The Center for Transformational Churches (CTC) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School continues to sponsor development opportunities for faculty and students, cultivate curricular integration and hold campus events. In addition, CTC houses the national office of the Oikonomia Network. Our integrating themes are whole-life discipleship and the future of theological education. Some of our recurring points of focus have been resilient ministry, vocation, human flourishing and economic wisdom.
One of the most consistently fruitful activities we have sponsored have been faculty reading groups. We find these opportunities to convene peers around a book lead to generative discussions that catalyze changes across multiple dimensions. This year, our group discussed the provocative new book For the Life of the World by Miroslav Volf and Matthew Croasmun. The authors’ diagnosis of “the crisis of theology,” and their proposal that human flourishing provides a needed standard of integration across the theological disciplines, started some very interesting conversations around our table about our vocation as scholars and educators in the theological academy.
In the winter and spring of 2019, CTC held three leadership training events for pastors and church leaders in the Presbyterian Church in America denomination. A training event in Baltimore was attended by 150 leaders; events in San Clemente and Richmond were attended by 50 and 60 leaders respectively. Organizing themes of the events were resilient ministry and whole-life discipleship. The Richmond event also produced an interview with the center’s executive director, Donald Guthrie, on the podcast This Is Gonna Hurt.
CTC also continues to sponsor fellowships for selected graduate students. These promising students are mentored by faculty with a focus on the issues of whole-life discipleship and vocation. Like other schools in the ON, we find that going deep with a few highly focused students produces a ripple effect of wider student interest.
The national office of the Oikonomia Network is part of the CTC and continues the work of convening and resourcing the ON. Our 2019 Karam Forum event continued its tradition of gathering theological educators to collaborate and consider issues of whole-life discipleship, fruitful work and economic wisdom in educating the rising generation of leaders for the church. David Miller surveyed the landscape of the faith and work movement, Miroslav Volf spoke about living faithfully in a pluralistic world, and Mark Greene asked what kind of people we need to be to carry out theological education in accordance with our vision.
Karam Forum also produced three new Economic Wisdom Project Talks for seminary classrooms, on the Trinity and daily work, vocation as integral to the gospel, and the sacredness of the church and the world. A field trip to Park Cities Presbyterian Church, to see what these insights look like “on the ground” was also a big hit with attendees.
We look forward to seeing you at Karam Forum 2020!
The ON also held its annual faculty retreat, featuring a provocative talk from Volf on “the crisis of theology” and human flourishing. And of course the ON national office continues to produce resources in the Economic Wisdom Project, as well as this newsletter (hello!) and other supporting activities.
The CTC is looking forward to next year, broadening our work on whole-life discipleship for human flourishing and pursuing new collaborations with colleagues as we advance the mission of theological education together.