About this event
This event is brought to you by the department of Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary
This online cohort will meet on four consecutive Thursday afternoons (Oct 7 – Oct 28) from 3 – 4:30 p.m. eastern.
In 1971 Karl Rahner wrote, “The devout Christian of the future will either be a ‘mystic,’ one who has ‘experienced’ something, or he will cease to be anything at all.” If Rahner’s words still hold true fifty years later, then the church leader must develop the spirituality of their congregants. In this course, we will discuss how leaders can strengthen the spiritual vitality of their congregations and explore the limits and possibilities of congregational spiritual development. We will also evaluate spiritual direction methods for use in parishes and develop thoughtful, biblically-supported tools that can be immediately implemented in your ministry context. In preparation for each meeting, participants will read selected articles and view a short asynchronous recorded lecture (about 30 minutes). Weekly synchronous class time will be devoted to class discussion. Weekly online one-on-one coaching will also be available using the Marco Polo app.
In this four-week online learning cohort, we will cover the following topics:
- The role of leaders in developing a congregation’s spiritual vitality
- Spiritual direction through preaching, the eucharist, joyful singing, and children’s faith formation
- Managing spiritual development with difficult members
- Prayer and study as the foundation for deepening the spirituality of the congregation
Robert D. Flanagan is an adjunct professor of Christian Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry at General Theological Seminary where he teaches a Masters level course in Congregational Spiritual Direction and an interim priest in the Diocese of New York. He earned his M.Div. and D.Min. at VTS and was ordained in 2003. Bob is an author of several devotionals and is currently writing The Letters of an Unexpected Mystic: Uncovering the Mystical Theology in 1 and 2 Peter (Wipf & Stock. 2022). He was also the Spring 2021 VTS Dean’s Scholar. Bob is also a frequent speaker and preacher on congregational leadership, mental health and suicide prevention, and Christian mysticism.