SLT Workshops

Participants may choose two workshops. They will all be offered from 11:00-12:15 and repeated from 3:45-5:00 on Tuesday, January 21.

Food, Fornication, and Freedom: A New Testament Case Study/Simulation on Discernment

Dorothy Jean Weaver, EMS Faculty Member
In a simulated “Discernment Conference”, attendees will tackle an existential and hotly-debated issue within the early church – food sacrificed to idols (I Cor 8-11; Rev 2 & 17). A closer look at the debate will foster learnings for the 21st century. Please bring a Bible.

When the Main Motion Produces Commotion

Bernie Fuska, Church of the Brethren Pastor/Teaching Event Leader
How do we discern the mind of Christ when disagreements arise in church meetings? How do we help individuals remain focused on the issues when emotions run high and strong opinions are expressed? Participants will explore various strategies, covenants and Biblical Resources that can be put in place.

Narratives of Identity & Inclusion: Acts 15 and Discernment, Then and Now

Mark and Mary Thiessen Nation, EMS Faculty Members
This workshop will explore the dynamics at work in the early church as its Jewish identity became centered in Jesus and strained to include Gentiles. As we live within our own narratives of identity today, how might we learn from the origins of our faith what it means to be discerning communities, faithfully reflecting life together in Jesus Christ?

Group Spiritual Direction: A Discerning Ministry for the Life of the Church

Kevin Clark, EMS Faculty Member
Participants will be introduced to a basic model of group spiritual direction (GSD) with variations for congregational use. Through GSD listening and accountability participants engage in a discernment ministry embedded in a congregation, feeding our deep desires to live in full relationship to God and each other.

Prayer Practices for Personal Discernment

Brett Davis, Lutheran Pastor
In an interactive presentation drawing on her own recent and ongoing experience of discerning God’s call and leading, Pastor Brett will explore various prayer disciplines and practices for discernment. Families and individuals hunger to listen for God’s leading in daily discernment and major decisions. Gain some practical tools to equip them.

Toward Understanding the Congregation as a Relationship System: The Use and Misuse of Family Systems Theory as a Resource for Congregational Leadership & Discernment

Kenton Derstine, EMS Faculty Member
This workshop will explore the potential value of “systems thinking” as a resource for congregational leaders during times of discernment. How are the terms and concepts of Family Systems Theory commonly misunderstood and occasionally misused? What are some possibilities and problems in correlating “systems thinking” and pastoral theology?

Lord, HELP! Church Leaders Navigating Challenging Times and Issues

Warren Tyson, Mennonite Conference Minister
Using stories from their experience as conference ministers, Warren and others will highlight the joys and challenges of guiding discernment processes when leaders agree and disagree and identify how we/they survive the tyranny of the urgent, addressing hard issues while keeping focused on the big picture of being the church.