What is Education Beyond the Walls?
Education Beyond the Walls (EBW) is the outward-looking educational face of Austin Seminary, providing lifelong learning and fresh, innovative, and expansive theological education for clergy, church leaders, congregations, and communities. Established in 2011, EBW sits at the intersection of church and academy, and draws upon the deep resources of both to craft creative responses to emerging needs of church leaders.
The days when schools of theology can function solely in a receptive mode are over; that is, no seminary can serve the church most fully and faithfully only by taking in people with a call to ministry and providing them with a classical education. Austin Seminary recognizes this need for a more expansive mission. As a school of the church, we seek to meet people called to ministry where they are, in their own journeys; and we invite them into communities of learning that will support their flourishing, as leaders of the church and as disciples of Jesus Christ. Many learners are formed explicitly and excellently through our degree programs (masters and doctoral levels) and the Certificate in Ministry. Other learners gather in settings beyond the degree-granting specifications of seminary curricula.
Currently, EBW offers a range of opportunities for formation and learning:
Learning Communities for Practicing Clergy
- The College of Pastoral Leaders offers financial support in the way of grants to self-selected groups of pastors so that they may pursue their own self-designed program for renewal, vitality, and pastoral excellence
- Revaluing Money provides a deep dive into issues relating to money, possessions, and practical theology in a three-retreat experience for a cohort of pastors who are accepted to participate.
Short Courses for Practitioners
For pastors and other leaders
- Christian Education events are offered each fall and spring.
- Emerging Issues in Leadership are addressed each year. Topics have included bi-vocational ministry, storytelling as mission outreach, and developing diverse cultural capacities.
- Targeted Populations is a new effort, recently launched with an event for women preachers with more than five years of experience.
One Day Intensives
For pastors and other leaders
- Crossing the Border, a ongoing program, provides a day of Scripture, theology, and reflection led by prominent Hispanic professors to focus on the experience of Hispanic and Latina/o people in the Southwest.
- Worship is the focus of one intensive each fall and each spring.
- Innovative practitioners present a variety of topics, includes art, biblical storytelling, and other creative explorations.
EBW draws resources not only from the Austin Seminary faculty, but also from outside the seminary community. We currently have partnerships with SCRAPCE (South Central Region of the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators), the Association of Presbyterian Tentmakers, Seminary of the Southwest, Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, The University of Texas Office of Disability Studies, and The University of Texas School of Social Work Office of Continuing Education.