Exploring Faith: Advanced Level Course Offerings

(CEUs available upon request)

Fall 2017 Courses:

Church Management and Human Resources (CO051E)
Mary Kay DuChene
Online; September 11 to October 15, 2017 (5 weeks) **CANCELLED**

Course Description: The functions of management and Human Resources in the church are dissimilar from the corporate world. Organizational complexity and the dynamics of human nature add a layer of complexity to the church environment. This course will explore techniques and best practices of management and HR in the church. Some topics include: supervising people, hiring and firing (whether employee or volunteer!), setting expectations (for employees or volunteers!), governance for today’s church.

Cost: $175 per person.

To Register: Log in to MyWTS.
If you do not have a MyWTS account yet, you can request an account using the MyWTS Login Request form. You must provide all of the requested information in order for WTS to set up your account. The verification process is only needed once to create an account. Keep your MyWTS account information handy so you can use it to register for courses in the future. Email the seminary Registrar’s Office if you have questions about registration.

Registration on MyWTS opens six months prior to the start of courses.

If you are or think you may want to work towards completing one of Wartburg’s certificates, you’re welcome to take the courses listed here, but they will not meet the certificate program requirements. The Exploring Faith: Entry Level courses and TEEM courses do meet certificate program requirements. Here is a current list of other Learning for Life opportunities.


Course Descriptions

CO015 Old Testament in the New Testament
The authors of the New Testament drew heavily on their Scripture (what many Christians now call the Old Testament) when writing their stories or correspondence about Jesus and what it meant to follow him.  This course explores the various ways that these authors used the Old Testament to make sense of their experiences of Jesus.

CO031 Church History for the Practice of Ministry
This course offers an overview of the history of Christianity from the apostolic age to the twenty-first century. Two central emphases will link the Christian communities surveyed. First, we will discuss and evaluate how churches have responded to broader societal shifts, including responses to different religious traditions, political realities, understandings of gender and sexuality, and globalization. Second, students will be asked to consider what role narratives of the history of Christianity play in contemporary conversations within the church. Students will read, analyze, discuss, and interpret primary readings each week in relation to these two emphases. Recorded lectures, online course modules, and a brief survey of Christian history will provide the overarching narrative. Assignments will include an essay analyzing one or more primary sources, a group project that evaluates the role that narratives of Christianity assume in the church today, and a creative project that presents the history of Christianity to a general audience.

CO041 Conversing with Bonhoeffer
A theologian for the Church? A theologian for secularity? A theologian of both Church and secularity? Together in this short, five week course we will examine and converse over a handful of signal texts from various stages of Bonhoeffer’s life. Ultimately, we will attempt to both trace the trajectory of Bonhoeffer’s theology and its application for the Church today.

CO042 Heresies Old & New
Through research, reading, thinking, and discussion this course will work on developing our own understanding of some of the major heresies rejected by the Christian Church, from early Gnosticism to contemporary heresies. Part of our analysis will be to discern whether they have been correctly or incorrectly rejected.

CO043 Global Christologies: The Many Faces of Jesus
Courses in Christology often seek to respond to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” This course continues to pursue that question, but with a variety of ways in which Jesus is interpreted in different cultural contexts. As we look at the various Christological orientations, we will be mindful of the prophetic ways Jesus has engaged the world. The question of ‘who Jesus is’ goes beyond doctrinal confession, but brings together a lively engagement in our faith and life refreshing Christian discipleship and church practices.

CO044 Karl Barth Without Apology
Recognizing the influence of Karl Barth upon 20th and 21st century theology, this course seeks to articulate the theology of Karl Barth both from the external perspective of the theological atmosphere in which Barth did theology, and from the internal perspective of his theology’s own development. This course will examine such themes as “the subject of theology”, “the possibility of theology”, and the “goal of theology” (among other questions). This course, due to its development of context, will also provide a sketch of the trajectory of 20th c. theology (as so much theology developed in reaction to him). Careful attention will be paid not only to the appropriation of Barth’s theology in recent times, but to the conceptualizing of Barth’s theology for Church practice.

CE050 Faith & Good Sex: A Holistic Approach to Sexuality
The purpose of this course is to explore the ways Christian faith calls for the nurture and proper formation of our sexual desires and relationships. Many topics will be frankly discussed: pornography and cybersex, loving sexual relationships outside of marriage, healthy sexual boundaries for all, lay and ordained, in positions of leadership in the church, variations in gender and same sex relationships, to name a few. All the sources of moral wisdom available to the community of faith — the Bible, traditional church teachings and practices, insights from scientific disciplines and our own experiences of the Spirit’s work among us as people of faith –will be woven into our consideration of what makes for sexual health, integrity and holiness.

CO050 Budgeting and Strategic Planning for Congregations
Does your budget reflect your mission?  Do you regularly ask the question “What’s God up to in this context?” Do you feel comfortable sitting with the financial experts in your congregation?  This 5-week course will start with budgeting basics – how to read a budget and how to create one – and move into the vocation of the church resulting in strategic planning. Finally, we’ll explore a budgeting/planning cycle that reflects the mission of the church.

CO051 Church Management & Human Resources
The functions of management and Human Resources in the church are dissimilar from the corporate world.  Organizational complexity and the dynamics of human nature add a layer of complexity to the church environment.  This 5-week course will explore techniques and best practices of management and HR in the church.  Some topics include: supervising people, hiring and firing (whether employee or volunteer!), setting expectations (for employees or volunteers!), governance for today’s church. 

CO052 Effective Leadership for the 21st Century Church
Are you unclear where your church is headed in these confusing times? Do you want to affect some change but are unsure how to go about it?  Do you have some parishioners who are ready for something new, and others who want things to remain the same?  Leading church today is exciting and yet filled with questions of the unknown future of the church.  It is necessarily about leading change, and taking risk in the midst of that. It also requires a level resilience not required in the past.  This 5-week course will explore these topics and invite participants to put concepts to work immediately in context.

CO070E From Membership to Discipleship
Presenting discipleship as the work of God’s Spirit among us, forming us in Christ and calling us to God’s mission, this course will offer some strategies to move congregations further along the journey from church membership to active discipleship.

CO090 Stewardship in This New Age of Mission
The complexities of stewardship in this new age of mission require more agility than a simple tweak of the congregation’s fall drive. This course embraces those complexities by attending both to the deep theological impulses of the missional conversation in conjunction with this emerging cultural context. Together, we will consider a contextual, integrative approach that welcomes congregational learning immersed in new practices and toward fruitful innovation.

CO091 Re-Visioning Rural Ministry
A 5-week online course that identifies and structures new opportunities for worship and mission in rural settings, designed specifically for denominational judicatory leaders and rural pastors of the ELCA, PC(USA) and denominations in full communion with each.