Date: July 24, 2023
When a stranger asks me, “What do you do?” my short-form response is that I teach and serve as a senior administrator at a small graduate school. If their curiosity is piqued, I continue with “a denominational seminary that prepares people for leadership in the church.” When they are genuinely interested the next question is inevitably, “what do you teach?” I’ve learned to cut to the chase, “I am a practical theologian which means I care deeply about how people live in daily life. I teach courses about being Christian, and how to equip people of all ages to be faithful, from Sunday to Saturday.” Then I invite them to visit the Department of Lifelong Learning landing page on their phone, and I highlight the research we do and the programming we offer that best aligns with what I have discerned to be my conversation partner’s interests. Remarkably, I often watch as my airplane or Amtrak seatmate subscribes to our newsletter or sends the Building Faith or TryTank link to someone they know.
The mission of the Department of Lifelong Learning is to connect, nurture and highlight communities of faithful practice. We offer onsite, online, and on-demand courses, conferences, mentoring, networking, weekly online office hours, and frequent webinars. A gifted team does this work year-round by curating and creating theologically, developmentally, and culturally sound content and practices for ministry leaders across a changing church. This week you will hear from some of our team members about the passion-driven and impactful work they’re doing in their various contexts. We are looking forward to sharing some important announcements with our community this summer! While for many July means vacation, in the Church it is also the season after Pentecost during which we are being formed to carry out God’s mission as Christ’s body on earth, a time to grow. It is our joy in Lifelong Learning to offer you bread for the journey.
Lisa Kimball, Ph.D.
Vice President, Life Long Learning
James Maxwell Professor of Lifelong Christian Formation