Ventures in Christian Discipleship offers courses to empower small churches




Ventures in Christian Discipleship, a program of McPherson College

The Ventures in Christian Discipleship initiative hosted at McPherson (Kan.) College offers series of courses aimed at empowering small congregations. The courses offered in coming months cover the topics of “How the Bible Came to Be the Bible,” “Revitalizing Worship Through the Arts,” and “Congregations Nurturing a Culture of Call.”

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How the Bible Came to Be the Bible

Presented by Carol Scheppard, immediate past moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and a professor at Bridgewater (Va.) College, this course is offered Feb. 10, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (central time. “The Christian Bible is a living document with a rich and spirited history,” said an announcement. “Our course will trace the Bible’s development from its early beginnings as a loose collection of shared texts and resources to its formal adoption as canon at the ecumenical councils of the late 4th century AD. We will observe the way the Christian scriptures merged with the developing Hebrew canon and will follow its ongoing transformation through the Latin Vulgate to the Luther Bible and beyond.”

Revitalizing Worship Through the Arts

Presenter Bobbi Dykema, pastor and professor serving in Pacific Northwest District, leads this course on March 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (central time). “Imagine a worship service where any or all of the pieces--from the call to worship to the benediction--contained new surprises: words, images, sounds, and experiences that would engage the scripture and the congregation, all ages, in new ways,” said an announcement. “Now imagine these exciting new ways of being church happening in your congregation! Creativity is a God-given birthright to all of God’s children, and scripture calls us to bring our best before the Lord. The challenge of crafting innovative worship doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, just joyful open hearts. Join us to learn how!”

Congregations Nurturing a Culture of Call: Why It Matters

Presenter Joe Detrick recently completed a term as interim director of ministry for the Church of the Brethren, and is a former district executive. He presents on April 14, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (central time). “This interactive course will focus on the distinctive role congregations play in the calling and nurturing of ministerial leadership,” said an announcement. “We will hear testimonies of those who have answered the call--from biblical times to the present, and examples of congregations who have excelled in creating a climate for calling. We will examine the new Ministerial Leadership (2014) paper, highlighting various components of ‘discerning the call’ toward credentialed ministry. We will identify 10 practical ways congregations and districts can partner in the calling, training, and sustaining qualified ministerial leaders for the local, district, and national ministry needs.”

All courses available online and are open to everyone at no cost. Ministers may earn .3 continuing education units for a $10 donation. Pre-register at www.McPherson.edu/Ventures .

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