An Online Conference on Adult Faith Formation & Congregational Transformation June 1 – 3, 2021
“So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:41-42).
As we make final preparations for this upcoming conference, our theme converges with the approaching Feast of Pentecost and Luke’s description of the early Christian community. Throughout the Acts of the Apostles, Luke’s narrative illustrates the multi-dimensional pathways of belonging, believing, and behaving that lead to discipleship. By exploring what the Church is (a community of faith in Christ) and the activities that identify a community as Church (worship, preaching and teaching, witness and service), the conference leaders will explore how living as the Church opens a Christian community to Christ’s missional calling: to teach and baptize and to love one another and the world.
The conference is designed
- To foster a vision of missional identity through practical ways of building a process of adult formation centered in Christ.
- To reflect on the Christological nature of the Church’s emblems—community, liturgy, preaching, teaching, witness, and service—as key to the missional nature of congregations by
- Envisioning community and worship as vehicles that create a sense of belonging rooted in Christ for those on the path to discipleship;
- Exploring the overlap between and distinctiveness of preaching and teaching; and recognizing the role of both in the Holy Spirit’s work in creating believing hearts;
- Examining anew witness and service in the world as transformative ways of behaving that can draw those outside the Church into Christ’s orbit.
- To inspire pastors and lay leaders to a missional approach to ministry that is winsome and Gospel-centered.
- To remind participants from the “Treasures Old and New” Conference: that we are not peddling a “program for new members” but offering visions of a robust adult catechumenal process that leads to congregational transformation.
Participants in this conference will
- Hear church professionals dialogue on the daily topic as it relates to their ministry setting;
- Engage in Q & A time with presenters;
- Choose from a variety of breakout sessions that will explore practical ways to implement a catechumenal process and introduce new resources on adult faith formation.
- Kent Burreson is the Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He has taught across the systematics curriculum and shaped the worship theology and practice of future pastors for over twenty years. In addition to the catechumenate, he writes and provides resources on natural (green) burial. Discussing the history of Reformation and post-Reformation worship, worship and culture, and the theology of worship energizes him. Since he is the father of both a Millennial and a Gen Z daughter, he thinks he knows something about worship formation with those generations (but they’d probably tell him how authentically deluded he is).
- Rhoda Schuler, a rostered LCMS deaconess, is Professor Emerita of Theology and Inter-Disciplinary Studies at Concordia University – St. Paul, the institution with the most diverse student body in the Concordia University System. Her students included devout LCMS people preparing for work in the church as well as a range of students from other or no faith traditions. She strove to make the academic study of the Bible and church history interesting to the uninterested and is encouraged by research that shows some young people “discovering” the beauty of the liturgy and experiencing the mysteries of God through ritual.
- Scott Bruzek, senior pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Wheaton, Illinois, has two decades of experience developing an adult faith formation process that focuses on making disciples and making them stronger by bringing them into orbit around Christ. https://www.stjohnwheaton.org/#home
- Timothy Droegemueller, senior pastor at Living Faith Lutheran Church in Cumming, Georgia for fourteen years, has structured an adult faith formation model which “teaches people in a high paced, high stress, high tech age to abide in Jesus our Savior through every storm of life.” The journey begins with “an open ended study in the Bible where people can immediately begin growing together around the Word of God.” Living Faith structures the catechumenate around the one-year lectionary. https://www.livingfaithlutheran.com/home
- Dien Ashley Taylor, pastor at Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in The Bronx, has tended and nurtured this diverse flock since 2001 and reached out into the neighborhood to draw people into a congregation that “by God’s grace, is a praying community of service that receives, teaches, celebrates and shares Christ Jesus.” Redeemer uses a similar catechumenal pattern both for youth and adults. http://www.redeemerlutheranbronx.org/index.html
- Danny Eggold, pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Lafayette, Indiana since 2016, is actively morphing an adult “membership class” into a catechumenal process informed by the early church and the contemporary context. Pastor Eggold was one of four pastors “mentored” through Drs. Burreson and Schuler’s first project on the adult catechumenate in 2018-19. https://www.gracelaf.org/
- Deaconess Raquel Rojas completed her diaconal training at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, and has served with Pastor Taylor at Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in The Bronx since 2010. Deaconess Rojas works primarily with the vibrant youth catechumenate at Redeemer.
Image: The Pentecost
Zelovsky master; late 18th century; Belarusian National Arts Museum
Wiki Commons; public domain