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Meet the 2021 Youth Theology Institute Mentors

Each year the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute (AYTI) hires a handful of college students to be leaders for the upcoming summer institute. With the goal of developing a campus wide student leadership culture, AYTI collaborated with other organizations on campus to develop an application, interview, and training process for students interested in working leadership positions on campus. This was such a powerful witness to the ways in which Augsburg’s mission is lived out in our community.

AYTI Mentors joined Orientation Leaders, Strommen Center Peer Advisors, AugSem Leaders, and more in a semester long class for credit that served as their leadership training for their job as AYTI Mentors. In this course all students worked to develop knowledge and skills utilizing the Social Change Model of Leadership Development. This model helps students understand their individual values (consciousness of self, congruence, and commitment), the values of the group (collaboration, common purpose, and controversy with civility), and societal and community values. The class training also focused on topics such as identity, intersectionality, anti-racism and dismantling white supremacy, brave space, disability as difference, and becoming interfaith allies. All students were able to complete the Intercultural Development Inventory and reflect on the ways in which they show up as leaders in all spaces and places.

AYTI Mentors will build on this leadership training to create and lead devotions, facilitate small groups, engage in learning sessions with participants, and help lead worship with high school students as they engage in theological exploration during the 2021 institute.

We are very much looking forward to this summer’s youth theology institute and the theme, “AND IT WAS VERY GOOD: Affirming and Advocating for Sexual and Gender Diversity in God’s Creation”. You can learn about the 2021 theme on our website here. In the meantime, join us in welcoming this year’s student leaders for the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute!


CARLI VINCENT

Mentor Carli

Name, Pronouns, Year at Augsburg, Major/Minor

Carli Vincent (they/them/theirs) 1st year, Biochemistry major

What do you love about Augsburg?

The thing that I love most about Augsburg is that it is a small close-knit community in a big city. As someone who grew up in a small town, I really appreciate the smaller campus and class sizes while getting to reside in the heart of Minneapolis. Even after one year of primarily online classes I have been able to make connections with teachers and classmates. I have also been able to find a solid community of friends despite the pandemic.

Why are you excited to be an AYTI Mentor?

I am super excited to be an AYTI mentor this summer because I am so jazzed about this year’s theme as it’s near and dear to my heart. I also attended AYTI as a participant when I was in high school, and it was super formative in my faith journey.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I spend a lot of my free time learning random skills, playing video games, camping, and spending time with my family and friends. I like to play music on the tuba, trumpet, guitar, or ukulele.

Favorite bible verse and why?

John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” This is my favorite bible verse because it’s the shortest verse in the bible and it’s one of the most powerful for me. Even though Jesus knew that Lazarus would live again he still felt the pain of losing a friend. This lets me know that even if I know something will work out, it’s okay to feel pain, anger, and or sadness in that moment.


LORPU SUMO

Mentor Lorpu

Name, Pronouns, Year at Augsburg, Major/Minor

My name is Lorpu Nueka Sum (she/her/hers), I am a first year student, my major is Computer Science.

What do you love about Augsburg?

Something that I love about Augsburg is how supportive the community is. The staff and teachers are always there whenever you need them. Coming to Augsburg is one of the

few best decisions that I have ever made in my life so far.

Why are you excited to be an AYTI Mentor?

I am really excited about being an AYTI Mentor this summer. I am excited to meet new people and come together as a community to grow in our faith and build a positive bond.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Somethings that I like to do in my free time are: reading, long walks, biking, or listening to music. Sometimes I watch movies and sleep.

Favorite bible verse and why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite Bible verse, but growing up, I have always loved Psalm 23:1-6. I loved it because it is the longest bible verse that I can remember without opening the Bible, and it also gives me comfort when I am reading it.


BRE ROSEMAN

Mentor Bre

Name, Pronouns, Year at Augsburg, Major/Minor

Bre Roseman (she/her/hers), 3rd year Junior, Management Information Systems doubled with Economics

What do you love about Augsburg?

I love that the Augsburg community is diverse in cultures. I also liked that the school is small, so it’s easier to get to classes and that there aren’t a ton of people here and that the class sizes are super small compared to other schools.

Why are you excited to be an AYTI Mentor?

I’m excited to be a mentor this year because I want to help other individuals find where they fit in the bible and even learn to trust the church again. I want others to know that just because they had a bad experience with church doesn’t mean all churches are that way.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I like painting, drawing, reading, and singing. I also enjoy doing more spiritual things like tarot readings for my friends too.

Favorite bible verse and why?

My favorite bible verse would be Psalm 31: 3-5 because it reminds that even in the dark times when it seems like everything is against you, you can run to the Lord, for they will protect you.


AARON PUENT

Mentor Aaron

Name, Pronouns, Year at Augsburg, Major/Minor

Aaron Puent (he/him/his), Sophomore, Religion major

What do you love about Augsburg?

The entire reason I came to Augsburg is because I wanted a small, close knit community.  Add the big city around us, and I feel like there are no limits as to what I can do.  The campus is easy to navigate, and it doesn’t take too long to get from place to place.

Why are you excited to be an AYTI Mentor?

I am excited to get to know how other people live their own faiths, especially in the different forms of worship.  I also think this is an important theme for people to discuss, and working through this with fellow students should prove to add to my own theological understanding.

What do you like to do in your free time?

If it is nice outside, you can be sure to find me out running or playing tennis (but I love all racquet sports and will never turn down a challenge at ping pong).  I enjoy hiking and biking as well.  On a rainy day, I like to do some creative writing or crossword puzzles.

Favorite bible verse and why?

One of the most important Bible verses to me is John 13:34, in which Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so that you also should love one another.”  This can be found in other places in the Bible, but I find it central to my personal theology.  Jesus showed love to people regardless of their actions and personalities because they were people created in God’s image.  Therefore, I should do the same.


GRACE PORTER

Mentor Grace

Name, Pronouns, Year at Augsburg, Major/Minor

Grace Porter (she/her/hers), 4th year, Theology and Public Leadership with a concentration in Youth Studies, Minor in Music

What do you love about Augsburg?

I love so many things about Augsburg, but the main thing is that it feels like home and that everyone feels like family. I was really able to find my place doing the things that I love, and it was so amazing to find people who also loved those things! I have also created personal relationships with faculty and staff, they are people who are welcoming and loving and are wanting to know you on a personal level.

Why are you excited to be an AYTI Mentor?

I am excited to be an AYTI Mentor for my third year because I love AYTI! I love learning and growing in relationship with the many amazing young people who attend, they are so passionate and have a need for this community, just like I did. I love being apart of a program that encourages young people to follow their passions, and teaches them that they are important right now, even though they may feel insignificant.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

In my free time I like to spend time outside and with the people that I love. That has been tough during COVID, so I also watched a lot of Netflix and did a lot of crafting and coloring during my time inside. I also love music, and spend a lot of time with my voice, and guitar, ukulele, or piano!

Favorite bible verse and why?

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 46:5 “God is within her, she will not fall. God will help her at the break of day.” I even have it tattooed on my arm! This verse reminds me that no matter what I am going through in my life, God is always within me, giving me strength when I feel like I have nothing left to give.


RENEE CHRISTENSEN

Mentor Renee

Name, Pronouns, Year at Augsburg, Major/Minor

Hello! My name is Renee Christensen (she/her/hers). I am finishing up my 2nd year at Augsburg, double majoring in Clinical Psychology and Theology and Public Leadership, which is a really long way of saying I’m incredibly passionate about mental illness and religion!

What do you love about Augsburg?

There are SO many things that I love about Augsburg. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I really saw and experienced how the Augsburg community came together. We found ways to connect. The professors were so lenient as we all figured out this new world that was our college experience. I mentioned this earlier, but I also LOVE the community that has been built at Augsburg. The faculty, staff, professors, and students make this community feel like home.

Why are you excited to be an AYTI Mentor?

I was a 2018 participant at AYTI and it’s actually the reason I came to Augsburg! I am SO excited to be a mentor this year because I love seeing young people grow and develop into who they are. My experience at AYTI as a participant really shaped my life and my faith. I hope that I can be a part of someone’s journey as they discover who they are.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

In my free time, I love spending time outdoors, spending time with my family, reading, singing, and cuddling with my cats! When I’m not at Augsburg, you’ll most likely find me curled up with my cats and a good book!

Favorite bible verse and why?

My favorite bible verse changes day to day! However, my all time favorite would have to be Joshua 1:9 “ Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. The Lord, your God is with you”. I find strength in this verse because it’s a great reminder that even if you feel alone, God is walking beside you. It’s definitely not easy, at times it feels impossible, but this verse is a great reminder for me.

Join Us This Summer

 

Augsburg Student Reflects on the Youth Theology Institute

Grace’s Journey

Augsburg student Grace smiling in a field
Grace Porter, 4th year Augsburg student

This story has been written by Grace Porter, a 4th year Augsburg student studying Theology & Public Leadership with a concentration in Youth Studies and a minor in Music. Grace will graduate in December 2021. 

I had just finished my junior year in high school, and I was starting to think about my future when I discovered that my love for God and my passion for working with young people could be an actual job! My youth pastor at the time said to me, “I have a friend at Augsburg College who runs a summer theology program for high schoolers, you should check that out!” From the moment I stepped foot onto the Augsburg campus, I knew that this place was special.

So in the summer of 2016, I found myself at the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute (AYTI), about to spend a week on Augsburg’s campus learning about theology with other young people who were also asking deep questions and yearning for ways to find the answers. That year the theme was “God’s Mosaic; Diversity as Good News.” Throughout the week we explored sociological theories, biblical narratives, and theological frameworks that help us see, appreciate, engage and celebrate the beauty of diversity in God’s world. I ate new foods, I worshiped in new ways, and I met people I otherwise would have never known. I even wrote a paper that was published in a journal about womanism – a theology that I would have never thought to explore before attending AYTI. My experience at AYTI changed my life by helping me realize that my faith is important for the world today.

Participant to Student

Through AYTI, I discovered that Augsburg would be the place to best help me continue to grow. I started as a first year student at Augsburg in fall 2018 as a Theology and Public Leadership major with a concentration in Youth Studies. Professor Jeremy Myers, a director of AYTI, quickly reached out to me to offer a friendly face in the newness of college and suggested that I should apply to work as a student assistant for AYTI during the school year. It has now been three years of working in that job, two summers (going on a 3rd) of being an AYTI mentor, and countless dad jokes from Jeremy. Yet again, my life was changed by AYTI.

Student to Mentor

Summer 2021 is about to be my 3rd summer as a mentor for AYTI. As a mentor, not only do I get to work with young people who have profound questions and thoughts, but I also get to continue to learn about theology in the world and grow in my faith. Each year dives deep into a specific theme, like creation care theology or the call for the voices of young people. This year, the theme is “And It Was Very Good: Affirming and Advocating for Gender and Sexual Diversity in God’s Creation,” where we will dig into scripture, learn about church history, and discover tools for faithful advocacy that allows LGBTQIA+ people to be full members of society.

Mentor to Faith Leader

Wow! A whole week dedicated to affirming the LGBTQIA+ community in Christ and learning how to be better advocates while also exploring the theology of God’s beautiful creation. As someone who grew up in a Lutheran community, I have always been taught the power of God’s love and how to be a loving neighbor, and yet being queer wasn’t something that my church was very open about. Once I got to Augsburg, I was once again in a loving community, but a community that celebrated every aspect of God’s creation. I realized that living authentically into my full self is the best way to share God’s love and represent Christ in all that I do. Being bisexual doesn’t define all of who I am, but hiding that part of myself away was hiding a beautiful part of myself that God had created for good. And now I am prepared and called to be a leader for young people as they discover who God is calling them to be.

The Institute this year offers the unique opportunity for more young people to grow into their full selves while advocating for those in the LGBTQIA+ community and build confidence in their faith at the same time. It will give them a community of other students who are learning alongside them and mentors who can help them flourish. It creates a brave space for learning and advocacy while also giving time for community and just being yourself.

AYTI changed my life – will it change yours too?

Apply Now

Book Launch: Made, Known, Loved by Ross Murray

CCV Endorsement for Author and Alumni Ross Murray

We are thrilled to endorse Ross Murray’s brand new book, Made, Known, Loved: developing LGBTQ-Inclusive Youth Ministry, available on April 20th on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble.

Made, Known, Loved book cover by Ross Murray

Made, Known, Loved shows congregations how to create a program that affirms LGBTQ youth in their faith and their identity, accepts and welcomes diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and equips future leaders for the church and the LGBTQ community. This book is filled with personal anecdotes of successes, failures, and important learnings. You will learn from Murray’s twenty years of experience doing ministry with LGBTQ youth through The Naming Project.

This book is not LGBTQ apologetics for the Christian crowd. You won’t hear an explanation of Leviticus 18. Instead, you will read scripture passages as it supports a new way to view and include LGBTQ youth in your youth ministry.

This book is not for you if you are still deciding if LGBTQ people are made, known, and loved by God, just as they are. This is for those who recognize the beautiful creation LGBTQ people and how best to minister to them while they are still in the identity-formation stage.

So many influencers and faith leaders have reviewed this fantastic book, including our very own CCV Executive Director and Religion Professor, Dr. Jeremy Myers, saying this book will “expand your congregation’s proclamation of Christ’s good news.”

Ross Teaches at Summer 2021 Augsburg Youth Theology Institute

We are thrilled to welcome Deacon Ross Murray as the instructor the for 2021 Augsburg Youth Theology Institute. He will invite young people into theological conversations about one big question, “what is the rightful place for LGBTQ people in God’s creation”

After decades of fights over human sexuality, LGBTQ people, gender, and gender roles, the church is moving to a place of acceptance, and even advocacy. This year at the institute we are going to look at the role of LGBTQ people in scripture, in our church history, and the faithful advocacy to allow LGBTQ people to be full members of society. We are looking at the events of the past several years through a theological lens, asking what God is doing, and where our discernment can lead us.

We are so excited to announce that every nominator for this year’s Augsburg Youth Theology Institute will receive a copy of Made, Known, Loved. Applications (youth) and nominations(adult mentors) are due on Friday, April 30th, 2021. Questions can be sent to: ayti@augsburg.edu

Apply Now
Headshot of Ross Murray
Author: Ross Murray

About Deacon Ross Murray

Deacon Ross Murray is founding director of The Naming Project, a faith-based camp for LGBTQ youth and their allies. He is Senior Director of Education and Training at The GLAAD Media Institute, a producer for the “Yass, Jesus!” podcast, and an ordained deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, called to advocate for LGBTQ people and to provide a bridge between LGBTQ and faith communities.

Lord In Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We invite you to pause. Gently hold space for the hurt and pain at work in our lives and that of our neighbors, including the news of another tragedy that another young black man’s life has been cut short at the hand of a police officer in Brooklyn Center, MN. Kristina Fruge, Managing Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation, preaches the gospel in the midst of the bad news. Preaching is a call to proclaim the gospel, good news. And Kristina shares in community struggle to begin to imagine what word of good news can be offered in the midst of bad news.

 

“Good news must be both contextually relevant and powerful enough to push back on that which is causing harm. As a Christian, I would claim that the good news is always Jesus. Jesus will look, sound, taste, and feel different depending the particular forms of hurt, pain, and brokenness at work in our lives or that of our neighbors.”

 

Kristina uses two metaphors, in the form of poetry and art, to tell and share good news in the midst of pain. One of those poems talks about a mother’s womb-like love. She says that “there’s a fierce and unshakeable love to this womb-like mother’s love. A mother’s cry of love for her child, and a mother’s cry of despair of love for her child swells up from the same place. And whether you are a mother or not, you know this cry. It has been echoing throughout our city and communities everywhere for far too long.” Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You are invited to watch the Chapel service from April 13th, 2021. Kristina’s 13 minute message begins at the 8:00 minute mark and ends at the 21:00 minute mark.

 

2020-2021 Christensen Scholars


Branwen Jorenby ’23

Major: Biology, Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Prior Lake, MN

branwen smiling in field

 

Being a Christensen Scholar is an amazing experience! As someone who is not religious but grew up in a Lutheran setting, participating in this program has challenged me to fully dive into questioning my own spiritual beliefs in multiple thought-provoking readings and conversations with my peers. Engaging in Augsburg Health Commons as a volunteer through this program has allowed me to see health and humanity in a new light that I will bring into the care plans of my future patients.

 


Tofunmi Oteju ’21

Major: Biology
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

tofunmi smilingI have always been fascinated with Interfaith work and how our various beliefs intersect, with the sole purpose of maintaining some sort or unity between our different faith and non-faith traditions. I was able to explore my curiosity by being part of the 2019-2020 Interfaith Cohort. There I explored the religious diversity at Augsburg and the wider Twin Cities but also put on events that explore this diversity as it relates to various facets of our everyday lives (e.g. Faith and Science, Faith and Death). A revelation I had being an Interfaith Scholar, was that there is still so much work that has to be done within our various faith traditions. Currently, there is still not enough unity and understanding between different Christian denominations. Being an international student from Nigeria, I was not as exposed to the various protestant denominations till I started school at Augsburg. I was not even aware we had a wide variety of denominations within Protestantism. I was only familiar with mainly Catholicism and Pentecostalism (which I practice). Coming to a school built on the values of Lutheranism forced me to explore more denominations.
Being in the Christensen Scholars program has been a great way to cumulate my learning of the various ways of being a Christian.

 


 

Erik Garcia Gonzaga

Major: Communication Studies
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

erik leaning against rockMy name is Erik Garcia Gonzaga, born in Morelos, Mexico and raised here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am a student at Augsburg University studying Communication Studies. What I want to do with that major is to be in places where I can inspire and motivate teens and young adults to follow their career and educational goals.

 


Sarah Dorr ’21

Continue reading “2020-2021 Christensen Scholars”

Transformed by the Public Church Framework: Trinity Lutheran Congregation

Today’s post comes from Pastor Liesl Spitz. She served as Intern Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Congregation from 2017 to 2019 and is currently one of the pastors at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in St. Paul. 

This blog is one in a of a series of stories of transformation from our congregational learning partners, which illustrate the larger story of our project and learning partnerships as we begin to promote another learning partnership opportunity


overhead image of cheese pizzaI stop by Domino’s on my way to church. It’s Friday night at 9pm. When I get there I meet one of our young adults, and we walk to the corner of Cedar and Riverside. A plastic table is already set up with a kettle of tea and a warming bag to hold the pizzas. Just cheese, no meat, Abdi told us when we offered to bring them. It’s what the guys prefer.

Abdi Mukhtar is the founder of Daryeel Youth. Daryeel means “care” in Somali. Each Friday night, even in the coldest winter, Abdi shares chai tea and pizza with young men in our neighborhood who are most vulnerable to drug use and violence. Weekend nights at the corner of Cedar and Riverside is where Abdi had seen the most harm. So weekend nights at that corner is where he sets up.

Abdi knows everyone that night. Not just by face and name, but by their backs, a full block away. He calls out greetings, offers a slice to a passerby or a whole box for a group of friends. He is here to build trust. With him is a crisis counselor, who talks with the young men who stop at the table. He hands out his contact information along with refills of tea.

I ask Abdi more than once if our presence as guests is going to deter the guys from coming by. And he tells me, more than once, that we are welcome. Neighbors joining Daryeel to hand out pizza is a sign that we stand together, he says. It’s a sign that we care.

two white paper cups with wooden stir sticksTrinity Lutheran Congregation is the only remaining Christian community in the largely Muslim, largely East African Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. By virtue of its surroundings, almost everything Trinity does is interfaith (except on Sunday mornings). We take joy in being part of the neighborhood.

I had met Abdi through various community events and meetings in my first year at Trinity. Pastor Jane knew him well as a leader committed to the neighborhood. But when the Riverside Innovation Hub (RIH) invited Trinity’s young adults to listen again with care, we heard Abdi’s story with new ears.

The public church framework, as shared by RIH, led our young adults through a careful process. We identified listening posts and asked questions in our community and within our congregation (“What are the hopes and joys in this place, what are the sorrows?”). We discerned with the help of our innovation coach and color-coded sticky notes (“What are the overlaps, where are the gaps?”). Data turned into themes, themes turned into stories, and stories turned into partnership (and pizza).

The public church process helped Trinity grow not by offering fixes or changes to our ministry, but by helping us to listen with new ears, and with greater intention, to our neighbors. Getting our heads into public church meant living more fully into the gifts that God has already given us, and into the place where God has planted us.

The Art of Public Ministry

This video is the second of two introducing you to the work of the Riverside Innovation Hub which is an initiative of Augsburg University’s Christensen Center for Vocation. You can see the first video and blog post here.

At Augsburg University, we are convening learning communities of congregations and ministry leaders to explore new ways of being engaged in their contexts that create opportunities for the mutual sharing of good news with our neighbors.

We call this place-based vocational discernment in the common square for the common good. It is place-based because location matters. You do not need to travel far and wide to find your neighbor, suffering, or resurrection. They are happening all around you. Be committed to those things in your location. It is vocational discernment because we wonder together how God might be calling us to show up in this location to participate in good news. It is in the public square because this work of discernment must happen in relationship with our neighbors. We can no longer decide our congregation’s mission in a church board room behind closed doors. It is for the common good because it is more important that we invest in the thriving of our neighbors and our neighborhoods than our congregations.

We approach this work through a framework we call the Public Church Framework. It is not the only way to do this work, but we have found it a helpful way to frame the work. It is a framework because it is only a structure, like a bare Christmas tree, you and your congregation will embellish this bare structure with your own unique practices and ways of doing this work in your context.

The previous video introduced to the theoretical and theological foundations of this framework. This video, which is about 45 minutes long and will introduce you to the artforms of the Public Church Framework. The word “artform” is used intentionally to communicate the dynamic and various ways we all implement and practice these artforms. We have included a PDF of the PowerPoint slides so you can take notes as you watch the presentation. Please contact us if you have questions or would like a follow-up conversation.

Introducing the CCV and AYTI Student Workers

Renee Christensen

She/Her/Her’s

Renee smiling against wallHi! My name is Renee Christensen, and I am from Shafer, MN. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I am a second year double majoring in Clinical Psychology and Theology and Public Leadership. I was an AYTI participant in 2018 and fell in love with Augsburg! Outside of my work with AYTI, I work closely with the Campus Ministry staff and serve as the Augsburg University Student Ministries Secretary. When I’m home, you’ll usually find me curled up with a good book, being outdoors, or snuggling with my cats.

 

Grace Porter

She/Her/Her’s

Grace walking outsideI am Grace Porter, she/her/hers, from Eden Prairie. I will be graduating in Fall 2021 with a Theology and Public Leadership major, concentration in youth studies, and Music minor. As someone who wants to work in the church, and change what that looks like (especially for youth), Augsburg was the no-brainer school to go to. I knew I could get an education that emphasized God’s love for everyone and God’s wish for God’s people to work for justice in the world! And now, as I am entering my fourth year, I know that is exactly what I have gotten. Through Christensen Scholars, the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute, Campus Ministries, and so much more, Augsburg has been a wonderful home and learning community for me.

 

Erica nondi

She/Her/Her’s

erica smiling selfieHabari! (Hello!). My name is Erica Nondi and I am in my senior year of my Business Management degree, and I have worked as the CCV student worker for 2 years. I was born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, and I started my undergrad at a small music school in St Paul, but eventually found my passion for business studies at Augsburg University. I have gained communication and organizational skills while working on administrative tasks to help the CCV team with various projects, and it has been a wonderful experience. My hobbies include singing, cooking traditional Kenyan food, swimming and snowmobiling.

The Foundations for a Public Church

This video introduces you to the work of the Riverside Innovation Hub which is an initiative of Augsburg University’s Christensen Center for Vocation. The video is about 60 minutes long. It is the first video of a two part series. This video covers the foundations upon which our work is built. The second video explains the process we use to do this work. This blog will give you some context for the video.

At Augsburg University, we are very committed to the theological concept of vocation in which Christ frees and empowers each person to be co-creators with God in the work of healing creation. Or, in a nutshell, Christ frees us to participate in our neighbors thriving.

This freedom is a collective freedom and a personal freedom. Personal, yes but never private. Therefore, we want to help congregations identify and live into their collective vocation in their particular context so individuals might learn to do the same with their own personal vocations in their own personal contexts. We call this place-based vocational discernment in the common square for the common good. It is place-based because location matters. You do not need to travel far and wide to find your neighbor, suffering, or resurrection. They are happening all around you. Be committed to those things in your location. It is vocational discernment because we wonder together how God might be calling us to show up in this location to participate in good news. It is in the public square because this work of discernment must happen in relationship with our neighbors. We can no longer decide our congregation’s mission in a church board room behind closed doors. It is for the common good because it is more important that we invest in the thriving of our neighbors and our neighborhoods than our congregations.

We approach this work through a framework we call the Public Church Framework. It is not the only way to do this work, but we have found it a helpful way to frame the work. It is a framework because it is only a structure, like a bare Christmas tree, you and your congregation will embellish this bare structure with your own unique practices and ways of doing this work in your context.

This video is about 60 minutes long and will introduce you to the foundations this framework is built upon. We will be posting a second video which will walk you through the process of the Public Church Framework. We have included a PDF of the PowerPoint slides so you can take notes as you watch the presentation. Please contact us if you have questions or would like a follow-up conversation.

 

Q & A Sessions for AYTI

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT AYTI?

  • Do you have questions about the 2021 AYTI theme?
  • Are you curious about what worship and devotions are like?
  • Do you wonder what youth might be a good fit to participate?
  • Are you wondering how participants will engage thoughtfully in the virtual platform?

We invite you to join one of the two upcoming virtual Q&A sessions on Zoom that will give you a chance to hear from staff and college mentors about the 2021 AYTI experience. This is your chance to ask questions on the general information about the institute, celebrate the  possibilities of the virtual platform, and learn more about theme content so that you can nominate students who will thrive at this year’s Institute!

These sessions will be held on Friday, March 5th, from 10-11am CST; and Tuesday, March 9th from 4-5pm CST. Please sign up using this form to receive the zoom link!