Category Archives: Along the Journey

From our Center of Lifelong Learning.

Are You Enforcing Your Church’s Child Protection Policy?

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

It’s hard to imagine but there are still churches that have no child protection policies in place (I know, I ask). That’s just a tragedy waiting to happen. Another issue is that while some congregations have adopted child protection policies they fail to ensure oversight for compliance. In the press of circumstances it’s often too easy to lean toward what is convenient rather than what is right.

Does your church have a child protection policy? If you don’t know, ask. If the answer is “yes,” then ask about how well the policy is enforced and monitored. Sometimes, a change in staff leads to things falling by the wayside. A new staff member or committee chair may not be as diligent as a previous leader in monitoring for compliance. Also, as with all policies, a change in institutional development often calls for a change in policy. It is worth revisiting the church child protection policies periodically. Continue reading Are You Enforcing Your Church’s Child Protection Policy?

Opening the Heart to Something New

By Michael Lee Cook, Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Care

I recently received the news of the tragic death of a dear friend of mine. At age 52, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack. By all measures, he was a faithful, wholesome, and wonderful person, but this was not enough to keep him among us. Without the slightest warning, death came upon him like a thief in the night. His death leaves me with a deep sense of loss, and quietly reminds me of the inevitable presence of suffering within the rhythm of life.

To live is to experience loss. No one escapes its grasp. It reaches out and taps on shoulders and calls out to the old and young; wise and illiterate; rich and poor; and faithful and unbeliever alike. At some point, we will all feel the coldness of loss. Loss is simply, but confusingly, a dynamic factor of the human condition. Loss stings in every way. Yet, there is always more at work in this mystery. Continue reading Opening the Heart to Something New

For the Bookshelf: Beyond the Ordinary

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

Ben Campbell Johnson and Andrew Dreitcer provide a welcome resource to congregations in practical spirituality in Beyond the Ordinary: Spirituality for Church Leaders.  The book’s unique contribution is in fleshing out of classical Christian spirituality in the context of congregational leadership. In doing so, the authors move spirituality away from the individualistic expressions that remains prevalent today, and into a corporate dimension more in keeping with the communal nature of the church.

In addition, the intentional attention to an underlying theology of discipleship that calls for a shared ministry between clergy and laypersons can be a revolutionary challenge to most clergy-dependent congregations. In this way Johnson and Dreitcer call for greater responsibility from the laity for their personal spirituality and for a way of congregational leadership grounded in spiritual principals and disciplines. Continue reading For the Bookshelf: Beyond the Ordinary

Resources for 21st Century Lifelong Learners

By Sarah F. Erickson, Director for Lifelong Learning

Thanks to the web, there’s a vast array of resources out there. Assessing how and what to use is a challenge. How do you curate your lists of resources and information, your “go-to” lists for planning learning events, worship, conducting program assessments, hiring, or writing effective proposals?

It’s a daunting task. According to this Industry Tap article, human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. By some forecasts, and thanks to the “internet of things,” information could soon double every 12 hours.

I don’t have a singular answer to these questions. But I have a 7-point approach (a perfect number!) and some of my current favorite resources to share.

Continue reading Resources for 21st Century Lifelong Learners

Growth from the Outside In: Formation and Education

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

In Toward a Theory of Instruction, educational theorist Jerome Bruner insists that a theory of development must be linked both to a theory of knowledge and to a theory of instruction, “or be doomed to triviality.” (Bruner p. 21)

I have long felt the lack of a linkage of theory to practice is partly the reason so much of what passes for Christian education is at best benign, and that at worst, it has a tendency to trivialize faith. Providing “interesting” learning experiences may provide enough impetus to keep people coming back to participate in church religious education for a while, but ultimately, there are more “interesting” things in the world to capture and hold our attention if entertainment is our vehicle for retaining people’s interest.

Continue reading Growth from the Outside In: Formation and Education