Category Archives: Along the Journey

From our Center of Lifelong Learning.

What I’m Learning Outside the Church Bubble: Day One

By Jan Edmiston, DMin. ‘01

This is the first of a three-part series by popular blogger and Columbia Theological Seminary graduate Jan Edmiston. In this series, Edmiston examines different ways the Church can utilize secular business practices and principles in the “business” of running a church. In this post, Edmiston asks some great questions of church leaders regarding why we do things the way we do, and they reflect whom we believe we are as a church. Continue reading What I’m Learning Outside the Church Bubble: Day One

Common Sense in Pastoral Leadership

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Emotional Intelligence is a field of research currently being applied to pastoral leadership, to great benefit. I think it holds great promise to effective pastoral leadership because the nature of leadership in the relational context of congregations is more about understanding emotional process than about anything else typically associated with what constitutes “leadership” (management skills, education, intellect, good looks, personality style, etc.). But I think in many cases, “common sense” may be as valuable an asset for the leaders as a high score on any emotional intelligence inventory.

Here are some common sense factors that too many congregational leaders, whether pastors or staff, seem to not “get”: Continue reading Common Sense in Pastoral Leadership

Five Elements for Effective Instruction

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

I’ve been reviewing video presentations for a project. Primarily I screen them for delivery rather than content. It’s amazing how many basic rules of good communication presenters break—consistently—even professional speakers and celebrated “master teachers.” The other side of the equation that puzzles me is the level of tolerance audiences seem to have for poor presentations. I wonder sometimes if we have seen so few well-delivered presentations that we have lowered our expectations, and therefore, demand so little of presenters. Most of the presentations I see are entertaining but not educational, even when they portend to be.

Continue reading Five Elements for Effective Instruction

When Churches Want a Pastor Who Can “Bring In Young Families”

By Jan Edmiston, DMin ’01

Almost every church I’ve ever known has wanted to Attract Young Families. The reasoning behind this includes the following:

  • If we don’t regenerate, everyone will eventually get old and die.
  • It’s energizing to have young people around.
  • Younger members can do the work that older members can’t/won’t do anymore.
  • Older members tend to be on fixed incomes and younger working members are needed for their pledges.
  • Young families (i.e. mom, dad, and kids) remind us of church when we were (or wish we were) part of young families.

There are a few things wrong with this reasoning, including the fact that “attracting” people in general feels manipulative – as if people are “targets” to be used for our own purposes. Yuck.

Continue reading When Churches Want a Pastor Who Can “Bring In Young Families”

Shifting Toward A Formation Approach in Christian Education

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

In 1966 Jerome Bruner, Harvard psychologist and educator, wrote:

There is a dilemma in describing a course of study. One must begin by setting forth the intellectual substance of what is to be taught, else there can be no sense of what challenges and shapes the curiosity of the student. Yet the moment one succumbs to the temptation to “get across” the subject, at that moment the ingredient of pedagogy is in jeopardy. For it is only in a trivial sense that one gives a course to “get something across,” merely to impart information. There are better means to that end than teaching. Unless the learner also masters himself, disciplines his taste, deepens his view of the world, the “something” that is got across is hardly worth the effort of transmission.

Bruner’s challenge relates to education in a global sense, but he provides a challenge that is at the heart of Christian education. The phrase “there are better means to that end than teaching” suggests that at the heart of teaching is the relationship between teacher and student that “shapes” the persons involved in the enterprise of learning.

Continue reading Shifting Toward A Formation Approach in Christian Education