Educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God's changing world.

Upcoming Courses Explore Ages, Stages of Faith

by Lifelong Learning Staff


One of the Great Ends of the Church is “the shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the children of God." [1]Several courses offered by Lifelong Learning in the coming months reflect our commitment to supporting imaginative, committed leaders in various forms of educational ministry and will address elements of Christian nurture, or education, for children of God of all ages.


“Parents: Christian Educators on the Frontlines,” led by certified Christian Educator Dr. Anna Brown, leads off the series on September 13-14. This course is intentionally offered early in the program year to provide support for parents and church school and classroom teachers who desire more information – and practical tips – for serving as a primary Christian educator for children in their families of care. Brown, a Certified Christian educator and adjunct professor of Christian Education at McAfee School of Theology, has designed the course to explore biblical, theological, developmental, and cultural foundations of this conversation. “This is a practical course, full of tips and tools for parents and other teachers to use right away,” said Brown. “My hope is that participants will leave the class with a new understanding of their role as primary Christian educators and new resources to live into that role.” Early registration of $125 per person is offered through July 12; after July 12 the program fee is $145 per person, discounted to $130 per person if 2+ from the same group attend. To register, click here.

On Nov. 7-10, Christen Erskine will lead “Discovering God’s Prophecy: Scripture, Wonder, Response (Godly Play© for Adults). Erskine, a certified Godly Play© trainer and director of Children’s Formation at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, will offer a learning retreat that invites learners to experience new ways to hear the story of the prophets, a chance to wonder how the prophets connect with contemporary life, and the opportunity to respond to God’s Word by creating something new. This class, while open to all, will offer credit towards the Certificate in Spiritual Formation for any who complete the pre- and post- course assignments. For details and registration, click here.

 Leadership Team for Big Ideas for Youth Ministry (Scott Brown, Chris Sarkowski, Michelle Thomas-Bush, John Ryan, and Natalie Raygor, L-R)

The New Year begins in a big way as a team of youth ministry professionals with more than 70 years of combined experience lead “Big Ideas for Youth Ministry,” January 22-24. Experience speed faithing, a GO BIG youth ministry party and keynote with Rodger Nishioka, noted youth and young adult ministry expert. Whether participants come from youth programs big, small, or somewhere in between, this conference will generate the practical ideas that youth ministry professionals and volunteers need every year. The conference team will provide guidance on how to design a youth ministry based on 25 best practices – from how to recruit volunteers to preparing for international travel. A copy of the “Big Book of Best Practices” is included with registration. Early bird registration is available through October 1 – click here for more information and to register.

“Baptism and Beyond: Scaffolding a Life of Discipleship” will take place April 23-25, 2014. Leaders of this course are Anne Apple (M.Div. ’01), associate pastor for Pastoral Care and Evangelism at Idlewild Presbyterian in Memphis, TN, and Kathy Dawson, associate professor of Christian Education at the seminary. They will guide participants to consider how to serve as a scaffold for age-appropriate engagement with mission in the church and the world. Special attention will be given to the elementary school children six through twelve years of age, with time given to consider how these methods of discipleship may lead to continued progression in the youth and young adult years. For more information, including registration discounts for two or more persons from the same congregation or group, click here. (NOTE: this will immediately follow Colloquium 2014. Make plans to attend both!)

Persons interested in registering for these and other courses in Lifelong Learning are encouraged to register at least 8-12 weeks prior to the beginning of the course, as pre-course preparation may be required or suggested. Courses may be canceled or postponed if sufficient numbers of participants are not enrolled 3-6 weeks prior to the start date of the event.

[1] See F-1.0304, “The Great Ends of the Church”; THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.), PART II, BOOK OF ORDER, 2011−2013.