Helpful models of extracurricular events: The events profiled in this article were selected by the ON Advisory Committee as “helpful models” for network faculty to consider.
While curricular integration is the biggest and most exciting challenge of the Oikonomia Network, extracurricular activities and public events are also important. They can establish a big, motivational vision for the opportunities to advance the kingdom of God and the well-being of our communities through work, business, and economics. They can cultivate small communities of students who are especially interested in this aspect of pastoral ministry. They can reach beyond the ivory tower to serve the community at large. And they can provide students and community members with direct exposure to experts and national leaders.
That’s why, along with specialized classes and modules in the core curriculum, the ON advisory committee’s list of “helpful models” includes a variety of audio/visual resources from seminary events. We hope these resources will be helpful to you in both reflecting on work and economic issues and considering what extracurricular and public opportunities there might be at your school.
This month, we highlight videos produced by the Oikonomia Network program at the Talbot School of Theology of Biola University. Biola has been by far the network’s most prolific producer of audio/visual resources, available through its Open Biola digital learning initiative. Perhaps the school’s proximity to Hollywood has something to do with it!
Among the videos produced by Biola, pride of place – to use a phrase this speaker might have challenged – goes to Dallas Willard’s lecture on work. Delivered at a Talbot School faculty retreat devoted to work and economics in fall 2011, the speech provides a deep well of insight on the role of work in spiritual formation – and the role of spiritual formation in work. In January 2013, Willard would go on to develop these insights further in two seminal lectures on economic wisdom at the ON faculty retreat.
Biola hosted another national faith and work thought leader, Amy Sherman, at an event entitled “Empowering Your Congregation – Taking Faith to Work.” Her presentation focused on three practical areas where local churches can equip people to live out the kingdom in their work: inspiration, discovery and formation. Sherman is the author of the widely praised book “Kingdom Calling.” She also provided a summary of how the Kingdom of God impacts work and vocation in a chapter she contributed to “The Pastor’s Guide to Fruitful Work and Economic Wisdom,” just published by the Made to Flourish pastor network.
Bringing in outside speakers is not the only way to have a great event. Faculty are already in the business of delivering engaging and informative presentations. Extracurricular events provide them with opportunities to work with formats and foci that the classroom doesn’t readily permit.
For an innovative example, consider Biola’s “Preaching Nine to Five” events, which are held both in southern California and in other cities through partnerships with other ON seminaries. Tag-team faculty presentations establish a cross-disciplinary learning opportunity for pastors who are already in the field. Ethics professor Scott Rae lays out the importance of integrating faith and work, then homiletics professor Kent Edwards presents ideas for how pastors can preach on this integration. A discussion focused on developing practical applications follows.
We hope these and the other audio/visual resources identified by the committee as “helpful models” inspire you to think afresh, not only about issues of work and economics, but about the educational possibilities of extracurricular activities and public events at your school!