Seminary Update

Because it was specifically designed for people already engaged in vocational ministry, a week of online classes at Wesley Seminary runs from Friday through Thursday. Generally speaking, we have homework due each Tuesday and Thursday. Early yesterday morning, as we embarked on Week 10 of this term, one of my professors sent an email to every member of our cohort, announcing that we had made it to the double digits. Midterm is now in the rearview mirror, and with just seven weeks (plus one week of break) remaining to the end of this first round of online courses, I thought it was time for another quick update.

We have been continuing our study of change and transformation. Since my last update, we’ve looked more closely at the things which prompt change in us. Things like education, training, and new responsibilities challenge us to grow in our knowledge and understanding, and things like challenging situations and life crises can leave an indelible mark on us. We’ve also explored several means of grace, earthly conduits by which we may particularly experience the grace of God. Another name for these would be “sacraments,” and John Wesley identified three specific means of grace: prayer, study of and meditation on Scripture, and communion. Other denominations and traditions recognize other sacraments. For example, Catholics recognize marriage and baptism, and Wesley noted that the means of grace may be as diverse as each of us. The application for this is to work to provide a wide variety of experiences by which parishioners may experience grace.

We have also been progressing in our exploration of the missional church. In this study, we have seen over and over the importance of studying the community to determine how we may reveal to it the good news of the Kingdom of God. I am absolutely on board with this notion; it is the same reasoning which has driven our church to become so intimately involved in our neighborhood schools, neighborhood association, etc. But increasingly, I find myself wondering how we may effectively gauge success under this missional paradigm. For instance, we have seen that attendance growth may not equate to life transformation, and life transformation may not result in immediate church attendance. In fact, church attendance may not result at all, but that does not necessarily mean that our methods are ineffective. Over the remainder of this term, I hope to be able to discover how to formulate metrics for success and effectiveness under a missional paradigm.

Just over halfway through the term, my grades are looking very good despite the fact that there have been several weeks I worried about completing everything. The last couple of weeks, in particular, have been rather hectic with various things happening at both the church and home. That said, I do believe I’m finally figuring out the rhythm of this whole online course thing. Still working on mastering it, but I’m getting closer.

If you want to continue praying for me, please pray that I would truly master the schedule. Also pray for a couple of projects coming up, and a couple of non-seminary related projects I’ve been working on. And finally, pray for a serious, unspoken need at our house.

And with that, I’m off to watch some more football!


1 Response to “Seminary Update”

  1. 1 Kate, Wesley Seminary October 25, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Jeremy, thank you so much for your insights and thoughts on your Wesley Seminary experience so far. We are praying specifically for the requests listed here.
    -Wesley Seminary Staff

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