The planning team for ChurchWorks – Theology Matters offers a blog series to invite you to join other ministers in Decatur this February. ChurchWorks is a time of networking, fellowship and renewal. Join your friends February 23-25th to consider the question “Why does theology matter and how do matters of theology effect our ministries?” We’re going. Are you?
Reflections on ChurchWorks
By Brian Foreman
A youth minister sits on the bus riding back from a great weekend. Everything was amazing from the food to the small groups to worship. Even the karaoke was a big hit. However, she could not shake the feeling that something was not as it should be. All of the programmed times worked, but during the free times, her students did not welcome the teens of the family that had joined recently. She also noticed that her students were standoffish with those who were guests.
Normally the first place most of us reflect on this, and how to address it, is through the lenses of group dynamics and social sciences. Dr. Andrew Root suggests that part of our dilemma in ministry is that we have not thought about these matters theologically. Imagine how the conversation changes when our ministry responses are formed by a theological response that includes hospitality, community, and vulnerability.
Beyond offering a response that is theological, ministers also need to give children, teens, and adults the language to understand the theology and why it matters. This year at ChurchWorks educators and ministers will be encouraged to have conversations about why it is important and how it can be done. Dr. Root, Andy to his friends, which you will all be by the end of ChurchWorks, joins us to frame these discussions.
Perhaps his words articulate for educators, pastors and chaplains the challenges we face in 21st century ministry:
“How does the church and the pastor’s role change with the culture? Pastors and church leaders are regularly told “the world is changing.” This change is usually based in either technological changes like a digital landscape, or philosophical changes like postmodernity. While these perspectives have their place, perhaps we need to examine a different assertion. It will claim that large changes happen when new energy regimes lead to new communication systems, which, in turn, lead to new forms of understanding ourselves. We will follow these historic transitions, exploring how ministry, the church and the pastor has been connected to each period, and will contemplate the new period in which we find ourselves, and what this means for the practice of ministry and the future of Christianity.
What does faith formation look like in this changing time? The theology is important because our very identities need to be formed around wrestling with God—what does this look like”
The conversations in large groups, small groups and around coffee tables will cause us to examine not just why theology matters, but what matters of theology are important in the areas of ministry in which you are engaged. ChurchWorks is not a “how to”conference, but rather one seeking to equip and challenge church leaders to develop relationships in the congregation that create disciples who are invested in what the theology of the Kingdom and the word of God have to offer in every facet of their lives. How do we encourage, and become encouraged, to live the life we teach, a life embracing abundance found in the scriptures and shared in Christian community?
Beyond the conversations to be led by Andy, we will also hear stories from our friends about how theology matters in their ministry. If you want to apply to share your story (in just 10 minutes) please see the CBF ChurchWorks registration page, where you can also secure your registration for the conference.
Brian Foreman is a Congregational Consultant and Coach living in Raleigh, NC. He is an adjunct faculty member for Christian Education at the Campbell University Divinity School. Additionally, Brian writes about social media for parents and those who work with teens. Connect with Brian at www.socialmediaparents.com.