Challenging Homo Economicus

0103181607b0104180838aGreg Forster, with the Center for Transformational Churches at Trinity International University, opened the second day of the Oikonomia Network Faculty Retreat by greeting new schools that have joined Kern funded programs in a common goal of expanding curriculum development. In addition, he announced a “deep dive” seminar that will be lead by ON staff to empower schools to think beyond the self-evident coursework and find 0104180839edeeper levels of exploring faith, work, and economics in theological education. The Oikonomia Network also explicitly partners with the Faith@Work and the Made to Flourish networks as well as other efforts to encourage a search for 0104180843economic wisdom and human flourishing. Such efforts include Tom Nelson’s new book The Economics of Neighborly Love as well as Brent Water’s new text Just Capitalism and his idea of “koinonia” as flourishing. In addition to small group studies and other academic resources, the Oikonomia Network continues to expand its offerings.

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Posted in Continuing Education, Discipleship, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Practical Theology, Theological Education, Uncategorized, Work | Leave a comment

Let Your Miracles Break Forth Every Day

0103181607The Faculty Retreat for the Oikonomia network opened this evening at the Sheraton Gateway, LAX. The retreat serves as a 0103181902cone day precursor to the Karam Forum that follows. Greg Forster greeted visiting faculty and noted that the focus of the retreat revolves around the question “What is the Economic Responsibility of the Church?” Forster observed that often questions of faith, work, and economics begin and end in the 0103181904fpractical life of the congregation. So, this year’s retreat hopes to raise questions about the church’s life and engagement with our current economic realities.

0103181907bTo orient the faculty to the theme, Forster introduced Dr. L. Gregory Jones from Duke Divinity School and Duke University. Dr. Jones has served both as the Dean of Duke Divinity and Christian Social ImaginationProvost at Baylor University before returning to Duke to teach and serve as senior fellow the Center for Faith and Leadership. Dr. Jones provided a stimulating presentation on “traditioned innovation” which is also the theme of his recent book Christian Social Innovation: Renewing Wesleyan Witness.

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Posted in Discipleship, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Practical Theology, Theological Education, Vocation, Wesley | Leave a comment

An Intergenerational Sunday School “Epiphany “

IMG9547491_2IMG9547461During 2017 the Sunday School ministry of Kansas City First Church elected to incorporate intergenerational efforts between classes of IMG9547511_2children, youth and adults every “fifth Sunday” as two classes combined on the last Sunday of every month that included five Sundays.

December 31st afforded one last opportunity, so the church elected to round out 2017, and ring in 2018, by gathering in one collected Sunday School class to explore the meaning of Epiphany as part of the Christian Calendar

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Posted in Children, Discipleship, Family, Intergenerational, Youth | Leave a comment

The Many Voices of Ministerial Entrepreneurship

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 8.32.56 AMFor the past three years, Nazarene Theological Seminary has presented a course titled Ministerial Entrepreneurship, a class dedicated to exploring 0804171106the intersections between people starting new, entrepreneurial, ventures with ministry in mind. The course incorporates a partnership with the Kauffman Foundation on Entrepreneurship and their iScreen Shot 2017-11-18 at 9.46.58 AMnnovative FastTrac program that provides a basic introduction to Entrepreneurship practices. Recently two significant changes allow NTS to move the course from a traditional classroom to local congregations.  Continue reading

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Invitation to new NTSx class “Calling” Emerging Adults

NTSx, the open, online learning platform for lifelong learning at Nazarene Theological Seminary will offer a new course this fall. Calling Emerging Adults offers an open, online, course exploring the nature of emerging adulthood, its relationship to the Millennial Generation, and the need for a deeper sense of theological vocation as the church offers a stronger vision of faith, work, and economics.
CallingEmergingAdultsThe course begins Oct. 9th and runs for six weeks. Each week includes video interaction and/or reading as well as online discussion with fellow participants. We are asking you read one book, Discipleship with Monday in Mind, that you can purchase online for $3.00 for the course.

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Posted in Culture, Discipleship, Economics, Practical Theology, Vocation, Young Adult | Leave a comment

Flourishing and Social Worlds

0106170912Today’s gathering of the Oikonomia Network began with Greg Forster 0106170914aproviding updates on efforts within and beyond the Network. ON continues to cultivate new partners, such as the LABI College/Latin American Theological Seminary (LABI/LATS) in Los Angeles, as well as seek strategies for 0106171900aproviding sustainability in existing programs. In particular, the Network now partners similar efforts working directly with clergy, screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-11-34-38-pmsuch as the upcoming conference lead by Pastor Tom Nelson on Flourishing for the Common Good, 2017 in Kansas City and at satellite locations. This conference is 0105171626designed for pastors and congregational leaders to discuss how the church participates in flourishing in our neighborhoods. Flourishing in our workplaces. Flourishing in our churches. And flourishing for the good of our cities

0106170913aThe remainder of the day focused on small group presentations addressing several “social worlds” or institutions that intersect with the church: the legal/political world, Wall Street economics, and the life of the family, as well as a discussion on extending the faith, work, economic conversation at different educational institutions.

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Strategies for Hope in the Oikonomia Network

0105171603_hdr0105171603January is always a good time for a faculty retreat, particularly in Tempe Arizona. This week I have the privilege of attending the Oikonomia Network Faculty Retreat. It is a time to see a little of the city but also to network with other faculty and innovators interested in advancing theological education in faith, work, and economics. The Oikonomia 0105171727Network gathering is sponsored by the Faith, Work and Economics initiative at Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 10.05.37 PMthe Kern Family Foundation. The  Network represents a group of scholars and educators engaged in seminary education around the United States, all working on projects to prepare seminarians to take seriously the place of work and economics as part of their ministry.

0105171900Greg Forster, Director, Oikonomia Network and Visiting Assistant Professor of Faith and Culture at Trinity International University, convened this evening’s gathering by noting the title of the retreat “Strategies for Hope.” Forster offered that, in the middle of unsettled 0105171903b-1times, we need to recognize there are a number of encouraging activities occurring so members need fresh, hopeful, eyes to discern those positive efforts and build on their initiatives.  Forster also acknowledged 0105171915dthat the retreat followed a new, abbreviated, format. In part, the change of the retreat is directly related to a new Oikonomia initiative called the Karam Forum that occurs screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-11-26-29-pmMarch 2-3, 2017 at Trinity International University. Still, the retreat remains an important event as it both helps new members gain an initial understanding of the network’s efforts, and also allows experienced Oikonomia Network faculty and administrators ongoing opportunity to build their expertise and look for “the next step” to constructively expand their efforts.

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Posted in Clergy, Discipleship, Economics, Spiritual Formation, Uncategorized, Vocation | Leave a comment