Tod Bolsinger, Vice President for Vocation and Formation and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Fuller Seminary.
Presentation: Adventure or Die: the Leadership Challenge for the Church Today.
“Seminary didn’t prepare me for this.” This was the line that Tod Bolsinger heard from his consulting clients and Fuller Seminary heard in 2010 when they did a poll of their alumni. Even the best education and preparation is lacking when you find yourself in uncharted territory trying to navigate missional challenges that were never expected. How do we minister—how do we lead a ministry—in such a rapidly changing world.
Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, will share what he has learned from 30 years of pastoral and higher education leadership, logging almost 200,000 miles, working with leaders of over 100 churches and denominations, and studying the best leadership thinking.
Elizabeth Drescher, scholar, writer, and public speaker on religion in everyday life, and a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University.
Presentation: Cosmopolitan Christianities: Re-Thinking Ministry Beyond Communitarinism
The so-called "rise of the Nones" and related cultural and social reconfigurations, all of which have much to do with the effects of media-saturated, digitally-integrated life practices, call ministry leaders to dramatically re-think long taken for granted structures of interpersonal connectedness and gathering. Not least among the concepts that changing patterns of religious and spiritual affiliation challenge us to reconsider is modern Christian communitarianism as it functions (or, often, does not) within an increasingly cosmopolitan world. This conversation will explore what it might mean to minister in a world in which relationships are defined -- and often desired -- on the basis of otherness and differences in values, beliefs, worldviews, and practices as much as they are on commonalities.
Mihee Kim-Kort, Co-Pastor, ordained Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister with degrees in divinity and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and English Literature and Religious Studies from the University of Colorado in beautiful Boulder.
Presentation: Embodying Sanctuary
What does it mean for the church to be a sanctuary? With all that is happening in recent news around immigration and refugees what are ways we as church can think more meaningfully about welcome and hospitality? Mihee Kim-Kort will talk briefly about her family's immigrant life experience, the sanctuary movement in the U.S., and more broadly about what radical, but everyday hospitality looks like as a faith value.
Kenneth Inskeep, Director for Research and Evaluation in the Office of the Presiding Bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Presentation: State of the Church
The focus of the presentation is on ELCA congregations and growth. Comparisons are made between ELCA congregations and congregations in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Particular attention is given to the nature of worship, worship style, religious education, and evangelism. Each of these aspects of congregational life are an expression or reflection of a specific theological point of view. For ELCA congregations (and other religious groups), “Lutheran” theology creates “weak” communities that struggle to be relevant in a competitive religious marketplace.
Rolf Jacobson, Professor of Old Testament and The Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Scripture, Theology and Ministry at Luther Seminary
Presentation: More than Butts and Bucks: Word and Sacrament Ministry Reconsidered
The ways we name and describe Christ's church can limit our imaginations for ministry and even distort how we see the Holy Spirit at work in the world. Drawing from the story of the stoning of Stephen and other passages in Acts, we will consider what it means to understand the church as those who are filled with the Spirit and are continually both sent and gathered by the Spirit.
Rolf Jacobson appears weekly on two preaching Working Preacher podcasts, "Sermon Brainwave" and "I Love to Tell the Story," a podcast for the Narrative Lectionary.
His latest book, on which he collaborated with Beth Tanner and Nancy deClaisse-Walford, is the Psalms commentary in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series (Eerdmans, 2014). His works also include Crazy Talk: A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Theological Terms (Augsburg Fortress, 2008) and Invitation to the Psalms (Baker, 2013). He also leads an old-time band, "The Fleshpots of Egypt," who lead "beer and hymns" evenings where all songs are sung in the keys of G and D. Full profile
Kara Root is the pastor of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, a Christian community that shapes its life around worship, hospitality and Sabbath rest. She is also a trained spiritual director, and certified Christian educator in the PCUSA.
Presentation: Caring for Congregations in Adaptive Times
Adaptive change is a community-wide experience. No one in a congregation is unaffected, and everyone has their own thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the change. How can change move forward in a way that listens and values each person's experience? How does a congregation care for each other during change?
Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church navigates adaptive change by drawing from the insights of Compassionate Communication (also called Non-Violent Communication, or NVC). By attending to shared needs and listening to feelings, strategies emerge that allow for discernment, imagination and creativity to lead the way, rather than fear, anxiety or disappointment.
Brian Hughes has served in a variety of settings, from Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., to outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., the Bay Area of California (congregation and assistant to a bishop), and now serves in Columbia, Md. With an earned doctorate in Family Systems he's keenly interested in how human communities function and thrive.
Presentation: Resilient Church: When Robust Isn't Making it and Fragile Is not an Option
For years Lutherans have talked a good story about empowered laity, but the time may be upon us when they are the one thing that can preserve the DNA of this movement. Can the ordained train and truly release, and will the laity fully engage the one true world as it really is? These are our questions. This has been our journey.
Jodi Houge started Humble Walk Lutheran Church in a coffee shop during her last year of seminary and has been running to catch up with where this community leads her ever since. Humble Walk is filled with people on the last train out of Christianity who have decided to give it one more go. Being the pastor of this new church plant provides stories of hope every single day.
Presentation: That Box Doesn't Fit
Description: Like trying to wrestle an item back into the packaging it came in, once you experience church that doesn't fit into the typical idea of congregational life -- it's hard to squish it back into the "box." Stories of hope from a new church plant that is unbound and unleashed.
She spends a good deal of time drinking coffee and observing life in the West End of St. Paul, Minn., where she lives with her husband and two offspring. Her friends would describe her as a good eater.