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NEW Policy for Viewing Prerecorded Material for CEUs

Recognizing that live participation is becoming increasingly difficult for mulitivocational ministers and given the growing library of recorded webinars available from denominational agencies, the Brethren Academy is offering clergy the opportunity to view and report on prerecorded webinars and other educational events for CEUs. A standardized reporting process will provide the necessary accountability.

Download the new policy and instructions

Cultivating a Verdant Faith: Eco-Discipleship Practices for the 21st Century Church

The Christian faith has something to contribute to how we relate to God’s creation. Instead of being distracted by the news of the day, we need a metanoia moment and the church needs to lead with hope and faith. Not a passive hope – waiting for external agencies to bring about what we desire; rather an active hope – partnering with God to bring about what God desires because none of this is ours, it’s on loan to us from the One who created it all.

Webinar presenters Jonathan Stauffer and Randall Westfall have come to believe that living attuned with God’s creation is now essential to our discipleship with Jesus. In recent years, they have rediscovered just how attuned to creation Jesus was. His teachings often made a point by drawing on the natural world around him. He knew God’s wisdom came from these encounters and sought them out intentionally. He sought the solace of the wilderness, the sea, the mountain, and the garden to regenerate his ministry and mission. Jesus was drawing on a blueprint as old as creation itself.

Jonathan and Randall present a two-part webinar series. Each session weaves eco-practices into the fabric of one’s discipleship and spiritual formation with Christ. By exploring the various themes of eco-discipleship, participants will unearth their relationship with creation in new and profound ways. Join us as we explore just how verdant our faith can be!

Webinar Dates

Each session is 75 minutes.

CEUs of 0.25 for both sessions or 0.125 to attend one session. There is a one-time $10 fee for pastors wanting a CEU certificate for attending one or both webinars.

Webinar sponsors: Outdoor Ministry Association and Discipleship Ministries of the Church of the Brethren

Jonathan Stauffer

Jonathan Stauffer is a high school science instructor and freelance eco-theologian. He has served as camp counselor and nature program leader at various Brethren camps for over a decade. Jonathan obtained a bachelor’s in physics from Manchester University (IN) and is a recent graduate of Bethany Seminary, earning an MA in Theological Studies. He also has hands-on experience with wind and solar energy. Jonathan currently serves on the OMA Board and resides in Polo, Illinois.

Randall Westfall

Randall Westfall has been mentoring folks on the deep nature connection journey for over a decade and seeks to bridge the outer landscapes of God's creation with the inner landscapes of the soul. He studied Religion and Psychology at Manchester University (IN); and is a graduate of Wilderness Awareness School (WA) where he received masters level certifications in naturalist studies, wilderness survival, wildlife tracking, ethnobotany, bird language and nature mentoring. He is currently a TRiM student and licensed minister in COB. Randall is the Director at Camp Brethren Heights in west-central Michigan, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Exploring the Holy Spirit:
Mover and Shaker of Ideas and Actions

July 30, 2020

Featuring Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Professor of Theology, Earlham School of Religion, and Dr. Denise Kettering-Lane, Assoc. Professor of Brethren Studies, Bethany Theological Seminary.

The Spirit presents itself to many as an enigma. Its existence is mysterious and complex, generating misunderstandings and unawareness of its true purpose. The Spirit’s ambiguous nature opens the opportunity for study to unearth the exciting truths that it holds. The Spirit is present in our world in various forms and invites us to work for climate justice, racial justice, and gender justice. It stirs us to work toward new kinships with God that are sustainable, just, and whole. The Spirit empowers, sustains, and encourages us to live out our call and ministry. Join Drs. Kim and Kettering-Lane as they explore the Holy Spirit’s significance within various Christian traditions including the Church of the Brethren.

Witness of Churches on the Path to Healing Racism: A Theological Exploration

Grace Ji Sun Kim

Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Earlham School of Religion's Theology Professor will share theological insights for us as followers of Jesus on the path to Healing Racism. Dr. Grace is the author of several books including Healing Our Broken Humanity: Practices for Revitalizing Church and Renewing the World, Intercultural Ministry: Hope for a Changing World and is editor of Keeping Hope Alive: Sermons and Speeches of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Rev LaDonna Sanders Nkosi

Intercultural Ministries Director Rev. LaDonna Nkosi will be our interviewer and moderator.

There is no ‘should’ in social media

Social Media webinar slides

With congregations unable to meet in person, you may feel pressured by the technology and skills that you feel you “ought” to have. This webinar asks you to consider your “why,” focusing on skills and assets you already have and the needs of your group. It looks at some of the most popular social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, with practical tips on setting up, scheduling, and using them.

Jan Fischer Bachman is web producer for the Church of the Brethren. She has broadcast on Facebook Live for the denomination as well as her home congregation, Oakton Church of the Brethren. And, yes, she has managed to take inadvertent selfies and shots featuring her fingers while live.

Best Practices for Online Worship: Considerations and Strategies

The global coronavirus pandemic has forced almost every worshiping community to make massive changes within a few weeks. The methods and styles of worship cherished by the church had to be left behind or adapted into a new virtual paradigm. The rapid change spurred by COVID-19 has not allowed a luxury of time to reflect on how those adaptations might be faithful to our beliefs and theology. It is a time not unlike when the Hebrew people were taken into exile in Babylon and had to create new worship styles–and a new understanding of God and God’s people--for their faith to survive. Those changes, however, are what allowed the faith to flourish in new ways.

This one-hour webinar will address questions that this unwanted pandemic and the new paradigm for doing church present. “How do we avoid ‘spectator worship’ and keep worship the work of the people?” “What sort of technology might best fit our theology and our specific congregation’s needs?” “What are some technical and liturgical tips and tricks that can help us right now?” And not the least of the questions, “What are the learnings and gifts from this unwanted transition that inform how we think about our churches going forward?” You are welcome to bring your own questions as well.

Enten Eller

Enten Eller, of Palmyra, PA, is a tri-vocational pastor. He currently serves the Ambler (PA) Church of the Brethren, and the denomination’s only completely online church, the Living Stream Church of the Brethren. Enten helped launch Living Stream COB into virtual worship space eight years ago, long before the current pandemic.

Enten has run his own small computer business for over 35 years. He is passionate about using technology to build community in the service of the church, having served as Director of Distributed Education and Electronic Communication at Bethany Theological Seminary until his return to pastoral ministry. His third vocation is peacemaking and conflict resolution. His interests include tandem bicycling with his wife Mary, camping, kayaking, and travel.

Brethren Distinctives in Church Planting

Since the 1960s, a proliferation of non-denominational churches, from small to mega-size congregations, emerged around the world. Christians celebrate ministries that lead people into a life-changing relationship with Jesus. Those of us in the Church of the Brethren embrace Christian brothers and sisters around the world of other Christian traditions. We are all a part of the Kingdom of God.

The Church of the Brethren heritage is a distinctive and magnetic expression of the Christian faith. We believe the beliefs and practices of the Church of the Brethren are uniquely suited to reach this generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, leading many of us to plant new communities of faith rooted in the Church of the Brethren.

What is it that makes a Church of the Brethren church plant distinctive? This webinar will explore the fascinating confluence of Radical Pietistic and Anabaptist thought that gave rise to our movement. We will illustrate how those beliefs are embodied and practiced in modern church plants and how we can use them to establish even more new congregations of the Church of the Brethren. Anyone interested in planting a new Brethren congregation or involved in District or congregational support of new ministries will benefit from this webinar.

Brethren Distrinctive in Church Planting slides

Brethren Distinctives Resource List

Ryan Braught

Ryan Braught is the church planter/pastor of the Veritas Community in Lancaster, Pennyslvania, which he founded with his wife in September of 2009. He is the husband of Kim, and father of Kaiden (16) and Trinity (13). In his free time he loves to snowboard, listen to music, watch movies, read, and hang out with his family.

Nate Polzin

Nate Polzin has been ministering in the Church of the Brethren since 1996, currently serving as pastor of The Church in Drive (Saginaw, Michigan) and the Midland Church of the Brethren.

He graduated from Bethany Theological Seminary and has served in various roles in the denomination. Nate has planted a church, served as DE, started three college campus ministries and led revitalization efforts in three congregations. He is married to Mandy, and they have two great boys - Lucas and Michael.

Leading in a Time of Crisis

Stan Dueck

In times like these, it is crucial that leaders remain calm under pressure, make the right decisions, and then effectively implement those decisions.

What can leaders do when uncertainty lies at the heart of the COVID-19 crisis? The webinar will identify how people can feel overwhelmed, help people gain resilience, and the importance of making virtual social connections viable.

Stan Dueck is director of Organizational Leadership and co-coordinator of Discipleship Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

Mission and Money in Church Planting

Mission and Money in Church Planting transcript

March 10, 2020 the presenter, David Fitch led our learning topic on funding models and church planting.

This free webcast is a New and Renew event sponsored by the New Church Advisory Committee of the Church of the Brethren.

David Fitch

David Fitch is the Betty R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary Chicago, IL. He is also the founding pastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community, a missional church in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. He coaches a network of church plants in the C&MA linked to Life on the Vine. He writes on the issues the local church must face in Mission including cultural engagement, leadership and theology and has lectured and presented on these topics at many seminaries, graduate schools, denominational gatherings and conferences. Fitch’s latest books are Faithful Presence and The Church of Us vs. Them.

Conflict Competent Leadership
March 19, 2019

Reconciliation is central to our collective calling as Christ followers. Yet many of us are thrust into leadership and ministry without the necessary tools to walk through inevitable conflict, hurt and betrayal. In this webinar we will explore how to develop competency in conflict transformation and map out some practical pathways for interpersonal and community peace building

Christiana Rice

Christiana Rice is the co-author of To Alter Your World: Partnering with God to Rebirth Our Communities, with Michael Frost. Christiana is an on-the ground practitioner and visionary voice in the missional movement, serving with Thresholds as a coach and trainer for missional leaders. She’s based in urban San Diego, CA where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Seeding or Launching Congregations:
The First Year Shapes the Church for Decades (10/9/2018)

Download the transcript Descargue la transcripción

David Fitch

Go and be present rubric

Passionate about church planting? Interested in learning more? Discerning a call or ministry or know someone who is? Are you or your congregation supporting a church planter?

This webinar is for District Executives, district leadership, new church development teams, pastors, church planters, and anyone who is interested in church planting and congregational revitalization.

Author, conference presenter, and church planter, Dr. David Fitch is the B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary, Chicago, IL. He writes on the issues the local church faces in mission including cultural engagement, leadership, and theology.

Identify a charismatic leader and launch a public worship service is a common approach in planting churches in North America. While there is much to appreciate about the usual methodology of starting new churches, the webinar addresses implications of the "launching church," and consider other tactics and formations of new church plants. During the webcast, David Fitch guides the exploration of the following topics:

  • The history of church planting in North America
  • Introduction of approaches to church planting
  • Implications of church planting models on leadership, worship, and mission