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Orbiting Christ: Belonging, Believing, Behaving

Zoom

An Online Conference on Adult Faith Formation & Congregational Transformation

June 1 – 3, 2021

Description

Building on our earlier conference (Treasures Old and New: A Conference on Adult Faith Formation), this follow-up event will unfold ways in which the emblems of the Church intersect with the process of drawing people into Christ’s orbit, thus making them disciples. Belonging, believing, and behaving describe the person’s journey toward discipleship. Each of these three descriptors serves as a daily theme for the conference and will be paired with the emblems of the Church.  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, and 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 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 such a winsome and Gospel-centered, missional approach to ministry.
  • 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.

Structure of the Conference

  • Belonging through Community & Liturgy (Tuesday, June 1)
    • The presentation by pastoral leaders will unwrap Article VII of the Augsburg Confession in which the Church is both the visible expression of Christian community and the vehicle fostering a sense of belonging for those journeying to discipleship. Without the liturgy as the place where the Word is preached and sacraments, there can be no community in Christ. In baptism one is joined to Christ and the Church and in Holy Communion one becomes what one eats—the very body and blood of Christ.
    • Following a break, there will be back-to-back times for breakout sessions on topics of ritual/worship, hospitality/community, and practical tools for implementation. Participants will choose two sessions to attend from an offering of three or four sessions.
    • The day will close with a brief liturgy. Total Zoom time: 3.5 to 4 hours
  • Believing through Teaching & Preaching (Wednesday, June 2)
    • The presentation by pastoral leaders will explore the distinctive tasks of proclaiming Christ as Savior and Lord (kerygma) and teaching about Christ. The leaders will also delve into the distinction of personal faith (fides qua) and the core content of believing (fides quae) and how the distinction impacts the catechumenate.
    • Following a break, there will be back-to-back times for breakout sessions on topics of preaching, teaching, and practical tools for implementation. Participants will choose two sessions to attend from an offering of three or four sessions.
    • The day will close with a brief liturgy. Total Zoom time: 3.5 to 4 hours
  • Behaving through Witness & Service (Thursday, June 3)
    • The presentation by diaconal leaders will draw the participants into the daily practice of Christian life for laity. Using biblical themes and texts, the leaders will illustrate how witness and service can function in today’s post-Christian culture to attract the seeker and form the new disciple.
    • Following a break, there will be back-to-back times for breakout sessions on topics such as guidance for choosing and training sponsors, moving a congregation from a membership to a discipleship mindset, and creative ways to foster lay involvement in an adult faith formation process. Participants will choose two sessions to attend from an offering of three or four sessions.
    • The day will close with a brief liturgy. Total Zoom time: 3.5 to 4 hours

Breakout Session Topics

  • Belonging through Community & Liturgy (Tuesday, June 1)
    • Implementation timing and strategy: When and how to start an adult catechumenate process
    • Graceful and beautiful liturgy: A practical guide
    • Hospitality as the on-ramp to community
    • Overcoming ritual hesitancy in a congregation: A pastoral approach
  • Believing through Teaching & Preaching (Wednesday, June 2)
    • Considering multiple intelligence in catechetical instruction
    • Preaching and the catechumenate: An integrated approach
    • The one-year lectionary: A guide for the catechumenate
    • The Gospels, the three-year lectionary, and the catechumenate
  • Behaving through Witness & Service (Thursday, June 3)
    • Lay involvement in the adult faith formation process: A panel discussion
    • Shifting from a membership to a discipleship mindset
    • The role of sponsors in adult faith formation
    • Lay involvement for a family-friendly vigil

Leadership

Academic Scholars

  • Kent Burreson is the Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Dean of the Chapel 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 a Term Professor 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 include devout LCMS people preparing for work in the church as well as a range of students from other or no faith traditions. She strives 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.

Parish Leaders

  • 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.

Still to Come

  • A full copy of the schedule for the conference
  • List of presenters and full description of breakout sessions

 

Last modified on Apr 9, 2021 @ 8:29 am.

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