2017-2018 Ventures Courses

Fall: “Welcoming the Stranger”

Kirk MacGregor

Speaker: Dr. Kirk MacGregor
9 a.m.-Noon CDT
Archived Course

Rejecting terrorism in any form, 98% of Muslims worldwide are neither Islamists nor Jihadists. In the United States, a higher percentage of Muslims reject killing civilians than any other religious or secular group. Nevertheless, Islamophobia persists in America. This course explains the differences between mainstream Muslims, Islamists, and Jihadists, showing that only Jihadists pose a threat to Americans. The course explores the many legitimate grievances that mainstream Muslims, both in America and abroad, have against the United States, grievances that peace churches share. The course reveals how peace churches can welcome, protect, and build effective partnerships with our Muslim neighbors.

* CEU: .3 credit, $10

Zandra Wagoner

Zandra Wagoner

Speaker: Rev. Zandra Wagoner, Ph.D.
9 a.m.-Noon CDT
Archived Course

This course will introduce students to the concept of interfaith cooperation, including a theoretical framework for successful interfaith engagement based in social science research. We will discuss the basic skills and knowledge necessary for successful interfaith cooperation and consider practical strategies for navigating religious diversity, including methods for conversation/dialogue. Finally we will consider strategies for how to build relationships with people who orient around religion differently for the greater good of our communities.

* CEU: .3 credit, $10

Irvin R. Heishman

Irvin R. Heishman

Speakers: Irvin R. Heishman and Beth Gunzel
9 a.m.-Noon CDT
Archived Course

Immigrants, refugees, and people of color all have a role in revitalizing communities of faith when space is made for full welcome and shared leadership. Jesus modeled setting aside his authority and privilege to assume a position of vulnerability to welcome and relate to marginalized people as vital participants in the beloved community of Christ. This course will explore how setting aside various forms of privilege and power makes room for life-giving transformation and growth in the faith community.

* CEU: .3 credit, $10

 

Spring: “Empowering Small Congregations”

Jim Tomlonson

Jim Tomlonson

Speaker: Jim Tomlonson
9 a.m.-Noon CST
Course Registration

Congregational life provides settings for persons in community to flourish in their faith. What are the dynamics to allow this to happen? What are the impediments that get in the way of this flourishing? Where can congregations go to find resources for mission? What are the “Brethren” ideas of congregational life that draw persons? What may keep them away? What are the Biblical images that help us focus on mission? How do they encourage mission? These questions can be a spring board for drawing us into a lively discussion. We will work on the concepts of “settler” verses “frontier” churches and explore how these concepts impact congregational life and mission.

* CEU: .3 credit, $10

Carol Scheppard

Carol Scheppard

Speaker: Carol A. Scheppard
9 a.m.-Noon CST
Course Registration

The Christian Bible is a living document with a rich and spirited history. Our course will trace the Bible’s development from its early beginnings as a loose collection of shared texts and resources to its formal adoption as canon at the ecumenical councils of the late 4th century AD. We will observe the way the Christian scriptures merged with the developing Hebrew canon and will follow its on-going transformation through the Latin Vulgate to the Luther Bible and beyond.

* CEU: .3 credit, $10

Bobbi Dykema

Bobbi Dykema

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Bobbi Dykema
9 a.m.-Noon CST
Course Registration

Imagine a worship service where any or all of the pieces—from the call to worship to the benediction—contained new surprises: words, images, sounds, and experiences that would engage the scripture and the congregation, all ages, in new ways. Now imagine these exciting new ways of being church happening in your congregation!
Creativity is a God-given birthright to all of God’s children, and scripture calls us to bring our best before the Lord. The challenge of crafting innovative worship doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, just joyful open hearts. Join us to learn how!

* CEU: .3 credit, $10

Joe Detrick

Joe Detrick

Speaker: Joe Detrick
9 a.m.-Noon CDT
Course Registration

This interactive course will focus on the distinctive role congregation’s play in the calling and nurturing of ministerial leadership. We will hear testimonies of those who have answered the call – from biblical times to the present, and examples of congregations who have excelled in creating a climate for calling. We will examine the new Ministerial Leadership (2014) paper, highlighting various components of “discerning the call” toward credentialed ministry. We will identify 10 practical ways congregations and districts can partner in the calling, training, and sustaining qualified ministerial leaders for the local, district, and national ministry needs.

* CEU: .3 credit, $10

 

*Some Ventures courses offer Continuing Education Units (CEU) credit. CEUs for sessions are approved and granted by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a ministry training partnership of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Church of the Brethren.

Register for 17-18 Courses

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About the Courses

Equipping lay people of all ages and education levels with skills and understandings for faithful and dynamic Christian living, action, and leadership with special emphasis on small congregations.

Registering online is the preferred method.  All course times are Central Time. There is no charge for courses; however, a suggested donation is invited.

Ventures courses, while not for college credit, offer high-quality instruction. The goal of the program is to empower lay people, especially in smaller congregations, to more effectively carry out the work of discipleship, following in Jesus’ footsteps to transform ourselves and the world. You are invited to journey with others on this new pathway sponsored by McPherson College.

Technology Requirements for Live Courses: If you can surf the web, you will be able to participate in our online courses! For the best experience, we recommend that you have a computer with high-speed internet connection and external powered speakers. We encourage several people to share a computer to participate in a course together! No camera or microphone needed for most courses.