Friday, February 23, 2007

The Leafblads in Mankato?

Following the theme from last post, let me offer an update about where we might be next year. There is a church in North Mankato -- the evangelical Covenant Church -- that has a high school pastor position open. Reading through their church description and youth ministry profile, I quickly realized we held similar understandings of what constitutes thriving youth ministry. In point of fact, as I read through the ministry overview, I felt as if I had written it myself. Not a bad thing. All this to say, I am finishing up my resume and cover letter for them this weekend, and praying hopefully that this might be where God would lead us. I've spent considerable time in Mankato, and its a pretty decent city, at least as far as Minnesota cities go. And, after spending three years in Jersey, my distaste for all things Minnesota has been somewhat relativized. Mankato here we come?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Leafblads in Music City?

Early on I posted about being a practical theologian. But, am I really? I've entered into the discipline a little more recently, and found it to be somewhat unsettling. It is very interdisciplinary in nature, and I have to work fairly significantly to keep my systematic theology in the conversation. This makes me question whether or not its really the discipline for me. However, my concerns about doing systematic theology without real attention being given to the concrete locality of the congregation continue to linger. Neither do I think its purely a matter of doing systematic theology and then "applying" it to the church. I think there is something of an organic interaction between the two, at least in how I approach it. This leaves me straddling a considerable fence. What guild do I enter, and how do I maintain my consideration for other upon entrance? Enter Vanderbilt.

I was perusing various programs yesterday and came across a new fellowship just introduced last year by Vandy. It is called the fellowship in theology and practice. The intent is to develop teachers that will pay careful attention to the specific setting of the congregation so as to better serve the educational interests of future ministers. The uniqueness of the program, it seems to me, is that one enters the fellowship in addition to doing a more "traditional" PhD. In other words, I could still apply for a PhD in Theological Studies (as its called at Vandy), and yet I would be involved in a cohort that would force me to understand my research and PhD program in terms of the congregation. I would, then, be doing systematic theology/doctrinal theology with my mind directed to the specific locality of the congregation. Alas, I think this program was designed for me. I need to find out more about it, but this was a pretty exciting discovery. It is also a very good fellowship, with funding for six years and a teaching externship as part of the program. I've heard Nashville is a pretty exciting place to be too. Music City here we come?