Certificate Program in Christian Formation
Next session: January 18 – 22, 2016
The Certificate Program in Christian Formation is designed to meet the needs of Christian educators and youth ministers who seek to deepen their understanding of the Christian theological tradition. This continuing education program empowers practitioners in the field of Christian education to be more able ministers through strengthening their ability to speak the language of the Christian community in effective and creative ways.
The following two courses are included in the January session:
Resident Aliens: Truthful living in a pluralistic society
J. Douglas Harrison
The Church and the Christian story no longer hold a place of privilege in North American culture. While some grieve this, or even experience a sense of panic at certain cultural shifts, the Church must still carry on the work of worship, discipleship and loving our neighbors. In this workshop we will not only consider the implications for the Church’s life of worship and ethics, but we will also consider pastoral and spiritual aspects of helping to live into and guide others into a new life of faith and holiness even as a lot of assumptions about Christianity are being challenged. We will see who many of these changes may serve as an enormous gift, rather than a threat to the Body of Christ.
Required Advanced Reading
Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon
Letter to the Philippians.
Strongly Recommended Reading (Either)
The Gospel in a Pluralist Society by Lesslie Newbigin
The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context by Myron B Penner
Pastoral Ministry According to Paul: Re-Imagining Spiritual Formation in Christian Communities
Moral formation in the likeness of Christ was the goal of the apostle Paul’s missionary and pastoral work in his congregations. In this course, we will read and reflect on passages from various Pauline letters in order to re-imagine the pastoral dimensions of our roles as Christian educators and youth ministers. The course will include close readings and facilitated discussions of particular biblical texts, small group work with case studies, and the creation by each participant of a revised job description and two-year plan for congregational spiritual formation that incorporates our learning in the course. James Thompson’s book Pastoral Ministry According to Paul will provide a framework for study.
For more information about the program contact Laurel Schlueder, executive assistant to the academic dean at 512.439.0356 or email@example.com. Registration deadline is January 3, 2016.
[The program] Gave me tools to work within the challenging environment of a parish church.
[I received] a stronger vision of hope for our church as a whole.
This course was inspiring and renewing for my ministry. It gave me a much clearer understanding of some of the dynamics of leadership in my congregation. The liturgical formation was quite powerful. By the end of the week, I had a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the Divine Service and had recovered much of my early joy as a Christian.
I came away from the course energized and with renewed enthusiasm for what I do.
It was great to be right on campus, and the food was absolutely fantastic! I felt quite cared for.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM
The Certificate Program in Christian Formation is designed to meet the needs of Christian educators and youth ministers, who seek to deepen their understanding of the Christian theological tradition. Working in peer groups taught by seminary faculty, students in the Certificate Program engage with scripture, history, ethics, and practical theology in a sequence of four sessions on the campus of Seminary of the Southwest. Designed as continuing education for practitioners in the field of Christian Education, the program empowers students to be more able ministers through strengthening their ability to speak the language of the Christian community in effective and creative ways.
The theological vision for Christian formation is to assist Christians on their journey of faith. We explore how we as Christians can grow in the life of faith, and how we can participate in the Holy Spirit’s transforming work. The Certificate Program invites the students from all denominational backgrounds to enrich their experience of the field in ways that are focused, coherent, and solidly grounded in Bible, church history, systematic theology, ethics, and practical theology. The vision for the Certificate Program in Christian Formation brings together the rich and challenging experience of family, children, and youth ministry practitioners with focused theological reflection offered by our faculty.
The theological vision above informs the learning objectives of the certificate program and its curriculum. First, the certificate program is designed to build an informed faith; second,to build a conversational faith that engages personal, ecclesial, spiritual, and public life of a student; and third, to build a practicing faith that equips a student for Christian practices of witnessing, modeling, and teaching that allows them (children, youth and adults) to participate in the Body of Christ while pursuing the goals of growing in their faith in God in Christ, and becoming instruments of God’s spreading of the Kingdom.
The Certificate Program in Christian Formation will take two years to complete. Beginning in June 2012, the program will meet twice a year, once in June and once in January. Two courses will be offered at each session. In order to graduate from the program, students will take a total of eight courses in the following general areas:
- Biblical Studies
- Historical and Theological Studies
- Ethics, Church and Society
- Liturgical and Pastoral Theology
The courses will be offered in a week-long format. Some preparation will be required in advance of each session, and students will receive clear guidance in what is required of them. At the conclusion of each session, students will be asked to write a paper (around 1500 words) for each course. That paper will be sent via e-mail to the instructor within three weeks from the day the instruction is over.
For more information about the program contact Laurel Schlueder, executive assistant to the academic dean, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facts about the Certificate Program
Classes — Each course balances instruction, discussion, theological reflection, practical ministry skills, worship and spiritual formation. Regular worship is an important part of each session. The interplay of study and prayer is integral to the intent of the program.
Faculty — Professors from Seminary of the Southwest and other qualified instructors make up the faculty of the Certificate Program.
Location — Program sessions are held on the campus of Southwest. Located in the center of Austin, the seminary is a welcoming community featuring an innovative library, the Episcopal Church’s Archives, a chapel open to a variety of worship, and a neighborhood that includes the University of Texas and two other seminaries. Meals at the seminary are first-rate, the accommodations comfortable, and Austin’s legendary music scene awaits you.
Enrollment Prerequisites — Lay and ordained persons of all denominations are welcome. A college degree or GRE scores are not necessary for enrollment.
Session Dates — January 18 – 22, 2016