Truett Seminary Presents “The Program for the Future Church” | George W. Truett Theological Seminary


Baylor University’s Truett Seminary is delighted to announce the formation of a new initiative, “The Future Church Program”, under the leadership of Angela Gorrell, PhD, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, and Dustin Benac , ThD, Visiting Assistant Professor of Practice Postdoctoral Fellow in Theology and Louisville Institute.

The Future Church program will provide a hub for collaborative development at the intersection of practical theology with the engagement of academics from a wide variety of disciplines – religion, sociology, social work, psychology, entrepreneurship, the arts. , and more – charged with examining and constructively engaging the challenges facing believers, those who lead them, and those who educate leaders of ministry. Through contextual research, the program will focus its efforts on four pillars: leadership, emerging youth and adults, pedagogy and lived experience.

“The pillars of the Future Church Program represent some of the most important aspects of meaningful ministry: health, forethought, training, and attention to the things that keep people from sleeping at night,” said Gorrell. “This program will create opportunities for Truett students to practice responding to pressing challenges and to learn insights from church and community leaders as part of their seminary experience. It will also assist Truett. to bring to light the stories of the amazing things that God, and beyond churches and local communities, as well as to allow the stories, illuminations, questions and challenges of church and community leaders to contribute to research programs and the course learning objectives of academics associated with the program. “

Acting as a “visible bridge” between Truett and the Church, the Future Church Program will create space and structure for the efforts and initiatives existing at the Seminary, working alongside programs like the Truett Church Network to strengthen and support what is already working well. . The program will also seek to create sustainable and cohesive feedback systems to help understand the needs of the Church and, most importantly, of the future Church.

“Truett Seminary is uniquely equipped to provide research, resources, and relationship structures to support future church leaders,” said Benac. “Amid the systemic changes facing the Church, Baylor’s commitment to be for the Church and to be attentive to the local context where forms of faith provide an ideal environment for the required interdisciplinary inquiry. challenges remain complex, the Future Church Program aims to tip our collective imaginations towards hope for a new day. ”

Gorrell joined the faculty of Truett Seminary in the fall of 2019 after serving as an associate researcher at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, where she worked on the Theology of Joy and the Good Life project, and as a lecturer in Theology and humanities at Yale University. . His research focuses on contemporary theology and culture, education and training, creation of meaning, joy, new media, young people and emerging adults. She is the author of Always on: practicing faith in a new media landscape and The Gravity of Joy: A Story of Being Lost and Found.

Prior to coming to Truett Seminary in fall 2020, Benac was a postdoctoral associate at Duke Divinity School, working on the Everything Happens project. Benac is a Wesleyan practical theologian whose research centers on the intersection of practical theology and organizational theory to understand and explore the organizational ecology that supports communities of faith during times of transition and uncertainty. His co-edited volume, Crisis and Care: Meditations on Faith and Philanthropy, was released on July 1, 2021.

“Truett has a long-standing interest in building mutually supportive relationships with local congregations and their leaders. One thing that makes this initiative particularly exciting is a commitment to focus first on attentive listening and finding people. evidence of the Spirit already at work, then respond by offering encouragement and educational opportunities to ministers in all kinds of settings, ”said Angela Reed, PhD, associate professor of practical theology, director of spiritual training and new Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “Drs. Gorrell and Benac are uniquely positioned with the passion and interdisciplinary skills to guide the path.”

“Baylor’s Truett Seminary is driven by the vision of forming thoughtful and faithful ministers for a 21st century church and world. At Truett, we exist not only to equip the next generation of ministers, but also to serve and support congregations and Christian organizations as they carry out their evangelical work and witness, ”said Todd D. Still, PhD, DeLancey Dean and Hinson Professor.“ The program for the church of the future, led by bright, daring co-directors, energetic and collaborative, Drs. Angela Williams Gorrell and Dustin D. Benac, will enable our school to look, lean, and direct more fully and effectively toward the good of God the future of the Church of Christ. This is a landmark development in the life of our seminary, and I could not be happier or more optimistic about it. “

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