Online: Monday October 13 to Monday November 17

In person: Saturday, November 1, 8:30am – 3:30pm

at the ECMN Retreat Center, Faribault MN

The Old Testament is perhaps one the most fascinating yet misunderstood parts of the church’s heritage. Many of us—both in and outside of Christianity—are somewhat familiar with particular stories from the Old Testament, but we lack a clear portrait of the Old Testament as a whole. Additionally, modern approaches to studying history have revolutionized our understandings of ancient Israel, early Judaism, and the formation of the Old Testament, but these new perspectives are not widely known or understood.

This class is designed to empower students to teach, preach, and live the Old Testament scriptures as a theological story. To do this we will utilize the metaphor of “layers” to describe the development of the Bible and the effects of readers who have read, interpreted, and lived the text throughout history and today. As each new layer is added, the old layers still remain, creating a new composition—a new story—that no individual or community ever quite owns or controls alone.

Layers:  Creation, Israel, Law, Exile, Empire, Apocalypse

Rather than concentrating on a particular corpus or a quick overview of the contents, this class emphasizes six key “layers” in the Christian story of the Bible, providing students with a framework for understanding the Old Testament as a whole. It is hoped that as students continue to encounter the Bible after this course through worship, group Bible study, and independent reading, the framework will remain as a helpful tool.

RCarlson Profile PlainInstructor: Reed Carlson

Doctoral Student in Hebrew Bible at Harvard Divinity School, Transitional Deacon in ECMN


Online: Monday September 2 – Monday September 22, 2014

In person: Saturday, September 6 2014, 8:30am – 3:30pm at the ECMN Retreat Center, Faribault MN

How do we encourage life-long learning in our communities?

How does learning together encourage us to follow the ways of Jesus?

How can we equip people to practice their faith daily in all the various communities in their lives?

Preparing for a leadership role means preparing to become a life-long learner – and to facilitate the learning of those you lead.

The first half of this course will focus on the practicalities of learning: students will take a crash course in how to get the most out of their online learning, including an orientation to Moodle and the videoconferencing technologies that will be used.

The second half of this course will focus on the how leaders can help communities follow the way of Jesus through learning together. 

All our subsequent courses will feature assessments based on learning experiences you create for your communities. In this course, learn how to develop and encourage learning in community and what makes for an excellent facilitator and teacher. Take home a toolkit of adult-education models and tools to use in the rest of your ministry, and learn to see congregations as creative, collaborative learning communities.


AZ-F copyInstructor: Amanda Ziebell-Finley, Ed.D. Candidate in Education, specializing in constructivist learning communities. MA in Organizational Leadership


Dandelion in windWhat is the church here for? How can we understand mission in a world in which the church no longer holds cultural privilege? What is God up to in the neighborhood and how are we gifted and called to join in God’s healing of creation? What does the shape of God’s life in Trinity mean for how we engage our neighbors? This course will explore biblical and theological understandings of mission as we seek to understand the church’s identity and purpose in a post-establishment, post-colonial era.

Moodle Lite - What you need to get started using Moodle.