For years, until this past July, Presbyterians have been governed by the Presbyterian Book of Order. Specific in its precise language, covering minute details, it was the definitive reference for all governing matters. Now, in a huge philisophical shift, the denominination has adopted the New Form of Government. With its far more interpretive approach, much greater decision-making authority rests with individual councils.
With precious few weeks to absorb, study, and prepare, pastors were facing the prospect of providing educating incoming elders and deacons about the sweeping changes, late this fall. Montreat’s adult programming arm, the Center for Faith & Life, jumped on the real-time opportunity to develop a one-day seminar to help bring them up to speed immediately, so they could provide useful training to their councils, coming up in the next several weeks.
In the past, gestation from concept to delivery of a seminar or conference might be 2–3 years. However, with streamlined processes now in place, Merri Alexander, VP of the Center for Faith & Life, and her team developed the program from concept in early August to delivery on September 30. The seminar was lead by the eminently qualified Rev. Dr. Cam Murchison, Professor of Ministry, Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA. Murchison taught polity at Columbia, and is the former dean of faculty.
Notification lead time was brief for prospective attendees, so the one-day seminar was also offered as a live-streaming online seminar for virtual attendees—a first for Montreat.
Even with such short notice, 40 church professionals from across the Southeast attended in person, while another 15 attended via the live stream. Attendees agreed that the seminar was thoroughly and thoughtfully presented—just what they needed, right when they needed it.
A recent, generous donation from the Belk Foundation has ideally positioned Montreat electronically, with its newly outfitted Katherine and Thomas Belk Center. With state-of-the-art communications capabilities, Montreat is able to reach out to the world with timely, interactive, educational offerings in a fast-changing world. And this first-ever live-streaming event is just the beginning of more nimble, multiple-channel programming. And, while there’s nothing like a day or a week in the spectacular surroundings of Montreat, now more folks can be tap its resources from wherever they are.
So, tell us: what seminar or conference topics would you find useful to have live streamed by Montreat?
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