COUNCIL ON THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST)
Jon Berquist President,
Disciples Seminary Foundation
Chair, Council on Theological Education
The CTE is comprised of the presidents and deans of the four seminaries, and the heads of the two divinity houses and the Disciples Seminary Foundation along with staff from the Atlanta United Divinity Center. LaTaunya Bynum represents the College of Regional Ministers and Chris Dorsey serves as an ex-officio member from Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM).
The schools of the CTE provide broad and deep resources to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) related to the priorities of starting new communities and congregations, renewing existing congregations, becoming a pro-reconciliation/anti-racism church, and developing leaders.
The Council received a grant from the Oreon E. Scott Foundation to explore the following questions:
- What is the actual arc of ministry for Disciples pastors?
- What should Disciples institutions, such as the Pension Fund, DHM, and the graduate theological institutions, be doing to support pastors in the arc of ministry?
- How can we use the gifts each institution brings to the table to contribute to the health of ministry as a whole?
- What do we mean by terms such as resilience, sustenance for ministry, creativity, pastoral imagination, and the like?
- What are we already doing that has the potential to sustain clergy in ministry?
- What can we do differently to encourage sustainability in ministry?
A meeting was held in Nashville, April 15-17, 2015 where 14 clergy leaders from different ministry contexts, who are know to have exhibited excellence in ministry. The participants representing considerable diversity with respect to race, gender and age, were asked to share in a conversation where, among other things, they:
- Reflected on their ministry and what they have done that exhibited a high level of excellence:
- Reflected on their time in ministry and what has refreshed and/or challenged them.
- Discussed the relationship between resilience in ministry and congregational practices
- Reflected on the future of their ministry over the next 10 years.
This consultation led to further reflection and discussion on the part of the Council to better understand how the information might be used to strengthen leadership development and formation at Disciples institutions.
At its February 2017 meeting, the Council gave considerable attention to discussing opportunities to work more closely with Higher Education and Leadership Ministries in two specific areas: working more closely on planning the Disciples Seminarians Conference and producing a full color brochure that collectively represents the seven Disciples theological institutions.
Additionally, the Council will be looking at ways to work with the Council of Colleges and University on programs geared toward supporting young people who are in discernment regarding ministry.
The General Assembly receives the report from the
Council on Theological Education.