“Kingdom Connection,” a church enrichment workshop was held on the Tusculum College campus on Saturday, Nov. 10.
Hosted by Tusculum’s Graduate and Professional Studies Office of Enrollment, the workshop provided a variety of sessions designed to provide church leaders interactive sessions on a variety of topics.
Clay Wilkerson, a Graduate and Professional Studies enrollment representative and a student in the Master of Arts in Education degree program in human resource development, led a session about theological language and the potential for misunderstanding of language that is typically used in the church. A youth minister at a local church, he shared an experience from his own ministry, in which a teenager whose biological father was absent from his life was disturbed by God being referred to as “father.” Attendees discussed how parental language for God and other potentially misunderstood theological language can be made understandable and beneficial to church attendees.
Two sessions involved various learning styles and needs of church members. Dr. Melanie Narkawicz, research professor at Tusculum, shared effective techniques and strategies for teaching adults that she has observed in effective teachers, such as actively involving adults in learning activities. Narkawicz is chair of Tusculum’s graduate level Organizational Training and Education program. Dr. DiAnn Casteel, professor of education at the college, facilitated a session about techniques and strategies for teaching children and adolescents and demonstrated how children learn by doing.
Dr. Travis Williams, visiting professor of general education, presented an overview from his study of the persecution of the early Christian church at the time that the New Testament epistle of I Peter was written. Dr. Williams noted that many contemporary scholars believe the early church suffered from verbal abuse or isolation from the community at large.
However, Williams contends that his research into Roman society at the time of the early church confirms that the situation was much more serious. Williams painted a powerful contrast between the ethical standards of the early Christians and Greco-Roman society. He went on to say that Christianity was effectively illegal in the Roman Empire, which means that while programmatic persecution was rare, individual persons charged with being a Christian could be and often were put to death.
In another session, participants discussed mid-week programming at their churches and what has been successful.
Three musical groups were also featured during the workshop. The day’s programming opened with a performance by Living Testament, a praise band from Brown Springs Baptist Church led by Mark Rothe, a Tusculum alumnus. The Students for Christ Gospel Choir, a student-led group of Tusculum students, performed at the beginning of the afternoon sessions. The Step Forward, which includes Tusculum alumnus Chad Shelton, performed at the concluding worship celebration.
Lynn Britton, a student in the graduate level human resource development program, shared how she is using the skill set and knowledge she has gained in the program to revitalize the Sunday School program at her church as her capstone project for the program. Several students in Tusculum’s masters programs have elected to utilize their skills to benefit local churches and related agencies that are open to working with Tusculum graduate students.