Okay so my final week for my summer intensive is underway. I am taking an interesting class called Thriving in the Digital Age through Collaborative Leadership. This class seeks to evaluate and understand how the Net generation is affecting our ministry and overall culture.
The class really is as exciting as I had hoped it would be. The particular texts for the class have all been read and we all already written our integration paper (a way to prove we've done the readings by writing a paper about them and how they interpret our ministry context). If you'd like a great book to read, find one of these books on Amazon and get it used. They are all amazing reads:
1. The Millennium Matrix: Reclaiming the Past, Reframing the Future of the Church, by Rex Miller. 2. Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect, by Joseph Myers. 3. Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change, Organizations, and Society, by Peter Senge 4. The Equipping Pastor: A Systems Approach to Congregational Leadership, by Paul Stevens 5. Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, by Don Tapscott 6. The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why, by Phyllis Tickle.
Seriously those last two books are definitely worth your time.
As for my other assignments, I am partnered with two other classmates for a collaborative writing project. We're working out the details today and the paper will be a 25-pager due on July 31. To help facilitate our conversations, the teacher set up a Wiki site on our Moodle page on the school's website. If I am talking a foreign language to you, a Wiki is a collaborative website that allows for personal interaction and a Moodle is a software program whereby the entire class readings, handouts, and reports are submitted, posted, and read.
As an interesting aside, I have created a special Wiki-site for the Lay Advisory Team, a church group who'll help shepherd me and my DMin project. How cool is that, right?
In any event, my class goes from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. It is a full day of interaction, lecture, and class participation. I'll let you know all about it as the week comes to a close.
So that's my update. I hope you'll have a fab week and will see you on Sunday when I return.
I have reached the midpoint of my summer intensive here at The Theological School. As many of you know, I can be a tad dramatic at times--and the amount of work I have to accomplish and figure out ways to navigate my sleep schedule had, for a brief time (say three days) turned me into a whiner. If you have been reading my status updates on Facebook, you'll know what I mean.
As it turns out, I have learned a few lessons: 1. I am no longer as young as I used to be. When I was younger, I could stay up for several days in a row with little sleep. Let me nod off for a few hours, and I'd be good for the entire day. Now, if I don't get my 7-8 hours of sleep at night, I am both incoherent and dazed.
2. If you work hard enough, you'll eventually figure it out. When I was younger, there were times that I would get so frustrated that I'd quit trying to figure it out after trying for just a little while. Now, I actually have the patience to look at something for a long time without either zoning out or losing attention.
3. Not having an Xbox to tempt me away from work has been a good thing. But then, there is Facebook and I have tended to escape there from time to time.
So yeah, I've learned some good lessons. And, I have also been learning other things too. As of now, I have my final draft of my Prospectus completed. My Prospectus is the overview of my ministry project including information such as my problem statement, my purpose, the scope of the project, the methodologies I intend to use, how I will evaluate my project and tonight, I finished a rough draft bibliography (that can change during the course of my project).
I am also working on an assignment in my Practical Theology class where I have learned to interpret and deconstruct narrative stories using particular methodologies meant to frame the stories. This will be important as I navigate the various personal narratives within my particular project. The class lectures have been intense but very rewarding.
Next week, I will be taking a class called Thriving in the Digital Age through Collaborative Leadership. I am very much looking forward to this class as it'll focus its attention on modern narratives as experienced by younger generations and how to develop particular ministry that affects them with the Gospel. Or at least, I think this is what the class will be about. ;) I'll let you know once class begins if I am correct or not.
As an aside, I've still been swimming while I am here. While I didn't swim as far yesterday as I normally do, it did feel good to get some exercise into my day.
Okay, so I have to get back to my homework. I have a project due to tomorrow in which I am to design a teaching/learning event for a designated community using material taught from the Gospel of Mark and the course I am taking. I am supposed to communicate one of the primary insights or theological constructs that I have gained in the course and then describe the context and community that will be my primary responsibility in this teaching project. In the end, I am to describe what the learning or engagement process will be and what theological action/reflection I expect will lead to this community's religious/political/social transformation. The paper doesn't need to be long, say 5-7 pages. Then, I am to give a 15-20 minute presentation on this methodological teaching curriculum.
Interestingly, I was only given this assignment today. You'd think that I would be panicking right about now as to the scope and breadth of the assignment. But I am not. I am actually calm...sorta. But I do need to get working on it. I may be up rather late tonight getting this accomplished.
Wowsers, this week has been a killer. I had forgotten how difficult is was to concentrate in class when you stay up so very late studying so that you can participate in class. Fortunately, a report due today was postponed until Monday; otherwise, I'd've spend yet another day in class glassy-eyed, punchy, and dazed.
While this week has been difficult, it has also been richly rewarding. I have two classes this week, one in the morning from 9:00 - 12:30 PM and another from 1:30 - 5:00 PM. In the morning class, I am taking a practical theology class that is teaching me to due pericope analysis using an acronymial method called the V.O.T.E.R analysis. Using this method, you are able to been discern the intent of the passage in order to reveal the vision of the author by understanding the obligation, tendencies, environment, and rules/roles being communicated. Yesterday I used this analysis on Mark 3:20-30 where Jesus is called Beelzebul by the Scribes for his casting out demons. After my presentation in class, the professor implied I was the only one who got this analysis right, and after class called my presentation "Brilliant." I was on Cloud 9 for a long while.
In my afternoon class, we are working to pinpoint our DMin project. Since beginning this process last semester, my project has had a few incarnations from creating a cirriculum around a liberal and progressive discipleship program to revitalizing a Sunday school using postmodern and emergent concepts. Yesterday I presented an overview that is even more narrow in focus than my other attempts. Ultimately I don't have to decide on a final project until September; the goal of the course is to teach me how to decide what to do and the steps involved in presenting a prospectus to be approved by my professors come September.
Having said that, I may have found my project. I presented yesterday a prospectus that creates newcomer/new member classes to be done before a newcomer joins the church and classes after a member joins. These classes would focus on telling individual stories and narratives, giving history to the other faith stories in the congregation, membership guidelines and expectations, spiritual gift inventories, discipleship, and mission and outreach. Using this project, I could employ emergent and missional concepts into the cirriculum (where my heart lay). I am more excited about this particular direction of our project than I have been of any other. This may, indeed, be my project.
I have another class that begins a week from Monday that has me busy writing a paper. That class is called Thriving in the Digital Age through Collaborative Leadership. I have to write this report based upon the current leadership challenges and opportunities in my ministry context in light of six books assigned for the class. I will finish this report over the weekend; I may even finish it by tomorrow (hopefully).
I am planning on being in Cresskill Sunday afternoon to see Jay and Maggie (and to bring home laundry to wash). I will also need to pick up a raincoat. It has rained practically everyday I've been here and its getting annoying.
So that's it--my week in class. Today should be light: My morning class will be discussing Elaine Graham's Theological Reflection: Methods. My afternoon class will be full of my other classmates presentations on their prospective prospecituses (did I spell that right?).
Two final notes, I had originally planned to write up my experiences daily--obviously I've only been doing that every other day. That seems to be working for me and will continue to do this.
My next week will be a lot like this week with the same classes--just more intense. I'll be sure to keep you informed as it happens. Keep praying for me that this week will be a blessing to you, me, and all involved. And, I hope your Sunday with Lauren is a blessing too.
Well folks, yesterday was my first full day of classes. Monday was an all-day orientation and, while interesting and dare I say fun, Tuesday was where the rubber hit the road.
So here is my schedule: I have Pastoral Theology: Of the People, By the People, and For the People, taught by Dr. Elkins. The class will meet for the two weeks from 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM. It is a class to help me understand culture theology by using Lincoln's Gettysburg address as a way to meat out and interpret cultural theology. The purpose of this class is to help me when I construct my DMin project and write it up in my dissertation.
My afternoon class is Theological Methods and Practice, taught by Dr. Menking. This class meeting from 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM for two weeks. This class will help me do the background work to prepare for the writing of my Topic and Prospectus for my project.
I will have a third class beginning next week, with a paper due this coming Friday (I will start writing it tonight). This class is called Thriving in the Digital Age through Collaborative Leadership, taught by Dr. Hammond and Dr. Hollon. This class is meant to address multiple world views, perspectives on what it means to belong and participate, and the multi-layered expectations that affect congregational leadership. I am not exactly certain how this directly relates to my DMin project but I haven't had this class yet. When I find out its correlation, I'll let you know.
So that's really it for school. The idea for each class is the workload is equal to that of a full year of classes crammed into a week. We have tons of reading (that I've almost finished prior to coming to class), many papers to write, and lots of thinking. All the classes are meant to help us as we begin planning our project. We are also to hit the library as we see what projects other DMin candidates have completed and use their projects when they relate to our own.
For myself, I have narrowed down my ideas for a project to center around doing Christian Education a little different for a small congregation. My project may be to create a multi-generational Sunday school program within Christian Education. At least, this is something our congregation is already considering--and it makes sense to make such a consideration a part of my project. Nothing is set in stone yet, though. These three weeks of class is meant to help me discern my project, I have until September to finalize it.
Okay, so I need to do some homework before my classes today so I am going to stop writing now. See you soon (on here).
I have been thinking about keeping some sort of travelogue concerning my 3-weeks at school. I want to keep you, dear church member or anyone else who might be reading this, up to date on what I am doing, learning, and other fun activities.
This being my first post, I want to let you know what I've been up to today. Following Sunday morning worship, I went home and packed and played on the Xbox, packed some more, ate, took a nap, packed, played with the dog, and then I was done. After all that, I was kind of too tired to leave but I did. I left Cresskill about 4:30 PM and arrived in Madison, NJ before 6:00 PM. Getting my keys and pertinent information, I drove to the dorms where I got myself situated. Then, I moved the furniture to fit my space, went shopping, set up my computer and printer, and ate cereal for dinner.
Now I am going to do some reading and get to sleep. My day begins at 7:30 AM and its promising to be a big day. I'll write about it tomorrow night.
I hope to keep these posts somewhat interesting. If I think I am boring you to death, I may just write a 3-week summary when it's all over. ;)