(Three-day course; 75 minutes each; select one)
Please see our schedule to get a sense for how each day flows.

To Infinity and Beyond: Failing with Style
Leadership: Kenda Creasy Dean & Eric Barreto

Description: So you’ve looked into biblical and theological sources on innovation . . . now what? Using biblical texts to catapult our imaginations “to infinity and beyond,” we will explore the importance of failure in ministry, focusing on three ways that failing faithfully can make God’s innovation the crux of our work in ministry together. Failure is both frightening but also unavoidable. Moreover, failure can be a site of learning and growth. Though presentations, learning activities, and rich conversations, we will wonder together on how we might fail with style, and perhaps catch a glimpse of God in the process.

Envisioning Relationship: Understanding Youth and Disability
Leadership: John Swinton & Wesley Ellis

What kind of relationships do young people need with youth workers, with their peers, and with the other adults in their lives? To answer this question, we will engage with insights from disability theology, think together about what “youth” really means, and explore how adults should relate with young people. By exploring the intersection of youth and disability, we will explore how we might envision the relationships we cultivate through youth ministry in a way that is faithful to our relationship with God, and faithful to the experience of the young people in our midst. Join a local youth pastor, Wes Ellis, and renowned theologian John Swinton in envisioning relationship.

Innovation, Social Impact, and the Black Church: A Child Shall Lead Them
Leadership: Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes

God created…and it was good. As people of faith, we proclaim a theological framework of creation that from the beginning of time has pointed to God’s ministry of innovation. A mantra of the black church is that we serve a God who ‘keeps making a way out of no way!’ In other words- innovation is in our DNA. And young people have been at the helm. When we look at our history, Jesus was a young man, Martin Luther King Jr. was a young man, Mary the mother of Jesus was a teenager – so many of the folks who shaped our church were young innovators who saw the world differently. Isaiah 11:6 imagines a future world where “…a little child shall lead them.” How does the black church in the 21st century live into that world? This seminar will illuminate opportunities for innovation- where God might be seeking to make a way out of no way in our churches, our communities, and our young people. This seminar is for leaders who are serving predominantly black churches.

This Seminar is exclusively for prospective students. Check out the steep discounts on our cost page if you attend this event as a prospective student! You will engage with two leaders over three days. Both leaders will explore themes of vocational discernment with event participants who are asking questions about what it might mean to follow God’s call into ministry. Topics and themes for this Seminar include:

Where Have You Been?! Vocational Discernment, Theological Education, and Youth Ministry
Leader: Erik Leafblad

Description: “Where have you been?!” she asked me excitedly. The simplicity of the question could not overshadow the seriousness of its summons. That it occurred in a seminary classroom was not incidental. God’s Spirit was confirming my call not only to seminary- but to study youth ministry. So- where have you been? In this extended seminar we’ll explore questions around our shared calling, and how those intersect with theological education. We’ll look closely at our own lives and seek to discover where God’s Spirit calls to us, “Where have you been?” and where that may lead us in the future.

God’s Playground: Discernment in Community Infused With Play
Leadership: Lydia Tembo

Description: Have you ever been to a new playground climbing, jumping, leaping from obstacle to obstacle? Following God’s call is like stepping foot on scared playgrounds. Imagine being invited to search new areas of God’s Kingdom, led by discernment partners new and old. These critical partners help you navigate questions, institutional expectations, and murky corners of self-doubt. If we are able to imagine our vocational journey as a community playground like Seminary, how might we hear God’s call in our lives? Join this seminar to explore where and how God is calling you to play. What community awaits for your arrival?

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