Monday, April 04, 2016

Knox online mission teaching

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership went online today. The topic focus was Mission and the church. Video conferencing was used to connect interns together and for two hours, Scripture was read, in conversation with readings from Newbigin and the context in which the intern is ministering.

ibook-g4-1-1243494-640x480 It is an experiment we are trialing this year, in 1 of our 7 courses, made for a number of reasons.

First, traditional education tends to offer theory, which is then applied, often in an assignment. The Mission and the church class has a major assignment which involves working with a group from the local church over a number of weeks in exploring what God is up to in the local neighbourhood. The use of video conferencing was a way to try and place the local context more front and centre, in a different way than in a classroom. Essentially we have halved the face to face contact time and replaced it with in-context tutorials.

Second, some recent educational research has argued that the closer a student is to their context, the more likely they are to begin to experience change, as they seek to integrate content with their current lived experience. In other words, the face to face class removes a student from their context, while e-learning allows them to stay in context, increasing their range of connections they make.

Third, the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership internship offers three block course intensives a year. Providing online engagement in between intensives increases interaction between lecturers and interns. It also provides another way to strengthen relationships between interns. (“Is that what your office looks like” was one comment heard today).

Fourth, technology is an increasing part of life today, so it is good for interns (and lecturers) to be invited to learn and grow, to experience forming and being formed through digital means.

Fifth, online technology offers some avenues for Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership to be more engaged in training nationally, including connecting with those in rural areas. If we can do this with interns, could we down the track also do it with lay folk and ministers in context? So this type of experiment allows us to learn and grow, testing our capacity, exploring ways to enhance access to ministry and mission training.

Today had some hitches. As was to be expected. But the conversation I was part of was one of the most honest and sustained exploration of ministry and call that I have experienced in quite some years. To read Scripture, to pray and be prayed through digital technologies, was a rich experience.

Posted by steve at 08:06 PM


  1. fantastic move – look forward to seeing how this develops. We have our weekly prayer meetings like this – I thought it would be hard to connect, but it seems its just as easy as if we are in the room together. Life together over cyberspace, and people like it because they don’t have to get out of their PJs if they don’t want to… I imagine the interns did get dressed though?

    Comment by Darryl — April 5, 2016 @ 5:36 am

  2. Yes Darryl. All clothed. Thanks for asking.


    Comment by Steve — April 5, 2016 @ 6:05 am

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