LF Course Descriptions

LF 550 – Biblical and Vocational Foundations of the Teaching Ministry

In this course, we seek an understanding of the teaching ministry of the church: asking what name we use to designate this ministry, discerning what its purpose is, and connecting it to its biblical and vocational foundations.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor:  Dr. Claire Bischoff

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LF 551 – Congregation as Context

This course looks at the important shift from a schooling paradigm for educational ministry to a paradigm grounded in an image of the congregation as the agent of education, as well enumerating the strengths and challenges of congregational-based educational ministry.  Further we explore both educational and anthropological lenses for studying how the congregation educates and are introduced to the idea of Christian practices and their role in forming people in faith.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor:  Dr. Claire Bischoff

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LF 552 – Cultural Shifts Impacting the Teaching of Faith

This course explores the church’s ministry of faith formation in light of the changing culture in which we live. We work to understand what culture is and to name the features of our current post-modern culture. Further, we look at two specific cultural trends that affect educational ministry: consumerism and the rise of the Net generation. We conclude by considering what these cultural shifts mean for the practice of biblical study in our congregations.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor:  Dr. Claire Bischoff

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LF 553 – Stages of Faith

The theme that unites this course is that different people experience, understand, and live their faith in different ways. We begin by reflecting on the faith development theories of John Westerhoff and James Fowler, which help us understand developmentally how people may experience faith at different times in their lives. Then we look at John Roberto’s work for in the Faith Formation 2020 project, where he identifies eight forces that influence faith formation in our time and four scenarios for faith formation in the church in the coming decades. Finally, we encounter Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, which challenges us to do faith formation in such a way as to meet people in their various learning styles.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor:  Dr. Claire Bischoff

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LF 570 – Children’s Ministry in the Church 

This course explores the complexity, necessity and purpose of children’s ministries within the church. We will identify some of the historical strategies for children’s ministries and explore how these have impacted the direction of current curricula and methods. Students will explore their own contexts to recognize historical strains, cultural changes, and the current needs of children and their families within their own congregational settings.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor:  Dr. Dawn Alitz

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LF 572 – Teaching the Bible

In this course we examine a time-honored and common practice of faith formation in congregations: Bible study. We consider why congregations engage in Bible study and what conditions need to be present in order to help children, youth, and adults learn best. We also explore a variety of methods that can be used to design a Bible study, as well as strategies to help people engage the Bible in their prayer lives.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor: Dr. Claire Bischoff

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LF 575 – Engaging Learners Through Story and Discussions

This course explores two particularly effective methods for engaging learners in the teaching ministry of the church: story and discussion. We begin from the biblical and historical foundations for narrative-based teaching and then consider current research about adult learners that supports the use of these pedagogical methods. We identify characteristics that make a learning space conducive to personal sharing and constructive conversation and ponder how to create such a space. Throughout the course, students will engage in multiple forms of story-sharing and discussion that are adaptable for varied use in faith communities.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor: Dr. Claire Bischoff

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LF 576 – Christian Education in the Black Church

This course will offer a glimpse into the history, function and relevance of Christian Education in the Black Church. Attention will be given to the role of story-linking, culture, and education as a means of freedom. Approaches to engaging this community in manners that are respectful, thoughtful and life-giving will be considered.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor: Dr. Christine Hooper

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LF 577 – Special Topics in Youth Ministry: Baptism and Confirmation

This is an advanced course in faith formation, specifically focused upon issues of the pastoral practice of baptism and confirmation with teens.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor: Dr. Christopher Rodkey

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LF 578 – The Art of Youth Ministry: An Introduction

This course is an introduction to youth ministry.  Emphases for this introduction will include locating youth ministry within larger ecclesiological and theological contexts and developing tools for youth ministries that are helpful in a variety of ministry contexts and situations.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor: Dr. Christopher Rodkey

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LF 579 – Faith Formation in Adolescent Women

In this course, we begin by considering the context of adolescent women, naming developmental issues faced by young women and common cultural narratives about girlhood identity to which they are exposed. We then examine themes that arise in research about the faith lives of adolescent women and consider what this research implies for ministry with adolescent women. Finally, we look closely at methods used in religious education with adolescent women to support their faith formation, including girlfriend theology groups and transformative prayer practices.

Prerequisite:  None
Credit:  0.5
Instructor: Dr. Claire Bischoff

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LF 590 – Competency Exercise

*Please refer to section 7.1.6-7.1.8 of the Student Handbook*

Prerequisite:  Completion of all other LF 500 level work
Credit:  0.5
Instructor: Dr. Claire Bischoff

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LF 670 – Liberative Pedagogies and Practices

In this class, we begin with theological, anthropological questions: who are we as human beings and why (and from what) do we need liberation? We then ask how our educational ministry can contribute to human liberation through the pedagogical (teaching) practices we utilize. We begin our search for answers where the movement of liberative and critical pedagogies began, with Brazilian educator Paulo Freire’s foundational text Pedagogy of the Oppressed. We then look at how followers of Freire, in the worlds of secular and religious education, have used his work to undergird a variety of pedagogies designed to promote critical thought and critical action, including narrative, aesthetic, and embodied pedagogies. We then conclude by returning to a theological question: what role does our faith and relationship with God play in liberative pedagogies? As a partial answer to this question, we consider the practice of discernment as a way to connect with God’s will and to join in    partnership with God in transforming all life for the reign of God.

Prerequisite:  Successfully completed one competency exercise and a minimum of 60% of LF 500 level work
Credit:  2.0
Instructor:  Dr. Charles Bowie

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