NEW Day Passes Available! Fearless Dialogues Conference This November

NEW Day Passes Available! Fearless Dialogues Conference This November

Conversations are catalysts for change. Next month the CLL will host the Big Ideas in Youth Ministry: Fearless Dialogues Conference where youth and their supporters will have space to converse, connect and help to fearlessly foster…

Spring 2020 Older Adult Ministry Courses Announced

September 26, 2019—The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at Columbia Theological Seminary invites registrations for two upcoming courses in its Older Adult Ministry (OAM) course of study in the winter and spring of 2020.

Theological Reflection and Older Adult Ministry

Older Adult Ministry Certificate Program entering it's third year

Montreat: A Place of Spiritual Awakening

The Montreat Conference Center in Montreat NC serves as a place of spiritual awakening for many of the CLL’s Certificate in Spiritual Formation courses hosted there each year.


This post is a written reflection of participant Martha Jane Petersen’s…

Grandparents in Ministry: Abuelo, Granddaddy, Grandfather

Abuelo, my favorite name

As the congregation moved from Mikell Chapel to the post-quinceañera reception, the young woman whose service we had just celebrated said to me, Padre Bill, estás entre mis abuelos,” or, “Father Bill, now you are among…

Do Young People Want Church to be a Safe Place?

What does it mean for youth ministry to provide a “safe” space for our young people in the church?

Recently, I had a young person tell me that they wanted parents and committee’s and church members to stop saying that…

Big Ideas In Youth Ministry: Fearless Dialogues

August 28, 2019Fearless Dialogues is the theme of the Big Ideas in Youth Ministry Conference the Center for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary November 5-7, 2019.

The conference kicks off Wednesday morning with Gregory C. Ellison II, Ph.D.,…

4 Reasons Why Online Learning Is Worth the Investment

Online education is for those whose lives demand flexibility.

Its focus on convenience, brevity, and variety make it an appealing option for many pursuing higher education.

The Center for Lifelong Learning has claimed its stake in the online realm of…

Ministry Coaching, The Way Ahead from Within

Professionally trained ministry coaches are being sought out, not by pastors who are incapable or incompetent, but by gifted leaders who see the value in having a creative conversation partner who is unattached to their circumstance -to stir ideas, challenge…

Center for Lifelong Learning Spirituality Program Celebrates 25 Years!

In 2020 the Center for Lifelong Learning’s Spirituality Program will celebrate its 25th Anniversary! The inspiration behind the program came from Ben Campbell Johnson who, while on retreat at Christ in the Desert Monastery, felt he received a vision from…


By the time I was 30 I already had a great career start in the field of working with older adults.

I had been fortunate to land a job in Bryan, TX as Director of the new government-funded senior congregate…

Coaches Help Leaders Mind Their “Ps and Qs”

Some of us were taught at a young age to “mind our Ps and Qs.”

There are multiple theories about the origin and meaning of the term Ps and Qs.

Maybe it was a parent, or teacher or neighbor, but…

Discerning What’s What: Spirituality, Spirits, and the Holy Spirit

I have long struggled to discern where precisely the Spirit of God is at work—in my own life and in the world around us.

As a practicing Christian of the Reformed Protestant family, an heir of John Calvin (who has…

Worship in the Womb? Exploring when and how children begin learning about faith

When does learning begin?

This is the question posed by Annie Murphy Paul, in her 2011 TED talk titled, What we learn before we’re born.

She posits that we’re actually learning in utero through the…

Leadership in Ministry Feature: Vanessa Ellison

Bowen Family Systems Theory offers a way of thinking that affects every aspect of leadership in ministry.

Workshops are taught by BFST experts and help participants confidently lead their congregations and organizations. Participants gain insight from learning with others while…

Are You Ready for Change?

Michael Brown became an unlikely martyr on August 9, 2014. When I ask people about what they think has changed since the police killing of an unarmed black teen, I hear a variety of responses and most aren’t that positive.