Academic Programs 
      

Ministry in Daily Life (AM-525)
Winter/Spring 2004

This course provides an introduction to the biblical and theological basis for ministry, with special emphasis on ministry in daily life.  The Seminar also explores possibilities for integrating theory and practice by means of an appropriate spirituality and assists students in assessing their personal call to ministry.  This course is graded on a Pass/Fail basis. (Formerly the Ministry Seminar MA-525)

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Tuesdays from 4:30-6:50 p.m.

J. Alan McLean
Adjunct Professor of Arts of Ministry and Pastor Emeritus, First Church of Christ, Hartford

Contact Information:
phone: 
(860) 509-9500
email:  jalanmcln@aol.com

 

Course Syllabus



Course Objectives

1.   To provide an introduction to thinking theologically about ministry.

2.   To develop conceptual and academic skills for success in graduate course work.

3.   To cultivate useful collegial relationships and support strategies to nourish meaningful education for ministry.

4.   To identify and examine one’s personal call to ministry and its practice in contemporary church and society.

Learning Goals

1.   To learn how to integrate biblical, theological, liturgical and pastoral understandings of ministry.

2.   To learn how to reflect critically and prayerfully on one’s own experience in ministry and on the wider social context.

3.   To learn how to communicate effectively in verbal and written forms.

4.   To learn how to discern one’s own vocation and to sustain the necessary confidence and skill to carry out that ministry.


Class Schedule and Assignments

January 27         Introductions and overview of the course

Distribution and discussion of “Vocation” – by L. Gregory Jones

February 3          The Authority of the Laity

Read:
1. “The Laity in Biblical Perspective” (Gillespie)  
2. “The Authority of the Laity” (Dozier)

Due:   A one-page description of how work related to your ministry.

February 10          Connecting Faith and Ministry in Daily Life

Read:
1. “Where in the World Are You?” (Everist and Vos)

Due:  A one-page answer to the question: “Where and how does God use you in your daily life?”

February 17             Ministry in Public Context

Read:  
1. “Private Needs, Public Selves” (Roth)

Due:  A one-page reflection about what you think is happening to  religion in American Society.

February 24              Ministry in Interfaith Context

Read: 
1. “September 11: Religious Perspectives on the Causes and Consequences” (Hartford Seminary Faculty)
2. Religious Responses to Atrocity” (Landau)
3. “Jews, Muslims and Peace” (Landau and Heidi)  
4. “When Members of One Faith Are Teachers at a Religious School of Another” N.Y. Times (October 4, 2003)

Due:  A one-page description of how 9/11/01 has changed the way you live your faith in daily life.  Members of class will be asked to take the MBTI (Meyers Briggs instrument home and return it at the next class).

March 2                    Ministry and Spirituality

Read:   
1. “The Active Life” (Palmer)

Due:  Using no more than two pages write a short prayer that expresses your understanding of ministry and spirituality and then an interpretation of a key passage of scripture that gives meaning to your faith and sense of ministry.

** Return completed MBTI instruments.

March 9                       Ministry in Personal Context

Guest:   Carole Christopher, Christopher Consulting.  The bulk of the class will be spent learning about the MBTI and helping class members interpret their own profiles.  The class will receive a small pamphlet “Introduction to Type.” 

Due:   A two page biographical sketch of a lay person who practices his or her faith in ways that you admire.

March 16 & 23            Ministry in Action: Case Studies

Due: Case Description – On the day you present, bring a one-page description of a situation or incident when you engaged in ministry and/or solved a problem, or a reflection on the most unresolved relationship in your life.  (The class will be divided into small groups.  Half of the cases will be discussed on March 23.)  On the week after you have presented your case, please turn in another one-page reflection paper summarizing learnings and insights about ministry, which you gained from the discussion.

Reading assignment for these two weeks: “Let Your Life Speak” (Palmer)

March 30                     Ministry and Justice

Read:  
1. “Jesus and the Disinherited” (Thurman)
2. “Christ Outside the Gate” (Costas)  
3. Chapter 7, Response to the Cry of Latin America

Due: Using newspaper articles, magazines, or working on the World Wide Web, choose one contemporary issue where you believe that understandings of justice and injustice should inform your call into ministry.  Write a one-page reflection on why this is your conviction.

Class Guest: The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Watts, Faculty Associate in Religion and Community, and the Director of the Black Ministries Program.

April 6                           No Class
April 13                         Developing A Theology of Ministry

Read:                 
1. “Becoming a Thinking Christian” (Cobb)
2.  “How To Think Theologically” (Duke and Stone)

Due:    A one page draft of your personal theology of ministry.

April 20                      Ministry and the Church

Read:
1. “The Once and Future Church” (Mead)                                      

Due:  A one page paper about what you think the church is called to be and do in our times.

April 27                       Defining Your Ministry

Read:
1. “The Dream of God” (Dozier)  

Due:    A one page paper that response to the question: “Informed by your theology of ministry, to what do you believe the Dream of God may be calling you?”

May 4                        Creating A Ministry Goal

A joint class exercise in discovering and writing ones personal ministry mission goal.

Due May 21                  Final Integrating Paper (8-10 pages double spaced)

Using footnotes (or endnotes) and appropriate academic form, write a paper in which you lift up insights gained about ministry from each of the readings assigned for the course.  Begin with your draft personal theology of ministry prepared for the April 13 class and build upon it.  Draw from readings, personal experience, church involvements, work settings and individual convictions to make a cohesive statement about ministry in our contemporary world.  What informs your understanding?  What sustains it?  Where is it vulnerable?  What is the future of ministry? 

 

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