OCT 14-15, 2011 JIN S. KIM, JIM GOODMAN, PAUL & THAO HOANG, JOHN NELSON While the nurture of a local congregation, seminary education, and the denominational call process may have been sufficient for pastoral formation and training in the past, it is becoming apparent that this combination is insufficient to form pastors who are equipped to meet the needs of today’s church. The problem is that pastoral candidates are still being trained in a way that assumes that there are stable institutions to receive them if they are equipped with the right knowledge, practical skills, and time-tested techniques. In a globalizing world, however, we are faced with an increasingly interconnected future that cannot be predicted nor controlled, leaving social bonds and institutions in a state of flux. This especially affects our young people, who are leaving the church in alarming numbers as they struggle with the following needs:
- Our young people are searching for their vocation. They are educated enough for a job or career in the present order, but are desperately searching for a calling that inspires.
- Our young people hunger for healthy relationships, to meaningfully and deeply relate to another human being (half grew up in divorced or single parent homes, and others in dysfunctional households).
- Our young people are seeking Christian community that functions like a diverse yet intimate family as they are plagued with loneliness, isolation and alienation.
- Our young people are looking for stability in a highly mobile world, and concreteness in an increasingly virtual and socially networked existence.
- Our young people desire authentic faith. They are prone to agnosticism or even raw atheism as they see little evidence of a God that makes a difference in the religious institutions of the day, namely the local church.
How do we prepare future pastors to respond to these pressing needs when they are dealing with the same issues in their own lives? Will there be a church to lead in the future if young pastors do not learn to build Christian community in the midst of shifting and declining institutions? What do discipleship, preaching, authority, theological reflection and communal life together look like in a globalized church and society? These are issues that we struggle with in our Parish Resident Internship Program at Church of All Nations, a midsized family-like PC(USA) congregation with people from over 25 nations, no ethnic majority, and significant socio-economic, theological and generational diversity. Here, like the world that we now live in, there is little knowledge or experience that can be assumed, no “how to” manual for making life together run smoothly, and certainly no roadmap for the future. As a result, we have had to take on seminary graduates to prepare them to live, lead and relate confidently in the midst of tension and ambiguity without seeking easy resolve or grasping for certainty and security. This has meant refounding the basis of their authority from academic degrees, ordination or leadership gifts to the ancient Christian virtues of faith, hope and love. In our experience, it is the nurturing of Christian character that equips them to respond adaptively, lead with conviction and learn anew as the Spirit leads, making them compelling examples for others to follow. We invite you to join us as we share lessons learned in our successes and failures through our own pastoral internship program, while we all dialogue, share stories, and reimagine together possibilities for 21st century pastoral formation. How might intensive communal living through local congregations, in tandem with active pastoral mentoring, serve as a crucible to shape and form future leaders to live confidently in the tension of faith that our changing local and global realities require? Speakers/Leaders
- Jin S. Kim, Founding Pastor & Head of Staff of Church of All Nations, Minneapolis, MN; PCUSA/GAMC Field Staff for Korean English Ministry; adjunct faculty at Dubuque Seminary
- Jim Goodmann, Director of Congregational Grants, The Fund for Theological Education
- Paul & Thao Hoang, Associate Pastor for English Ministry (ALIVE) at Young Nak Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX
- Joo Kim, Designated Pastor at Knox Presbyterian Church, St. Paul, MN
- Jeremiah Knabe, Associate Pastor for Youth/Young Adults at Christ Presbyterian Church, Carlsbad, CA
- John Nelson, Coordinator of Internship Program at Church of All Nations
- Welcome and Introduction by Jim Goodman – not recorded
- By Their Fruits: Pastoral Authority in a Post-Denominational Age by Jin S. Kim – not recorded
- Lessons Learned in a First Call: Challenges and Surprises in Building Christian Community by Paul & Thao Hoang, Joo Kim and Jeremiah Kanabe
- Sermon & Testimony by Jermaine Ross and Hikari Nakane
- Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves: Reimagining Pastoral Formation and Education in a Postmodern World by Jin S. Kim and John Nelson