Church Leaders Invited to be Thompson Scholars at Columbia Seminary, May 19-24
Decatur, GA.—Nine Presbyterian Church (USA) leaders from the Seattle area were invited to participate in the Thompson Scholars program, “Evangelism and Emerging Culture,” held on the seminary’s campus, May 19-24. Steve Hayner, Peachtree Associate Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Seminary, is leading the seminar along with several guest facilitators who serve emergent church communities in the Atlanta area. Area participants include Kay Broweleit, Mark Mohrlang, James Notkin, Tim Snow, and Jennie Spohr from University Presbyterian Church, Seattle, WA; Lisa Domke, Hallack and Heidi Greider of Lake City Presbyterian Church, Seattle, WA; and Mike Neelley, associate pastor for Church at the Center, Seattle, WA. Dr. Hayner says, “The culture is changing, and former ways of communicating God’s good news no longer seem relevant. Many churches are struggling as they think about evangelism with younger generations and other emerging cultures. This year’s scholars will consider ways in which emerging generations think, and we will talk about such topics as preaching, discipleship, worship, and leadership development for a new time.” The Thompson Scholars reading list includes many of the leading voices in the emergent church conversation, including Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy, Lauren Winner’s Girl Meets God, Emerging Worship by Dan Kimball, and The Church in Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives by Leonard Sweet, Andy Crouch, Brian McLaren, Erwin Raphael McManus, Michael Horton, and Frederica Matthewes-Green. Eighteen scholars from around the country were selected to participate in the program. According to Steve Hayner, while the group represents significant diversity within the church, “All are working diligently at reaching emergent generations and cultures around them. They bring a wealth of experience from their own contexts and an eagerness to learn and to grow in community with others.” One goal of the program, Dr. Hayner says, is to build a learning community that will continue to meet after the program ends. Toward that end, this year’s program is designed so that participants will have opportunities to share in emergent worship experiences, meet in their leaders’ homes, and prepare meals together. The Thompson Scholars program supports the work of evangelism in the church and is made possible through the financial contributions in honor of Dr. Cecil Thompson, professor of evangelism, rural church, and mission at Columbia from 1946 to 1967. Columbia Theological Seminary, located in Decatur, Georgia, was established in 1828 and is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
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