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Theological Education Sunday

On Sunday, September 20, 2020, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) celebrates Theological Education Sunday. You may celebrate theological education that Sunday or any time that is appropriate for you and your congregation, Presbyterian or not. We offer resources for congregations to incorporate into worship services and Bible studies. They can all be adapted to use in person or virtually, and all can be edited as needed to fit your needs for your congregation (but please give proper credit). 

Bible Study/Sunday School Resources

For elementary age children, we offer this family friendly 12-WEEK CURRICULUM about discipleship. The curriculum developer, Rachel Watson, notes it was “created to meet the Christian formation needs of families with elementary age children during this season where we cannot get together.” Rachel is a senior this year, under care of New Covenant Presbytery. Her fellow students elected her president of the student senate for this academic year. Please note that the curriculum is a PDF file that can be viewed and printed freely, but has been password protected for editing (in order to be compliant with the terms of use for the clip art). 

What sign did the Lord give to the people as a perpetual covenant between the Lord and the people? During the summer, middler student (i.e. 2nd year) Julia Burkley studied for one of her ordination exams, the BIBLE CONTENT EXAM (BCE). Julia is a Presbyterian from Raleigh, North Carolina. She taped this 10-minute video (above) to discuss the importance of the types of questions and why future pastors need to know such details in the bible. The video includes sample questions with time to allow individuals or classes to discuss the right answer. Ideal for adult and older youth individual or group studies.  

Bulletin Inserts (print) and slides for digital presentations: 

This PDF BULLETIN INSERT can be printed for in-person services or for sermon packets delivered to homes in print or digital. It features the story of Devonte’, a new student, and his call to ministry. The digital slide can be incorporated into your online service as part of announcements or other time dedicated to theological education.  

MOMENTS FOR MISSION – Two sample scripts to be read or shared as copy as a “moment for mission” for theological education. One is approximately 3 minutes and the other 90-seconds, available here. Video presentations by our director of alumni and church relations can be downloaded here.  

For Worship Services (liturgical aids): 

GIVING TALK – Passing the offering plate today may impact the life of someone called to be a pastor. Senior Jesse Hinds, pastor of Bertram United Methodist Church, shares gratitude in this video (below) on the role many people have had as he and his family have followed his call to ministry.

SERMON ILLUSTRATION – How can a tiny cry from the refrigerator relate to Matthew 5:13-16? Senior Ann Graham, under care of the ELCA, shares this personal illustration on how she discovered we can “find the voice of God here in this space,” wherever that space may be. A poignant reminder when so many are spending so much time in confined spaces.

For Worship Services (sermons): 

SERMON MANUSCRIPT — Is theological education possible or impossible? Professor David W. Johnson argues the latter in his sermon, "Why Theological Education is Impossible." He preaches, “The working pastor must love. The working pastor must love God, God’s world, and God’s people–the church. Teaching love is a much more elusive, much more indirect thing than teaching a fact or a skill. Facts and skills are taught with books, lectures, examinations, repetitions. However love is taught, or caught, or fought, it is not with tests and textbooks.” David has graciously shared the full sermon with us. Please use in whole or parts while crediting David. Pastors, you’ll also find some great knowledge and words of wisdom to support you and affirm your calling through these trying times.  

SERMON VIDEO— We’ve got your covered with this complete worship service including liturgical elements and a sermon by Austin Seminary senior Kailey Gray. Kailey is under care of Grace Presbytery. This worship service is offered in partnership with Mission Presbytery as part of their Third Sunday Service Resources. You may use the service in its entirety or components. The service will be available to review and download beginning September 14 (?): https://www.mission-presbytery.org/third-sunday  

Thanks for promoting theological education and Austin Seminary to your congregation!