is one of several programs of the Institute for Discipleship at Southwestern College, a United Methodist institution in Winfield, Kansas.
Courses which have been approved by the General Board of Discipleship as advanced courses in Lay Servant Ministries. These are designated by the GBOD logo "Learning and Leading.".
T he East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church is offering the four Certified Lay Minister modules in an online format. UM leaders from other conferences are welcome to participate.
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September 2016 
Life verses can guide your path

Do you have a "life verse"? A life verse is a passage of scripture you reach for as a guide in your life. It is a piece of scripture that has special meaning to you.  

My husband and I were talking last week about life verses and how some people choose to have them tattooed on. We were reflecting that w hile tattoos are permanent, life verses might not be.   My husband said that the life verse he might have chosen 10 years ago wouldn't be his chosen life verse today. 

My life verse, however, has not changed.  Many years ago, I chose a life verse by plucking it right out of context and fitting it to my life.   1 Peter 3:6b says "You are [Sarah's] daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear."  I have paraphrased and memorized this verse, and have clung to it when I needed strength and a reminder to stick to my convictions even when it is difficult: "I am a daughter of Sarah if I do what is right and do not give way to fear."    I believe that scripture is a living, breathing thing, and t his scripture has breathed  into me just what I needed through numerous situations,  in a myriad of ways .  Sometimes, it still does. 

I am sure there are many scholars who don't believe in applying one verse to life situations. However, I like to encourage disciples to memorize all the scripture they can.  I encourage you to do so, as well; and if you find a life verse through which the Spirit guides you, cling to it.  God has a word especially for you.  

Lisa Buffum
Director of Online Education,

PS: If you are interesting in learning to use the Blackboard tools to offer your own online course, I am teaching another How to Build and Provide Your Course Online this month, and I still have a couple of openings.  
Upcoming Courses

Faith Communities' Response to Domestic Violence
The focus of this workshop will be on a Christian response to domestic violence. We will explore the purposes, types, and consequences of intimate partner violence, giving attention to gender issues, impact on health and life, and the urgency of responding whenever such violence is suspected. Relevant Biblical references will shape the discussion of ways for the church to educate members, support victims, and hold abusers accountable. By the end of the course, students will have access to resources for responding to domestic violence, and will be equipped to support efforts and programs.
The Nonviolent Life
"How can we become people of nonviolence and help the world become more nonviolent? How can we help build a global grassroots movement of nonviolence to disarm the world, relieve unjust human suffering, make a more just society and protect creation and all creatures?" These are the questions John Dear poses in his latest book,  The Nonviolent Life . This course explores the powerful journey of nonviolence rooted in the Christian vision of love.  Dear focuses on three important aspects of the path toward becoming people of nonviolence - being nonviolent toward ourselves; being nonviolent to all others; and joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence.
Creation Care: Biblical Basics
In the beginning, God created humans and gave them responsibility to be stewards of all that God made. Yet, we don't often think about how our faith interacts with the natural world. Whether new to Creation Care or a longtime practitioner, this course is designed to help you:
learn the differences between a secular approach to Environmentalism and a Christian approach to Creation Care;  develop a biblical background for why Christians should be concerned with the treatment of the natural world;  discover some theological bases for why the Church should be leading the cause of ecological sustainability; and more. 
Living Our United Methodist Beliefs
The history, heritage, beliefs, mission and culture of the United Methodist Church for anyone - newcomer or longtime member - who wants to know what's distinctive about being a United Methodist Christian. We'll explore the special gifts of theology, witness and organization that the United Methodist Church brings to the Church universal, how we got where we are today and how our distinctive emphases are still needed in the 21st Century church.  This class is one of the core Lay Servant Ministries classes, but everyone is welcome! 
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Evangelism: How to Love Your Neighbors to Christ
Each of us is called to share our faith in obedience to the Great Commission. The Second Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves and The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) tells us to go and make disciples. By combining these two commandments from our Lord, we are able to share our faith with those around us in a natural way. During this course you'll learn about ways you can share the Gospel that are both comfortable for you and effective; it is all about sharing the love of Christ by building relationships with those around you and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you as your relationships progress.  This course is for everyone - you don't have to be a Christian for several years or a seminary trained theologian - God uses ordinary people!
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Teaching and Leading Small Groups
In this interactive two week workshop, participants will learn to lead and teach more effectively so that people they minister with better retain and apply the Good News to their lives. Whether working with children, youth, or adults, you will discover practical information based on current scientific and educational practices that can be put to immediate use. We will explore who you are as a teacher, your students, call and gifts, ages and stages of faith development, building caring community, hospitable space, curriculum, brain friendly learning, ideas for making scripture come alive, and more. Through assignments and discussion boards, participants will engage with the material, their instructor, and fellow participants at a deeper level than lecture alone. 
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