Lent is a blessed opportunity for us to learn more about our faith. Many church members count on this holy season to draw closer to God via the time honored traditions of fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and study.
Along with our partners at Augsburg Fortress we are excited to offer a terrific resource: the online learning version of Making Sense of the Cross with David Lose. Many congregations have been touched by Augsburg’s outstanding DVD series, which is a 6-part, video-based curriculum that walks learners through Scripture, tradition, and David’s sound insights into how Christians can approach the Cross. This DVD series is available from Augsburg Fortress here.
What we have done at ChurchNext is turn that material into an online learning experience. Instead of 6-parts, the online learning version gives us 3. And the material is also ordered differently – with David’s interpretation first, followed by his presentations on Scripture and tradition.
In Part I of the ChurchNext online learning version students will learn about the importance of approaching the Cross as an experience. In other words, as a participant in the ongoing work of God to reconcile the world through Jesus Christ. This course is available for free to all from March 5 – March 12 then will be available for purchase.
In Part II David walks us through the witness of Scripture, particularly the distinctive lenses of the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John will be available March 23.
In Part III David takes us through the history of interpretation of the Cross. Students will learn about three distinct theories of the atonement that have endured through time and will be available March 30.
This online alternative offers congregations the opportunity for those who might not normally attend 6, face-to-face gatherings during Lent, to learn and participate in their own time, at their own pace, via an online learning experience.
A suggested approach would be for congregations to sign up as many of their parishioners as possible to take the free online course called The Big Class with David Lose, which you can take for free by clicking here. Parishioners can take this class for free on their own time and at their own pace anytime between March 5 – March 12.
Congregations can also consider putting the course on a big screen with speakers and taking it as a group. That’s what groups like this parish in Wisconsin recently did with a previous Big Class.
The course will take an average learner about 45 minutes to work through, though you can take longer depending on how much discussion you choose to engage in. An Internet connection is needed. There is no special software needed. A 3-part course means that it may be easier for congregations to interest those who have other time commitments during Lent.
Each of the 3-part online learning experiences comes with two downloads. One is called The Takeaway and offers a 1-2 page synopsis of the course so learners can continue to review the salient points of each class. The second is called Discussion Questions and is designed for face-to-face gatherings, so that once people have taken a class they can come together and talk through the material. The downloads to these 3 courses are available within the course. We will make the first one available by March 4 on our blog (under The Big Class tab) to those who will be leading these classes. Others will follow.
Therefore, congregations may want to consider using both of these resources during Lent – the Augsburg Fortress DVD series for people who are able to commit to and gather for 6 weekly sessions. And the ChurchNext online version of Making Sense of the Cross for those who are able to gather less frequently or not at all.
The Augsburg Fortress DVD series is available here. And the complete, 3-part ChurchNext online learning version will be available on March 5. Again, the first class is free from March 5 – March 12, and there will be a charge for the other two. Students can pay $15 for an unlimited ChurchNext membership and take these courses at their own time and pace. Congregations can pay $10 per course and use it in groups as depicted in the photograph above. Your congregation may also want to consider a Congregation Membership to ChurchNext, which would make these classes (and the other 50+ in our catalog) available to parishioners for free, with the church paying a greatly reduced subscription price. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org