The Acton Institute has officially launched its revolutionary church curriculum, “For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles” (FLOW). Faculty in the Oikonomia Network got a special preview of the curriculum at our annual retreat in January, viewing episode 1, “Exile,” and episode 3, “The Economy of Creative Service.” The curriculum has already been well received: When Acton announced a local premiere event in Grand Rapids, all 250 tickets (at $10 each) sold out in less than a week. FLOW had a national rollout event at the headquarters of Blood:Water Mission on April 24.
FLOW is also being used in seminaries. After the January preview in Phoenix, at least two ON schools reached out to Acton to obtain advance copies of FLOW to screen episodes at all-faculty gatherings. Dallas Seminary screened an episode at its public conference on faith and work in April. Individual faculty have also contacted Acton to request copies for classroom use. Feedback from all of these audiences has been very encouraging.
These initial steps emerged from the spontaneous requests of schools and faculty. To follow up, Acton is now exploring other ways FLOW could serve theological education. Ideas and input from ON faculty and schools would be invaluable in this process. For example, Acton is eager to receive feedback on how their StudySpace app might facilitate classroom use. FLOW delivers content and hosts dialogue through this unique mobile device app, which allows people to view the videos, read reflections and prayer ideas, and consider Scripture citations. They can also directly exchange their answers to discussion questions with fellow small group members. Acton would like to know if this unique StudySpace experience, designed for church-based small groups, could be adapted for seminary classes. If you think FLOW has educational potential, download the StudySpace app, check out the FLOW study guide, and send your thoughts and suggestions to Stephen Grabill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to also pass along any thoughts about how FLOW could be used in classrooms, or what future innovations or products might make that easier.