Being a theological educator and frequent preacher of the Word of God, I find these paragraphs from the Alban Institute worth sharing:
- Involve laity in solid theological education (along with clergy, in many instances) where presenters and teachers pay special attention to applying their material to real-life situations. That will require a shift in teaching style for some presenters.
- Create reflection groups of people in similar occupations. Use a small group approach to provide information, support, accountability, and deep engagement in the issues of work and the marketplace. Often occupational groups are best done ecumenically; it strengthens relationships and better represents the day-to-day workplace connections of most Christians.
- Extend the groups mentioned in the first two strategies to include online conversations where possible. The Internet allows people to relate in real time and cyber time from anywhere participants find themselves working. Ethical and moral situations in which people find themselves on any given day can be discussed from a distance with trusted friends. A combination of face-to-face and online time probably appeals to many. The group can decide that for itself. Continuing educators need to be open to this type of format.
- Face squarely the challenges that this new group of participants will bring to traditional areas of your curriculum. For example, preaching events are popular for clergy. With laity, think about how pastors preach so that the Word can be heard. How do laity hear the preaching and then reword it for themselves? Who is responsible for the translating? Can laity and clergy do that together? How? Clergy and laity could participate in mealtime, evening, one-day, and weekend events.