This week, ChurchNext has brought you something new: not just a class, but a full curriculum on ways that Christians can learn to communicate about faith. It’s called Speaking Our Faith™, and it is taught by Kit Carlson, an author, pastor, and Episcopal priest who has spent years studying the fundamentals of faith discovery and communication in mainline Christian communities.
5 sessions, 5 weeks of Lent — It can’t be a coincidence!
Speaking Our Faith™ is designed to be taught in five 90-minute group sessions. Each session includes prayer, a video by Kit Carlson, discussion opportunities and handouts designed by Kit to work with her videos, and opportunities to practice developing your skills between sessions.
Churches may use this curriculum in a number of settings, including adult education or adult forum, Lenten prayer or study groups, or in an independent study group. One church had the idea of using it in small groups in people’s homes along with potluck dinners to build community in the church while enjoying focused conversation.
Speaking Our Faith™ is available for purchase for $99 per congregation or $49 for subscribing ChurchNext congregations. For more information, please click here.
At a time when communicating Christ’s message of love and hope has become particularly important in our country, we hope that you will consider using this curriculum to help your congregation talk productively about faith.For a preview, please click here.
Today and tomorrow, Christians may wish to reach out to fellow Christians or to the wider community as our nation navigates its way through a time of deep anger, division, and confusion. Digital technology has made new kinds of community involvement possible.
Here are some resources for Christians who wish to participate in online community events in the coming days.
Repairers of the Breach has a day of “self-purification, prayer, and fasting” scheduled for today, with a list of activities in which people may participate at home. At scheduled times, participants may pray with others, meditate, read suggested materials, listen to music, watch videos, and watch/listen to sermons by the Rev. William Barber. Participate here. Also, you may find that the links to individual videos and sermons on this page are useful even if you don’t want to participate in the full day of activities.
If you want to march but you can’t participate in person, join the Disability March, a virtual march designed for people with disabilities or illnesses who cannot join protests in body.
Sojourners has a page for Christians who plan to march this weekend (physically or in spirit) to come together to pray and communicate with each other about why they are marching.
If you know of other online resources for Christians who wish to get involved today and over the weekend, please comment. We would love to share them.
At a time when we are constantly trying to decide on the appropriate roles for Christians and the church to take in the politics of nations, it is timely that we should recall the work of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we will celebrate on Monday. King famously said, ““An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
It is essential to avoid turning the church into a vehicle for political squabbling — or even worse, into a mouthpiece for politicians. At the same time, we must acknowledge that it’s very difficult for individuals or churches to address the broader concerns of all humanity in meaningful ways without engaging political systems. King brought both his Christian vision and his church into many aspects of our culture, including the political, to work toward effecting the changes that he believed God wanted in the world. He didn’t soil his religion by interacting with politics, perhaps because his main concern was moving mountains rather than scoring points.
As we decide how the church and individual Christians should engage the world politically, we can profit from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s example. Here are some online resources to help us remember King’s life and work.
- YouTube has videos of several of Dr. King’s speeches, including I Have a Dream, The Other America, and I Have Been to the Mountaintop. You can also find recordings (though they lack video footage) of many of his speeches here.
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (often called The King Center), established by Coretta Scott King in 1968, offers many resources for people who wish to learn more about King’s life and work. It includes a digital archive of thousands of writings associated with King’s work and an extensive bibliography for people who wish to read more about King and nonviolent protest.
- Cornell University has a research guide to Martin Luther King that includes videos, recordings, transcripts of his speeches, and helpful websites as well as book recommendations. (It’s designed for use in their library, but it is very helpful for general use as well.)
- The King Center has a page where you can download your dreams for the future and read about other people’s dreams. A great activity for kids and adults both!
- National Geographic Kids has a kid-friendly page on King.
- YouTube has several videos for kids about King’s life. Try this video by Kid President and this mini-biography of King’s life.
- This short excerpt from King’s I Have a Dream speech can be used to begin discussion about the man and his work.
We hope these resources help you as you remember the Rev. King’s life this weekend and next week.
From January 16-30 2017, people across the world can take What Would Luther Do in 2017? with Elizabeth Eaton free of charge.
Elizabeth Eaton is Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (E.C.L.A.). It’s safe to say that she knows a thing or two about Martin Luther — not to mention about practicing theology in the world of 2017. Who better to offer guidance as to what Martin Luther — that relentless, passionate, blunt, and gregarious theologian who knew better than most how to use the social media of his time — would act today? And how he would encourage other Christians to act?
The Big Class offers participants multiple advantages: not only can you take a class with an excellent instructor free of charge, but you can talk about the issues that she raises with other students across the world. Big Class discussions always offer rich food for conversation and contemplation; that’s a big reason that we enjoy offering them when we can.
The class is a series of video lectures, quizzes, and discussions. No special software is required; all you need is a computer, tablet, or smart phone with internet access. It will take an average learner about 45 minutes to complete. Registration is free and open to all. Click here to learn more.
We would like to thank to 1517 Media and United Lutheran Theological Seminary for making it possible for ChurchNext to offer this course.
For a preview of the course, please click below.
Jesus is inviting the Church to reform.
On the 500th year anniversary of Martin Luther’s historic reform work, the Presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church (ELCA) is inviting the world to commemorate the life, legacy, and relevant teachings of reformer Martin Luther by taking a free, 45-minute, pre-recorded online class. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton is a speaker, teacher, and spiritual head of 3.5 million Evangelical Lutherans worldwide.
Her class, What Would Luther Do Today? with Elizabeth Eaton is rich in resources and inspiration and will be offered for free to all January 16-30. You can register for this course right now by clicking here.
“Jesus is asking the Church to pay more attention to the issues of poverty, climate change, human rights, and ecumenism – and Martin Luther offers a profound message to us in this regard,” says Eaton, “My hope is that Christ will use this class to inspire and invigorate Christians to follow Jesus more closely, engage in positive social change, and enter the next 500 years with a renewed faith in God’s grace and providence.”
In this course, students will learn more about Luther and make relevant connections that can lead to transformation. The class is a series of video lectures, quizzes, and discussions. No special software is required. It will take an average learner about 45 minutes to complete. Registration is free and open to all. Click here for more information and to register .
This course is made possible by the generous support of 1517 Media, United Lutheran Theological Seminary, and ChurchNext.
Want to take The Big Class with a Group?
We want to help. So we’ve assembled these materials to help you publicize and lead this class in a congregational setting. These materials help you lead this class in a group setting including a Poster, Bulletin Inserts, and a Launch Plan for Congregations.