Old Brethren Courses

Jesus synthesized his teachings into two commandments.  Love God with your heart, mind, and soul and your neighbor as yourself.  (Matthew 22:37-39) Healthy conversation creates a safe space for individuals and congregations to learn how to fulfill these teachings.

During this class students will explore: what it means to pray without ceasing, what the Bible says about healthy conversation, the technical details needed to create safe spaces (including optional live calls with the instructor), how we get in the way of our relationship with God, and how healthy conversations can help congregations thrive.

As a result, students will gain a deeper theological basis for healthy conversations as well as the practical tools, skills, and experience needed to encourage spiritual growth within their ministry context.


The Church of the Brethren has long held that it has “no creed save the New Testament.” Yet the New Testament itself is a collection of books and letters of a wide range of genres, none of which resemble a traditional creed. In this course, we will look at the various books of the New Testament, explore the world which created these texts, and look at how the texts may have interacted both with each other and the Hebrew Scriptures. We will look at what the ancient authors of the texts might have been trying to say to their audiences as well as what they are still saying today.

During the course, we will work through a textbook as well as most of the text of the New Testament. There may be supplementary readings as well. We will discuss the readings in the class forums, starting with prompts from the instructor. At the end of the course, you will turn in a project, though the forum of the project is up to the student. It can be a sermon, adult lesson plan, a traditional research paper, or another project.

Jesus commissioned his disciples to go, make, and teachdisciples (Matthew 28:19-20a). The church’s educational ministry plays anessential role in its efforts to fulfill the Great Commission, facilitating thelifelong trans/formation of faith.

During this course, we will explore:

·  the importance of educational ministry;

·  the ways in which the church carries out thisministry in both formal and informal ways;

·  the variety of ways in which people learn and grow;and

·  the particularities of engaging in educationalministry with people across the lifespan.

As a result, students will take away both an enrichedtheoretical understanding of the church’s educational ministry as well asenhanced practical skills for teaching and learning within the faith community.

What do Brethren believe? How do these beliefs translate into practice? This course will answer these questions and others by exploring Brethren beliefs related to a variety of issues, including Scripture, the person of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the nature of the church, original sin, and the endtimes. We will discuss how these beliefs shape our understanding of Brethren ordinances, such as baptism, Love Feast, anointing, nonresistance, and nonconformity. Particular attention will be paid to the Pietist and Anabaptist origins of Brethren beliefs. The course will also examine how these beliefs and practices have changed over time and consider the diversity of beliefs found among Brethren today.

Participants in this course will explore the theology and structure of worship as expressed in the free church

tradition. We will identify “ground rules” for making corporate worship meaningful, explore a variety of worship

styles, emphasize inclusion of all ages in worship, experiment with ways to use music and visual arts, & write

prayers and other spoken resources.