Some things are hot, some thing's are not. The school of lay ministry is hot. Founded in 2006 as a learning opportunity for adults in New England who are interested in expanding their understanding of the Lutheran faith. The school now boasts 90 graduates and a current enrollment of 58 students. The two year curriculum centers on a year of study of both the Hebrew bible and the New Testament, followed by a year of study of our Lutheran understanding of the Christian faith.
Why is the school hot? The answer lies in the motivation of the participants to deepen their faith in Jesus way of being in the world. The first ever alumni event was held this month at Emanuel Lutheran Church in West Warwick, RI. We spent the day preparing to author Hollywood type scripts. The subject of these narratives? The grand unfolding drama of God's story and our individual subplots within that grand drama.
Using the resource, Storyline 2.0, written by author and screenwriter Donald Miller, we prayed, laughed, meditated, discussed, and wrote our way through the day. The goal? Create a five minute narrative of your life as a subplot of God's story, and find a way to live that story as a disciple of Jesus.
The school of lay ministry is hot because around the world, we are seeing a return to a book of Acts way of being church. People are gathering in living rooms, bars and coffee houses to explore the big questions of life. What is God like? Does life have meaning? Why is there suffering? At the forefront of this movement are lay people. What would New England look like if there was a trained cadre of lay people to embrace their Christian faith and take it with them to work, to school, to the store? Not armed with cliches and pamphlets, but embraced by the Holy Spirit, trained theologically and encouraged to love and serve the people they come into contact everyday,
Every September a new class is formed. That class begins with a retreat at Camp Calumet. You form a group that is geographically close to you to study, pray and support one another as you journey together as disciples. We have begun conversations about starting a Spanish language version of the school of lay ministry. This will be an exciting next step in this very to ministry within the New England Synod.