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January 2021 Conference

Read about our model churches:

[When recordings are available, they are linked to the title of the presentation.]

Tuesday Plenaries

Treasures Old and New: Putting Vintage Wine into New Wineskins
Drs. Kent Burreson and Rhoda Schuler will outline the shape and goals of the conference by familiarizing participants with the adult catechumenate model of the early church and by describing its relevance for our contemporary context based on their research at three diverse LCMS congregations. The session will conclude with a Q & A time for the participants.

Painting a Vision for Forming Lutheran Christians
In this panel discussion Pastors Dien Ashley Taylor, Timothy Droegemueller, and Scott Bruzek will each describe the development and structure of the adult faith formation process in their respective parishes and highlight its strengths. Drs. Burreson and Schuler will join in a dialogue with the three parish pastors to explore in greater detail the specific context of each congregation.

Wednesday Plenaries

The Transforming Power of Robust Ritual Practices
[Read more about the Rites.]
During the first hour of this session Drs. Burreson and Taylor will discuss the Rite of Acceptance and Rite of Election through the lens of authentic ritual and embodied practices, unpacking ways in which these rituals impact not only the catechumens but congregational identity and ethos. Drs. Burreson and Taylor will then discuss Redeemer’s Holy Thursday liturgy (with foot washing) and Easter Vigil through the lens of authentic ritual and embodied practices, unpacking ways in which these rituals impact not only the catechumens but congregational identity and ethos.

Resources, Ancient and Modern, for the Catechumenate
Pastor Danny Eggold will lead this “literature review” session to introduce participants to key resources on the catechumenate, including readings from the Church Fathers and contemporary authors, worship resources, handbooks for the catechumenate, and catechetical materials. For a fuller bibliography, click here.

Forming Lutheran Christians through Catechesis
Our trinity of parish pastors will return for another panel discussion focusing on the teaching and faith formation aspect of their catechumenal model.

Thursday Morning Breakout Sessions

9:30 Breakout Sessions

How Hospitality Builds Community led by Rev. Dr. Scott Bruzek
We live in a world where most folks feel alone and unloved.  Our recent troubles – political, racial, economic, cultural, and pandemic – have left many feeling even more shattered.  But why would anybody imagine that the Church has a solution that satisfies body, mind, and spirit?  Hospitality is an on-ramp to the Community which has the Christological gifts to heal.

Rich Ritual” led by Deaconess Raquel Rojas
Do we do things just to do things or does doing things actually do things?  This breakout session focuses on the use and power of ritual in the Catechumenate in the service of the Word and Sacraments.

Life in Christ: Christian Formation through Narrative Preaching led by Rev. Dr. Adam Filipek
When the Church speaks of “Christian formation,” we tend to speak of a classroom setting: Sunday School, Confirmation class, Adult instruction, and Bible Study. But for the early Church catechumenate, preaching and the liturgy were central to catechesis. Dr. Filipek will discuss how narrative preaching can be used not only to recover the Biblical narrative in an ever increasingly biblically illiterate world, but to form Christians to live their lives in Christ, here in time: weekly in the Divine Service, and daily in their respective vocations, and there again in eternity.

The Liturgical and Catechetical Setting of the Gospel of Lukeled by Rev. Dr. Arthur Just Luke’s Gospel is a book of the church, written for the church, to be used by the church in teaching and preaching the Gospel.  The community that receives Luke’s Gospel is a liturgical, catechetical and eucharistic body.  It is already engaged in a process of making Christians based on Jesus’s three-year catechumenate of his twelve disciples, and Luke’s Gospel is the basis for the catechesis of the unbaptized.  In his prologue Luke himself describes the purpose of his Gospel as catechetical and kerygmatic (Lk 1:4) where certainty in the catechesis comes in the breaking of the bread (Lk 24:31).

11:00 Breakout Sessions

Lay Involvement in the Catechumenal Process led by Rev. Timothy Droegemueller
As Martin Luther said, “I never did a thing; God’s Word did everything.”  By using the one-year lectionary and structuring your Catechumenate around God’s Word, the necessary truth and salvation of Christ can flow into the lives of participants and also lead lay people to excel in the use of their gifts.  Learn how to setup the logistics of a proficient catechumenate by involving a catechist, sponsors, and an adult catechumenate director.

Lessons on Implementation led by Pastors Danny Eggold, Kevin Loughran, and John Wilke
Drs. Burreson and Schuler mentored these pastors, the “runners-up” from our list of congregations willing to partner with our first Vital Worship grant. We listened as they described their nascent attempts to develop a stronger adult formation model, made suggestions to build it up further, and invited them to interact with the pastors of the “model” congregations at a Capstone Event in June 2019. This session might be a good choice for those who want to introduce the concept to a congregation.

Re-Thinking the Study of Scripture for the Adult Catechumenate led by Dr. Rhoda Schuler
With all the zeal of a recent convert to this discussion-based method of Scripture study, Dr. Schuler will challenge the time-honored practice of proof-texting as the primary way in which we seek to engage laity with the Word of God.

A Brave, New Life: Baptismal Identity for Mission led by Rev. Dr. Kent Burreson
One participant said, “It changed my very life.” To what did he refer? The process of becoming a Christian. That process leading to and from baptism creates a new identity, including a missional identity. We’ll reflect on this brave, new life for the new Christian lived in missional service to God’s good creation.

The Adult Catechumenate in Larger Congregations led by Rev. Dr. James Marriott
We will explore how the adult catechumenate has particular benefits and strengths for large congregations, including megachurches and multi-site congregations. Through a collaborative approach, we’ll explore best practices for possible inclusion of the rituals and practices of the adult catechumenate in these larger churches.

Thursday Plenary

Congregational Transformation through Adult Faith Formation
Drawing on their research and dialogue with the parish pastors, Drs. Kent Burreson and Rhoda Schuler will explore how a robust catechumenate has impacted the life and missional identity of the congregations they studied and prepared the laity to live the Christian life during a pandemic. They will propose ways in which an adult catechumenate could foster a habitus of hospitality in congregational life in the aftermath of the current pandemic.


A printable version of the conference program is available here.