365M in Ireland

DSC_1679Arrived this morning in Dublin (after a sleepless flight) and, after a quick shower, joined David and Glynda Wesley, alongside Norm Henry, for a trip to Belfast for 365M training with pastors and supervisors from Northern Ireland and Ireland. The trip was a bit harrowing traveling on the “wrong” side of the road but thanks to Norm Henry for getting us to the hotel safely.

DSC00003
DSC00016We walked downtown to have lunch. Walking reveals an interesting city of old and new architecture, even in the restaurant. We are close to the Titanic “quarters,” home of the original docks where the fateful ship was built.

DSC00018David opened our training providing an overview of 365 M, the program at NTS that provides students approximately a year in a global setting where they learn, minister, and gain 24 hours of graduate theological education toward a certificate. I was present as one of the teachers of the three “signature classes” that prepare students to enlist partners for their year of ministry, explore their personal development DSC00060in the midst of the journey, and engage in contextual learning that insures that content and context merge for an authentic learning experience. David explained to more than a dozen ministers how the program works, answering specific questions concerning program design, and policy.

DSC00066DSC00070Perhaps the most powerful material occurred when David divided the ministers into small groups to discuss both the qualities of strong interns as well as the traits that often caused students to struggle in a cross-cultural context. The creativity of the small groups, interacting with each other,  provided some of the best material of the evening.DSC00088

  • DSC00094Willingness to learn
  • Creativity
  • Open to self-exploration
  • Accepting of constructive criticism
  • A real desire for mission (i.e. a love for all people)
  • Self-motivated and disciplines
  • Sense of Calling
  • DSC00085Demonstration of maturity, particularly emotional maturity
  • Cultural self-awareness
  • Good sense of humor
  • A willingness to make mistakes

Overall these traits help set a tone for future explorations. The enthusiasm and wisdom of the group was remarkable.

DSC00029Norm Henry offered key insights both within his small group and for the team at large, often reminding us all of his history and wisdom working with missionaries from the field. DSC00069I have former students (Sara Voight) and new friends (Stephen Morley) in the group. DSC00045However, the collective input of everyone proved invaluable. Their engagement merely reflects their desire to minister God’s love.

DSC00095David also elicited traits that make up good mentors. These ideas set the stage for the beginning of my presentation tomorrow. Glynda Wesley also raised the very practical issues of setting boundaries and ministering responsibly with children and youth.

DSC00023Tomorrow we begin with round two of the meeting. By the time some of my friends in the DSC00017US read this posting I will probably be strolling the streets of Belfast, exploring the history and heritage of the city. However, the real power of this city rests with its people, and particularly those willing to invest themselves in the growth of a globally DSC00037aware, passionate, ministerial team. It is good to be here, and that is no blarney.

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About Dean G. Blevins

Dr. Dean G. Blevins currently serves as Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Discipleship at Nazarene Theological Seminary. An ordained elder, Dean has ministered in diverse settings and currently also serves at the USA Regional Education Coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene. A prolific author, Dr. Blevins recently co-wrote the textbook Discovering Discipleship and edits Didache: Faithful Teaching, a journal for Wesleyan Education.
This entry was posted in Clergy, Continuing Education, Mission, Theological Education, Young Adult, Youth. Bookmark the permalink.

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