation 2-3 and shows how these ancient messages are relevant for the church today.
A common reading of the book of Revelation sees these seven churches as healthy communities of Christ-followers who are suffering much for their faith at the hands of oppressive Roman authorities, and the book of Revelation is assumed to have been written to encourage these persecuted believers with the good news that Christ will ultimately be victorious and that their faith in him will be vindicated. This widespread but mistaken view of the readers’ situation makes it too easy for contemporary Christians to ignore the book of Revelation because our current situation does not similarly involve this kind of persecution, and consequently Christ’s message to the seven churches does not seem relevant to our day and situation.
A careful study of the sermons to the seven churches of Rev. 2-3, however, reveals that the majority of these congregations are spiritually unhealthy, more in danger of compromising with the world than of dying to it. Christ warns five churches against a variety of problems such as their failure to love fellow believers, idolatry, sexual immorality, false teaching, and complacency—all problems with which the affluent Western church struggles today. Although the central problem for the remaining two healthy churches is persecution, which is not a primary concern for the Western church, opposition to the Christian faith is increasingly an issue for many contemporary churches around the globe. All of this makes the sermons to the seven churches extremely relevant to our times and important texts on which to preach and teach.
The primary textbook for this course will be Dr. Weima’s recently published book, The Sermons to the Seven Churches of Revelation. A Commentary and Guide (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2011).
Jeffrey Weima, Professor of New Testament
QUESTIONS? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.