Following the call to provide transformational learning and courageous leadership in a changing church, Lifelong Learning at VTS has experimented with new initiatives and tweaked other offerings to equip lay and clergy leaders with rich theological education and practical tools for ministry. This past academic year, we shortened evening classes (4 to 6 weeks instead of 10), simplified the process for auditing master’s level classes; developed webinars for leaders and offered online courses in digital ministry; provided online streaming of various programs (often through Facebook Live); offered workshops on spirituality practices; facilitated conversation on topics relevant to church leaders through our Faith in the Field series; and included weekday workshops geared towards church professionals (such as preaching).
From our experimentation, we learned: shorter courses are popular especially those that emphasize engagement with scripture, online and clergy participation are growing, but interest in spirituality offerings was lower than hoped.
This next academic year, the Addison Academic Center will be closed for renovation and classroom space will be limited. This is an opportunity for us to engage lay and clergy leaders by leveraging technology and other resources of the Seminary to develop fresh learning opportunities with the goal of strengthening our collective and individual witness to the Gospel. We will expand our online offerings and introduce “off Holy Hill” programming with community partners.
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Diane Wright Senior Associate for Lifelong Learning; Director, Continuing Education