The Center for Transformational Churches (CTC) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School continues to sponsor programming, cultivate curricular integration and hold campus events focusing on whole-life discipleship and the future of theological education. Some of our key themes under that umbrella include resilient ministry, vocation, human flourishing and economic wisdom. Things have been chaotic here, as they are everywhere else, but we’re finding ways to carry the mission forward.
CTC continues to host pastor and ministry-leader development gatherings as a part of the Resilience Project. At these gatherings, pastors convene for focused teaching on whole-life discipleship, church systems and ongoing fruitfulness in ministry. Much of the insight shared during these trainings comes from CTC Executive Director Donald Guthrie, Bob Burns and Tasha Chapman’s Resilient Ministry and The Politics of Ministry, which offer reflection on systems leadership in the local church and the challenges that pastors face today. We continue to hear from pastoral participants that they love the ministry work they do, but the challenges to their own vocational flourishing remain formidable to say the least. These trainings convene local, regional and national networks of pastors, and have involved working with multiple denominational partners. From these events, the CTC is developing resources for pastors in ongoing collaboration with these denominational partners.
In addition to supplying leadership development in whole-life discipleship for students and campus leaders at Trinity, such as through our Oikonomia Fellowship program for selected students, CTC continues to provide catalytic opportunities for innovative faculty resource development. For instance, the CTC recently began partnering with four TEDS faculty members who produce a new, but widely downloaded podcast series. Foreword, a TEDS faculty podcast, provides an opportunity for faculty to share about their recent projects as well as wisdom from their own vocational journeys in a more public and easily accessible format. This spring saw the completion of the podcast’s first season and includes interviews with TEDS’ Dean Graham Cole, Kevin Vanhoozer, Tité Tienou and CTC’s own Donald Guthrie. Season two of the podcast begins fall 2020.
The national office of the Oikonomia Network is part of the CTC and continues the work of convening and resourcing the ON. The 2020 meeting of our Karam Forum event in Atlanta gathered theological educators, Christian academics and others to consider issues of whole-life discipleship, fruitful work and economic wisdom in educating the rising generation of leaders for the church. We heard from Greg Jones and Richard Mouw on the future of theological education, from Rachael and Jacob Denhollander on justice and vocation, from Charisse Jones, Joe Gorra and Dean Blevins on entrepreneurship, and many more – in addition to the connecting and collaborating that always undergird Karam Forum. Speaking of which, we have been hard at work discerning the right path forward for Karam Forum 2021, and we hope to make announcements about that soon.
We have also rolled out a new, more accessible website for our Economic Wisdom Project resources, including four new videos coming out of Karam Forum 2020:
- Greg Forster on bringing life to the world through the economy
- Jules Martinez on multi-ethnic ministry making the kingdom visible
- Lisa Slayton, Terry Timm and Deborah Gill on spiritual formation in the new economy
- The Denhollanders on justice and vocation
We were very pleased to report earlier this year that the use of these resources in classrooms is growing rapidly (see also our annual impact report). And of course the ON national office continues to produce this newsletter – hi there! – and other resources and activities supporting the network.
Even amid recent challenges, the CTC is hopeful for the upcoming year, re-envisioning our work on whole-life discipleship for human flourishing and pursuing new collaborations with colleagues as we advance the mission of theological education together.