A newsletter for friends of the Global Mission Institute, Luther Seminary

Global Vision - Fall 2009

View more articles in the Fall 2009 issue.
 

Technology and the Global Church: Strengthening Education, Connecting Community

by Shelley Cunningham, '98

It's one thing to sit in a classroom to learn, and to have a fine library of theological books and publications at your disposal. But what if you're a missionary in Africa ... or a student in Singapore?

Technology can make the world smaller as more resources are available on the World Wide Web. These days, Luther Seminary is supplementing its tradition of global mission by increasing the ways it reaches out to missionaries and other church leaders over the Internet.

Megan Torgerson, '06, is quick to acknowledge that access to online resources helped make her year as a Graduate Preaching Fellow successful. Torgerson spent a year studying preaching in London and Rome after graduating from Luther Seminary. Because Torgerson's husband was telecommuting to Minneapolis that year, a fast Internet connection wherever they were was a must.

At first, Torgerson said, reading God Pause and Luther Seminary's monthly E-lert updates was a reassuring way to feel connected with the community back home. But she soon realized that her computer was pretty much her sole resource tool for Bible study and research for sermons.

"I didn't have my commentaries, my files and I didn't have a regular text study group to meet with," she said. "But I did have the BibleWorks [computer program] on my laptop, and I used WorkingPreacher.org for exegetical notes. They were invaluable."

Now, she says, "I sit in my office, with people to talk to and books on the shelf, but I still go to my online resources, including those from Luther Seminary, first."

WorkingPreacher.org Prepares Preachers Worldwide

"WorkingPreacher.org has been discovered by military chaplains stationed overseas and by ministers and missionaries scattered across the globe," Mary Brown, associate director of Luther Seminary's Center for Biblical Preaching, said.

Brown recently received an e-mail from an Irish pastor which read, "I have always lamented the lack of fellow preachers with whom I can discuss sermon preparation. Now having stumbled on this site, my prayers have been answered!"

Since its inception in 2006, WorkingPreacher has developed a global presence, particularly in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. Still, Brown says, "there are countless communities yet to be reached because, for now, WorkingPreacher is available only in English." The Center for Biblical Preaching has begun research on the possibility of developing Spanish language lectionary commentary for the site as a way to broaden its reach.

Enter the Bible Launches, Introducing New Global Resource

This summer Luther Seminary's online reach grew even more. Enter the Bible, a new Web-based resource found at www.enterthebible.org, which allows users access to the collective wisdom of Luther Seminary's professors, was launched in August. It provides interactive content on exegetical material, historical and literary context, art and theological reflection.

It is designed to be helpful for both lay people and trained church leaders. It will have particular benefit for those serving in other countries who cannot travel to Luther Seminary because it shares "the knowledge and insights of our exceptional faculty with the world," Center for Lifelong
Learning Director Sally Peters said.

Harvey Kwiyani, a native of Malawi who is currently studying in the Ph.D. program at Luther to become a theological professor, sees how a Web site like Enter the Bible is a great resource for those sharing the Gospel across all corners of the world. Kwiyani said he intends to use the resource in his
classroom and has already recommended it to several friends in Malawi, some of whom are already using the site.

"To many Malawians, for whom theological resources are hard to come by, Enter the Bible provides easy access to a gold mine of materials from the highly esteemed faculty of Luther Seminary in an astonishingly holistic yet customizable way," Kwiyani said. "When I return, I will definitely continue using it, which is something I am already enjoying now."


Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause e-mail devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your e-mail box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience.

Check out the web's newest, most helpful, and downright coolest resource for preachers, WorkingPreacher.org

By visiting Enter the Bible, you'll find a wealth of resources to help you grow in your faith, add depth to your Bible studies and truly discover the people, places and events of the Bible. Think of Enter the Bible as your guide, a helpful reference tool to accompany you in your reading of the Bible.