Full List of Online Courses
The following courses are offered on a rotating basis online. Most of these courses are also offered on campus. For a list of courses being offered this year visit the distance learning homepage
The Church in Mission
The ministries of Jesus, Paul, and the early church in the context of the Roman Empire will provide the foundation for considering wholistic, effective and authentic mission of the church in our globalized and unstable world. During this course, mission themes from Anabaptist theology and ecclesiology, as well as insights from cultural studies and history, will be considered and discussed by the participants who are learning from the local church and their own experiences in mission from a variety of locations around the world. Where appropriate, students will be given research assignments related to their context and complimentary to their ministries. This informed, vigorous, cross-cultural conversation is designed to give participants insight, skills, and motivation for participating in God’s mission through the church in the world with confidence and humility.
Why is there more interest in Anabaptism today than ever before in history? Is it perhaps because many are tired of church as usual? Or, because many realize that in our global community we must learn to live together without violence? Have others been drawn to the embodied discipleship, to the bold witness of the thousands of sixteenth-century Anabaptists who were willing to suffer for their faith? No doubt there are multiple reasons why Christians from various traditions are drawn to Anabaptism. Two theologians are largely responsible for putting Anabaptism on the 21 st Century theological map—John Howard Yoder and Stanley Hauerwas. This course will explore contemporary “Anabaptism” through the writings of these two influential theologians and through those who have been influenced by or are in dialogue with them on various issues.
This course explores the simplicity and complexity of caregiving ministries in both the church and broader community from an Anabaptist missional perspective. Basic skills for caregiving are introduced as well as an examination of the many contextual issues inherent in good pastoral care (culture, method, models, and assumptions). Students will also have the opportunity to engage good self-care practices. The breadth of caregiving will be examined from birth through death with specific attention to major life events and challenges.
New Testament: Text in Context
The New Testament: Text in Context course is a basic introduction to the New Testament. The first part of the course will focus on the world of the New Testament period noting the historical, political, social and cultural setting into which Christ came and the New Testament scriptures were written. The second part of the course is a study of the New Testament itself. Students will read and do inductive study of the various NT books.
Old Testament: Text in Context
This is an introduction to the Old Testament literature. The approach gives major consideration to the ancient Near Eastern context: history, culture and religion. Other considerations include reading the Old Testament as literature and as the authoritative Word of God. Lectures, readings, inductive study questions and class discussion are used.
This course is a study of the emergence and growth of Anabaptist-Mennonites from their origins during the Protestant Reformation to their contemporary presence in many countries around the world. The course gives priority both to Anabaptist origins in the sixteenth century and to developments in North America and around the world during the twentieth century.
Interpreting the Biblical Text
This course is concerned with the question of how biblical authority is made effective in the church today through proper interpretation. Such interpretation attempts both to uncover the inherent meaning of the text and to contextualize that meaning in contemporary life. The course gives attention to reading the biblical texts in their original context while attending to the way interpreters read from the perspective of their own cultural context. Methods are learned that preserve the normativity of Scripture in the process of relevant application to the life of particular cultures.
Prayer in the Christian Tradition
Prayer in the Christian Tradition takes us on a pilgrimage across time and place, and invites our careful attention as we listen in to persons praying within the believing community from Old Testament times to the present. Experience of prayer, class discussion, readings, and course assignments will assist us in our discovery of the formative and transformative nature of the relational dialogue God enters into with us, and we with God.
Mennonite Faith and Polity
This course examines two aspects of Mennonite reality. First, what has it said and what is it saying about what it believes concerning the Christian faith; and second, how it structures itself in the light of those beliefs to carry out its ministry in the world
Ethics and Non-Violence: Sermon on the Mount
This new course in Christian Ethics takes a deep look at Jesus’ teaching and the ethics of the New Testament through the lens of the Sermon on the Mount. Jewish backgrounds of that teaching, resonance in the rest of the Gospels and other parts of the New Testament, and the heritage of its understanding down through the centuries of the Christian church are focal themes of the course. Current applications in understandings of peacemaking at different levels conclude this study. Students will do inductive study of the Gospel texts, some review of Old Testament backgrounds, research on thinkers in Christian history who advanced our understanding of the message, and some evaluation and responses to current practices of peacemaking. The course emphasizes group interaction and direct approaches to the English text of the Scriptures.
Leadership and Administration
This course engages leadership and administration in both traditional and emerging congregations as well as missional involvement in the broader community. Initial attention will focus on the leadership formation of the student from a wholistic perspective. An exploration of biblical and spiritual perspectives will prepare the way for an examination of transformational leadership through both a contextual and cultural lens. Finally, students will have the opportunity to practice and reflect on leadership and administration via the exploration of a variety of specific topics including planning, budgeting, communication, team building, and conflict transformation.
Managing Congregational Change and Conflict
This course will focus on managing conflict in churches. Attention will be given to ecclesiology and theology related to conflict, development of skills for dealing with interpersonal conflicts, managing polarities, teaching communication in the congregation, and intervention skills for addressing deeper, more difficult conflicts in the congregation. The course will be taught with primary attention to the role of pastors, congregational leaders, conference ministers and overseers in managing congregational conflict and creating healthy churches. Class sessions will include lectures, videos, case studies, role plays and sharing of personal experience.
Designed to be taken in conjunction with a mission or service assignment, students in “Cross-Cultural Discipleship” will learn as Jesus’ disciples by participating in the biblical story as they follow Jesus in the world in mission and service. Extensive reading, personal reflections, on-line conversation with others in the class, on-site mentoring, and individual learning projects will enhance this experiential learning.
Students will explore the integrating theme of cross-cultural faith journeys in Scripture, focus on Jesus’ teaching method, agenda and effects, learn with and from Jesus’ disciples in first-century Judea, and from Paul’s successes and failures in the Roman Empire. Discipleship as learning in public, participation in God’s work in the world, sacrificial serving, missional exploration and experimentation, will be encouraged, practiced, facilitated and reflected upon during the course.
The Jesus Movement in the First Century
This course can be taken on-line by anyone, anywhere, or as an intensive three-week seminar in the summer. This course is also offered as a hybrid course for people living in the biblical lands, or as a directed study for anyone traveling to the biblical lands. In all versions, Nazareth Village and the Jesus Trail will be used as primary learning resources for the course. Students will learn about the religious, economic, political and social life within first century Palestine and the missional dynamics of the Jesus Movement within this volatile mixture of peoples.
The Christian Movement in the Mediterranean
This course can be taken online by anyone, anywhere, as a hybrid course, or as an intensive three-week seminar in the ports and on the sea routes of Greece and Turkey. This course will explore how the fledgling Christian Movement exploded westward throughout the major port cities of the Roman Empire, and the ways the early Christians both adapted to the pagan culture and changed it. This a fascinating story, filled with implications for Christians seeking to be effective and faithful in mission in the global empire at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Using the latest scholarship and field research applied primarily to the stories of the dynamic spread of Christianity in Acts, with a focus on Paul, this course will seek to understand this first-century phenomenon that changed the course of history, and relate these insights to the experience and insights from Christians living and witnessing in globalization today.