Category : Adult Education

(Barna) 51% of Churchgoers Don’t Know of the Great Commission

Matthew 28:18-20 is the most well-known biblical record of what is commonly referred to extra-biblically as “the Great Commission.” But despite the significance of these and other verses that call Christians to “go and make disciples of all nations,” a surprising proportion of churchgoing Christians in the U.S. are generally unaware of these famous words from Jesus.

In partnership with Seed Company, Barna conducted a study of the U.S. Church’s ideas about missions, social justice, Bible translation and other aspects of spreading the gospel around the world, available now in the new report Translating the Great Commission. When asked if they had previously “heard of the Great Commission,” half of U.S. churchgoers (51%) say they do not know this term. It would be reassuring to assume that the other half who know the term are also actually familiar with the passage known by this name, but that proportion is low (17%). Meanwhile, “the Great Commission” does ring a bell for one in four (25%), though they can’t remember what it is. Six percent of churchgoers are simply not sure whether they have heard this term “the Great Commission” before.

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Posted in Adult Education, Parish Ministry

Diocese of South Carolina to offer Basic Christian Theology Class this Easter


Beginning April 4 and for the following six Wednesdays, the Diocese of South Carolina will offer a course on Basic Christian Theology taught by Canon Theologian Dr. Kendall Harmon with Bishop Mark Lawrence and others. The first five classes will be held at St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, and the last two will be held at St. Michael’s Church, Charleston. The classes will be held in the church parish halls.

The format of the evenings will be to have a teaching from 7 to 8 pm (after which people who need to leave may do so), with an open Question and Answer session to follow for those who wish to stay from 8 to 8:30 p.m.

The class will cover the following topics in order:

  • Authority and Revelation
  • The Holy Trinity
  • The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
  • The Nature of Human Beings
  • The Christian Life
  • The Church
  • Eschatology, or the Last Things

Though there is no charge for the class, participants are asked to register online at www.diosc.com and obtain the book, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief, by Bruce Milne. Participants are asked to bring the Milne book and their own Bible to each session. There will be reading assignments as well as a minimum of course work to be completed. Though there will not be credit awarded, at this time, we hope for this to be the beginning of a lay theology curriculum offered by the Diocese in the future.

Learn more.

Register for the class.

Download a poster to share in your parish.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Christology, Parish Ministry, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s teaching on the Hope of Heaven at the recent South Carolina Diocesan Convention

You can find the mp3 link there.

Posted in * By Kendall, Adult Education, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Saint Helena’s, Beaufort, reports on last week’s South Carolina Diocesan Convention

From Rev. Todd Simonis, Senior Associate: I very much appreciated Bishop Lawrence calling local churches to have a mission mindset. It was great to have conversations about the changing demographics of the Lowcountry and how we, as the church, must be ready to reach out to those demographics. As always, it was an encouraging time to be with others from the diocese.
From Rion Salley, Senior Warden and Delegate: Bishop Lawrence shared how a little intentionality can go a long way for the Kingdom of God. First, as sowers of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ we can take more time to familiarize ourselves with the people in our community and build deeper relationships with those God has put in our midst by walking through life together as Jesus did.
From Rev. Chuck Pollak, Priest Associate: For me a highlight was the sermon by Bishop Lowenfield, who described his difficult decision to leave the Episcopal Church, and the joy he now feels as a member of ACNA. His journey is similar to one that many of us have experienced, and we know how wrecking that decision has been to us and to others as well. His message is one of hope.
From Jane Manos, Delegate: It was great to be with the Parish Church of St. Helena at the convention – a true honor! From Bishop Lawrence’s address, what stood out to me: “Uncertainty is WHY we need to sow the seed (of the Gospel).”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

A Kendall Harmon Teaching–Saint Stephen as a profile of Courage

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

Three Meditations for Ash Wednesday from Bishop Mark Lawrence

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence–both a Trinity School for Ministry alumnus, and Board of Trustees member–led the faculty and residential student body several years ago in a day of meditation and quiet reflection, beginning with the Ash Wednesday service of Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes.

Principally focusing on John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (ESV), Bp. Lawrence related how this verse addresses why suffering so often draws people in varying ways to the foot of the cross. He also shared his own personal experience of seeking the Truth as a young man.

Audio recordings may be listened to here.

Posted in Adult Education, Lent, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

JI Packer: Serious Catechesis–One of the Most Urgent Needs in the Church Today

While many Christians are actively involved in devotional Bible study, he laments the lack of formal catechetical study, without which, he says, “Well-intentioned minds and hearts will repeatedly go off track.”

Like Scripture says, we all, like sheep, have gone astray. We need constant shepherding and guidance, and knowing and repeating a catechism can be a way to ground our hearts in unchanging truth. The tradition of repeating established statements of faith helps with that shepherding, and it has a long history. Many modern congregations, however, have allowed a lapse in the practice.

In Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know (Crossway, 2013) Packer says:

As the years go by, I am increasingly burdened by the sense that the more conservative church people in the West, Protestant and Roman Catholic alike, are, if not starving, at least grievously undernourished for lack of a particular pastoral ministry that was a staple item in the church life of the first Christian centuries and also of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation era in Western Europe, but has largely fallen out of use in recent days.

That ministry is called catechesis. It consists of intentional, orderly instruction in the truths that Christians are called to live by, linked with equally intentional and orderly instruction on how they are to do this.

Read it all.

Posted in Adult Education, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

The Latest Enewsletter from the Diocese of South Carolina


Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Theologian R C Sproul, RIP

When Reformed theologian and Ligonier Ministries founder R. C. Sproul was once asked what he wanted written on his tombstone, he replied cheekily, “I told you I was sick.”

That was in 2015, after the esteemed teacher and author’s health declined severely following a stroke. This December, the 78-year-old was hospitalized and was forced to rely on ventilator support to breathe during his 12-day stay, due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He died on Thursday.

“His tombstone wouldn’t be able to hold the words of what he’s meant to so many,” tweeted Kansas pastor Gabriel Hughes. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Now great is your reward.”

Read it all.

Posted in Adult Education, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Theology

(Telegraph) Did the Church of England ‘lose £8bn’ in a rush to sell off historic parsonages?

England’s vicarages and parsonages are almost as iconic as its churches. But campaigners say they may be all but gone after a 70-year process of selling-off which began after the Second World War and has seen thousands of vicars ejected from the historic buildings and moved into private houses.

What’s more, they have raised concerns that many modern priests have no interest in living in the properties – leaving them vulnerable to being sold.

Campaign group Save Our Parsonages estimates that 8,000 such houses have been sold by dioceses since the Second World War, causing the Church of England financial loss because of the growing value of property.

Read it all.

Posted in Adult Education, Church of England (CoE), Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

The rector of Trinity Myrtle Beach writes his parish about the SC Supreme Court Decision

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share with you the prayer note that I’m sending out today: As a church, we are going through a huge trial. The injustice of the courts may result in 32,000 people in the diocese being told they must leave their buildings… including Trinity Church. It’s hard to imagine. But, people in our congregation face the unimaginable day in and day out. Suffering happens in a broken world… and that’s why we pray. Tomorrow we will be observing a day of prayer and fasting. And while we pray, corporately, for a deep wrong to be made right, please know that I will be praying for each of you, individually.

Trials come, “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1st Peter 1:7) I’m praying that God will awaken us to the necessity of prayer, outreach, and mission to a broken world.

If you would like to know more about our church’s trials or are looking for a resource for prayer, go here.

Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

Resource Suggestion–Listen to The Spreading Flame–a series of 28 half-hour weekly podcasts giving you a sweeping view of the church through the centuries from Irenaeus and Augustine to C. S. Lewis and John Stott, led by Peter C. Moore w/ the ALI

Check it all out there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, Church History

Jeffrey Miller’s recent Lenten Teaching: “Be Faithful Unto Death” (Revelation 2:10)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there. This was presented as part of the lenten teaching series for adults at Christ St. Pauls, Yonges Island, South Carolina

Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, Lent, Parish Ministry, Theology: Scripture

From Northern Nigeria to Northern Ireland; Third Anglican Leadership Institute Concludes

The Third Anglican Leadership Institute is now history. As I write some are still in the air, and some have landed and rejoined their families.

And what a great group they were. They spanned the full Anglican spectrum:

– From the Rector of a posh downtown parish in a mid-sized Australian city to the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Burundi;
– From a Rector in Brunei where Sharia Law prevents him from even having a Christmas tree outside the Church to a leader of young adults in a large Brazilian church who surfs in his spare time;
– From a bishop in northern Nigeria where unless a man “steals” another man’s wife his own wife might accuse him of “not really being a man” to the assistant Rector of a booming Northern Ireland church who finished off 6 books while he was with us;
– From a former “Lost Boy” of South Sudan who runs a diocese that cannot afford him any salary and whose family must live in exile to a Deacon who assists the former President of GAFCON…

And on it goes. 16 marvelous people — all Anglicans from 12 enormously different socio-economic situations living in cultures vastly different from each other. Yet all united in Jesus Christ and experiencing the joy of becoming a family. Our closing dinner was a time of deep prayer followed by hugs all around. Those Africans love to hug.

Read it all (Diocese of SC photo).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Bp Mark Lawrence–You Matter to God””Mind, Body and Heart

The great teachings of the Bible and the Christian faith””such as the Creation, Revelation, the Fractured human condition, along with God’s Redemption, Judgment and Eternity all imply that we have the duty to think, and to act upon what we think and know. To be sure our minds just as our bodies and our hearts have partaken of what Christian theologians refer to as the fall. The result of this participation is that there is a fracture not unlike fault lines across a geographical region. It runs through our minds so that we do not always think rightly. It runs through our bodily appetites and desires so that we don’t always desire rightly. And it runs through our hearts so that we don’t always “feel” or emotionally desire rightly. Yet this gives us no reason to retreat from thought. Rather it is a motivation to avail ourselves of what God has revealed and think carefully and deeply about it. As the Anglican theologian and statesman, John Stott wrote some forty years ago in a marvelous short book entitled, Your Mind Matters, “Faith is not an illogical belief in the improbable””faith is a reasoning trust in the character and promises of God.”

Often when I meet with the new members I am confirming or receiving into the Church I remind them of what the Anglican reformers were keen to teach””that “What the heart desires, the will chooses and the mind justifies.” That is, what the heart gives itself to think about, meditate upon, or yield to, sooner or later the will chooses; and once the will has chosen what the heart desired the mind will go to work to justify what the heart desired and the will chose.

A contemporary Christian writer and preacher, Tim Keller, has put it this way: “Whatever captures the heart’s trust and love also controls the feelings and behavior. What the heart most wants the mind finds reasonable and the will finds doable.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture