e-Formation program update
e-Formation program update

e-Formation workshop

We just did a major update to the e-Formation Conference program page. You can now read the descriptions for almost all of the workshops, intensive courses, and plenary presentations. More details will be added as we receive them from our team of expert speakers and trainers.

Here’s a peak at what’s on tap in the e-Formation program. You can see these sessions’ places on the schedule on the e-Formation website.

In-Depth Course: What ANY Ministry Leader Needs to Know About Websites Today (Part 1) – Bruce Baumgarten

In a church which marks the development of faith across millennia, we make use of new communications tools where obsolescence is measured in months! How do we keep up? This course—designed for any ministry leader with an interest in websites to serve the Church’s mission (from front-line coders to pastoral managers who just want it “to work”)—will survey the key factors in ministerial website success. In 2014! Pastoral leaders who don’t need to know the specifics of writing code will be served with information and resources befitting their role while actual web-workers will be given opportunities to raise challenges and receive resource suggestions for deeper, more technical information.

Bruce Baumgarten holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Georgetown University, a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Fordham University and a Post-Graduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Youth Ministry from Loyola University Chicago. He has held ministry positions at the parish, diocesan, and national levels. In the 1990s, he transitioned into technology work—always within a ministerial context and committed to fostering new tools for evangelization, communication, and ministerial formation. He is currently the Director of Technology for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) in Washington, DC.

Designing Faith Formation for All Ages and Generations in a Digital World (Part 1) – Sharon Ely Pearson & John Roberto

How do we design curriculum and faith formation experiences for the ten decades of life, for the whole family, and for intergenerational groupings in the digital age? How do we make the journey from the linear curriculum, print era of the 19th and 20th centuries to the episodic, multiple media, digital era of the 21st century? What can faith formation curriculum and programming look like when there is an abundance of high quality digital content and media, and the emergence of new technologies for learning (such as mobile devices)? This two-part workshop will explore content for a 21st century faith formation curriculum, learning models that utilize digital approaches for engaging learners, and a process for designing 21st century faith formation programming.

Sharon Ely Pearson serves an editor and in book acquisitions at Church Publishing, where she has served as the Christian Formation Specialist with a specialty in curriculum and resources. She is the co- author of The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education (3rd edition) and author of numerous articles in a variety of journals. Her blog is RowsofSharon.com.

John Roberto of LifelongFaith Associates has designed curriculum and faith formation resources for youth, young adults, adults, families, and intergenerational groupings. He teaches a 3-day course on 21st century faith formation across the country. His latest books are Generations Together (2014) and Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century (2014).

Digital Storytelling & Tools – Colin Chapman 

Getting Started with Online Christian Formation: ChurchNext One Year Later – Chris Yaw

This workshop will introduce various digital learning platforms that congregations can consider using as a way to offer an online learning option to existing Christian formation programming.  We will also consider the findings of ChurchNext, which recently ran a pilot program with 200 parishes, as a way to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of this growing field.

Chris Yaw is the rector of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Southfield, MI and the founder of ChurchNext, which produces online learning experiences that shape disciples. Chris is interested in exploring the interaction between online learning and face to face dialog to enhance the process of disciple-making. He is interested in turning every congregation into a vital source of knowledge and learning hub for its community.

Stealth Christian Formation – Tim Schenck

Was your recent 27-part series on Deuteronomic Law poorly attended? Do you wish more people took advantage of education opportunities at your parish? You can keep teaching to the choir but how do we reach the people who don’t “do” classes? Come learn how Lent Madness brought Lenten discipline, knowledge of the saints, and spiritual growth to the masses and how this model can work for you.

The Rev. Tim Schenck, rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, MA, is a priest, author, syndicated columnist, blogger, and creator of the wildly popular online devotional Lent Madness. He is the author of  What Size Are God’s Shoes: Kids, Chaos, and the Spiritual Life (Morehouse) and Dog in the Manger: Finding God in Christmas Chaos. Tim blogs at Clergy Family Confidential and is active on social media. You can follow him on Twitter @FatherTim where you’ll encounter a blend of inspiration, humor, and snark (not necessarily in that order). Tim lives in the St. John’s rectory with his wife, two teenage sons, a dog, and pet ferret named Mimi.

Using Visual Social Media to Embrace the Sacred and Build Community – Meredith Gould 

Visual social media, notably Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine but also Tumblr, are considered must-have-and-use platforms among secular social media experts. Within the past year or so, church communicators and religion educators have become enthusiastic about these social media platforms. Attend this workshop to learn: 1) why visual social media platforms work especially well for faith-based organizations; 2) how to use visual social media platforms strategically and tactically; and 3) tips for setting up and managing accounts to optimize their value. Bring your questions, concerns, and examples of what you’re already doing.

Meredith Gould, PhD (@meredithgould) is a sociologist, author and longtime communications professional. An early adopter of social media, she’s known for being an exuberant evangelist for using digital tools for ministry. Dr. Gould is founder of the weekly Twitter-based #ChSocM (church social media) chat. She has nine published books including The Word Made Fresh: Communicating Church, Faith Today, and her latest book, The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways. An independent consultant since 1989, she provides counsel and training as well as hands-on fix-it services to local churches and judicatories across denominations. (www.meredithgould.com)

Building a Social Media Plan for Your Ministry – Randall Curtis

Figure out what works and what doesn’t work. Do you need a snapchat presence? Are there any teenagers left on Facebook? What is a klout store and should I care? Come join this workshop to build a strategy of where to start and where to stop in the Social Media world.

Randall Curtis is the Ministry Developer for Young Adults and Youth in the Episcopal Church in Arkansas. He is the President of Forma, a network of over 400 Christian formation leaders in the Episcopal Church. Randall is the Holy Geek of theholygeek.com.  He also maintains episcoforma.org, eycarkansas.org, videosforyoursoul.com and about 20 various social media presneces.  He lives in Maumelle, AR with his wife, daughter, two pugs, a hamster and 6 Russian Tortoises.

Creating Digital Presentations – Peter Turner

Designing Formation for All Ages and Generations in a Digital World Curriculum  (Part 2) – Sharon Ely Pearson & John Roberto

Expanding the Circle: hybrid networks for in-person/at-home small group learning – Lisa Kimball & Kyle Oliver 

Are your regular faith formation offerings reaching the same well-formed parishioners but missing countless others who acknowledge their curiosity or hunger but cannot or will not commit to weekly in-person meetings? Come hear about a group of parishes who have been supplementing periodic in-person gatherings with weekly activities and conversation online. We will send you home with a set of content ideas, guidelines for recruiting, technology tips, and data for helping convince the rector and other leaders that this is a ministry model whose time has come.

Kyle Oliver (@kmoliver) is the digital missioner and learning lab coordinator in the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. He is a content developer for the e-Formation Conference (eformationvts.org) and curates faith formation resources, models, and stories for multiple websites, including the CMT’s Key Resources.

Lisa Kimball holds a PhD in Work, Community, and Family Education from the University of Minnesota. She is Professor of Christian Formation and Congregational Leadership and Director of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. Prior to this she was a member of the faculty in the College of Education at the University of Minnesota with dual appointments in the School of Social Work (Youth Studies) and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Before assuming an academic career, Lisa spent 20 years serving on the staff of five congregations and two dioceses in California and Minnesota. In addition to writing for books and journals, she maintains a regular schedule of national consulting, conference presenting, and teaching in youth ministry, evangelism, congregational and leadership development.

Online Event Registration – Colin Chapman

Virtual Formation: Web-Based Conferencing and Streaming – Julie Lytle 

Faith formation occurs when we make connections between God’s Story and our own, yet many are finding it increasingly difficult to meet physically. Fortunately, there are new technologies that enable us to stay connected! Churches, schools and committed individuals are getting in on the action using cell phones, tablets and computers to facilitate virtual connections. This workshop will identify some virtual formation resources, survey the options for video-conferencing and streaming (including Sykpe, Google+ Hangouts, and Adobe Connect) and provide a guide for how to determine which to use for interpersonal sharing, small group discussions, distributive learning, or giving visitors a glimpse of what your church is up to.

Dr. Julie Anne Lytle is a digital evangelist, theological educator, media consultant, and author of Faith Formation 4.0: Introducing an Ecology of Faith in a Digital Age. Her dream is a distributive learning network where we offer the resources we have and gain the wisdom we need with one another using commonly available technologies.  In addition to serving as the Executive Director of Province I, she is working with Claremont School of Theology to develop courses and launch two hybrid degrees in the fall (MDiv and MA in Ministry, Leadership and Service) using her mantra “Message, Method, then Media.”

In-Depth Course: What ANY Ministry Leader Needs to Know About Websites Today (Part 3) – Bruce Baumgarten

Curating Faith Formation: Digital Content for Bible, Theology, Spirituality, and More – Sharon Ely Pearson & John Roberto

With an abundance of content in all forms—print, audio, video, digital—faith formation leaders are learning to become curators of religious content and experiences—researching, grouping, evaluating, organizing, and delivering the best and most relevant content and experiences to address the life issues and concerns, religious and spiritual needs of people in their congregation. Learn the process and skills for becoming a curator and how to find the best faith formation resources.

Sharon Ely Pearson serves an editor and in book acquisitions at Church Publishing, where she has served as the Christian Formation Specialist with a specialty in curriculum and resources. She is the co- author of The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education (3rd edition) and author of numerous articles in a variety of journals. Her blog is RowsofSharon.com.

John Roberto of LifelongFaith Associates has designed curriculum and faith formation resources for youth, young adults, adults, families, and intergenerational groupings. He teaches a 3-day course on 21st century faith formation across the country. His latest books are Generations Together (2014) and Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century (2014).

Emerging Media and the Gospel – Tom Tomaszek 

Facebook, Twitter, and an attractive website are no longer just trendy technologies.  They are fundamental tools for creating a pastoral presence online – a presence that touches everyone in your church and in your local community. Emerging media offer new ways to communicate the Gospel and invite others to discipleship.  They are indispensable in providing information and formation to soul-seekers as well as sustaining members. How do we move from a personal to corporate use of these applications? This workshop will present a process and critical steps to establish a vision, team and Pastoral Communications Plan for your parish or church. [Come prepared to roll up your “virtual sleeves” and explore these issues with others from your church.]

Tom Tomaszek is Pastoral Director and co-founder of The Five Loaves (www.thefiveloaves.com) along with his wife, Katherine (Kimi) Tomaszek, offering online resources and events focused on spiritual formation and prayer. Tom is an author, composer, educator, and published liturgical musician who frequently presents at national and regional events and retreats. His experience in teaching, pastoral ministry and music publishing make for presentations and events that are relevant, insightful and inspiring. Tom holds Masters degrees in both Theological Studies and Education (Curriculum-Visual Literacy.)

I Blog, Therefore I Am – Tim Schenck

Whether you have a blog no one reads besides your mother or are considering starting one, this workshop is for you. We’ll explore questions such as: Why blog? What should I blog about? How often should I blog? How can I get people to actually read my blog? You, too, can impress your friends with the moniker “blogger” while sharing the Good News with a global audience.

The Rev. Tim Schenck, rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, MA, is a priest, author, syndicated columnist, blogger, and creator of the wildly popular online devotional Lent Madness. He is the author of  What Size Are God’s Shoes: Kids, Chaos, and the Spiritual Life (Morehouse) and Dog in the Manger: Finding God in Christmas Chaos. Tim blogs at Clergy Family Confidential and is active on social media. You can follow him on Twitter @FatherTim where you’ll encounter a blend of inspiration, humor, and snark (not necessarily in that order). Tim lives in the St. John’s rectory with his wife, two teenage sons, a dog, and pet ferret named Mimi.

Living a Life of Substance: A Journey Toward Integrating Spirituality and Our Digital Lives – Robbin Whittington

Have you noticed that many people seem to define who they are in the digital world differently from who they are in real life? Despite what many may think, the same values that guide our spiritual journey should also govern our digital presence. The digital world is an extension of who we are in the rest of our lives. It can reflect our highest expressions, as well as our struggles to live a life of substance. How can we more fully integrate these two different aspects of who we are? How can we live more fully into all the possibilities the digital world offers us while remaining faithful to our values? This workshop will offer time to pause, reflect, and begin to identify what matters most to us in our lives and ministries—our core values—and then offer several resources that can help us best express our truest, deepest selves.

Robbin Whittington is Director of the Center for Spiritual Resources (http://thecsr.org). She facilitates several enrichment programs as part of the resource: Living a Life of Substance. These include Enneagram workshops and Typing interviews; Parker Palmer’s Circles of Trust discernment committees; 90-Day Micro Strategies to Your Best Future; and Wisdom Schools and follow-on small groups with Cynthia Bourgeault . She also owns and manages R. Brent and Company, which she established in 1993 as a publishing and consulting company, producing and publishing a wide array of books and resources for enrichment, education, and inspiration.

Models of Online Learning & Faith Formation – Panel

Podcasting 101: Listening, sharing, creating – Kyle Oliver

Podcasts are like radio shows that, instead of going out on the airwaves, get sent to listeners’ computers and mobile devices. This new format is revolutionizing audio programming, and the faith community is getting in on the action. Want to enrich your own faith life on the go? Want suggestions for shows to share with the people you serve? Want to start your own show? This is the session for you.

Kyle Oliver (@kmoliver) is the digital missioner and learning lab coordinator in the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary. He is a content developer for the e-Formation Conference (eformationvts.org) and curates faith formation resources, models, and stories for multiple websites, including the CMT’s Key Resources. He is a rabid podcast listener and the editor/show runner for the Easter People faith and culture podcast.

 General Session Presentation: Animating Scripture – Sarah Lefton 

Sarah will share her story of going from religious illiterate to prizewinning Jewish educator through a unique journey involving cartoons and a cobbled together team of teachers that were her friends from the arts world. How can G-dcast’s founding story inspire us along our own learning journeys? Sarah will bring insights from the filmmaking and game design processes to help us as educators and leaders bring today’s digitally distracted students into the tradition of text study that Jews and Christians hold so dear.

Sarah Lefton is the founding Director of G-dcast, a new media production company that the press calls “the Schoolhouse Rock for Jews.” A grad of NYU’s infamous Interactive Telecommunications Program, Sarah produced early online experiments for The New York Times, the Village Voice, Princess Cruises, and several robotics startups before dropping out to bring her technology and storytelling skills to bear in the nonprofit world. At G-dcast, Sarah has produced over 70 short films and 7 mobile apps that have been featured on NPR, in the Wall Street Journal and CNN.com. She is a recipient of the Pomegranate Prize for exceptional educators, a recipient of the Joshua Venture Group fellowship for Jewish social entrepreneurs, and was named one of the “Forward 50” most influential Jews by the Forward newspaper.

General Session Presentation: Meredith Gould

Meredith Gould, PhD (@meredithgould) is a sociologist, author and longtime communications professional. An early adopter of social media, she’s known for being an exuberant evangelist for using digital tools for ministry. Dr. Gould is founder of the weekly Twitter-based #ChSocM (church social media) chat. She has nine published books including The Word Made Fresh: Communicating Church, Faith Today, and her latest book, The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways. An independent consultant since 1989, she provides counsel and training as well as hands-on fix-it services to local churches and judicatories across denominations. (www.meredithgould.com)

In-Depth Course: Google Dash (Part 1) – Randall Curtis & Robbin Whittington

In this workshop you will learn how to put Google to work for you and your church.  By learning how to use Google’s powerful suite of productivity applications—Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Hangouts, and Chrome—more effectively, you can spend less time at your computer and more time in your ministry. Each participant needs to have a Google account before attending the session, and able to bring a laptop in order to get the full benefit of this workshop. You may also bring your mobile devices to learn techniques and tips for using those with Google, but you will need a laptop to use the advanced settings we will be presenting.

Randall Curtis is the Ministry Developer for Young Adults and Youth for the Episcopal Church in Arkansas where he is also a licensed Evangelist. Randall is also the current President of Forma a Christian Network of proessional in the Episcopal Church. You can find Randall online at www.theholygeek.com.

Robbin Whittington
 is Director of the Center for Spiritual Resources (http://thecsr.org). She also owns and manages R. Brent and Company, which she established in 1993 as a publishing and consulting company, producing and publishing a wide array of books and resources for enrichment, education, and inspiration.

In-Depth Course: That’s Where the People Are: Video for Churches (Part 1) – Jay Mallin

Just as bank robber Willie Sutton once reasoned that financial institutions are the place to go for money, churches are turning to video as an effective way to reach both their members and people in the larger community. This mini-course will look at some of the ways churches and other organizations might use video, the basics of video production, and also briefly at editing and distribution. Along with classroom discussion it will include some demonstrations and hands-on opportunities.

Jay Mallin is a photographer, video producer, and writer based in Washington. His nonprofit clients include colleges and universities, labor unions, and charitable and religious organizations. He also creates videos for his home parish.

Continuing the Conversation with Sarah Lefton (G-dcast)

Designing Faith Formation for All Ages and Generations in a Digital World (Part 1) – Sharon Ely Pearson & John Roberto

How do we design curriculum and faith formation experiences for the ten decades of life, for the whole family, and for intergenerational groupings in the digital age? How do we make the journey from the linear curriculum, print era of the 19th and 20th centuries to the episodic, multiple media, digital era of the 21st century? What can faith formation curriculum and programming look like when there is an abundance of high quality digital content and media, and the emergence of new technologies for learning (such as mobile devices)? This two-part workshop will explore content for a 21st century faith formation curriculum, learning models that utilize digital approaches for engaging learners, and a process for designing 21st century faith formation programming.

Sharon Ely Pearson serves an editor and in book acquisitions at Church Publishing, where she has served as the Christian Formation Specialist with a specialty in curriculum and resources. She is the co- author of The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education (3rd edition) and author of numerous articles in a variety of journals. Her blog is RowsofSharon.com.

John Roberto of LifelongFaith Associates has designed curriculum and faith formation resources for youth, young adults, adults, families, and intergenerational groupings. He teaches a 3-day course on 21st century faith formation across the country. His latest books are Generations Together (2014) and Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century (2014).

e-Formation Workshop (Spanish) – to be announced 

In-Depth Course: Google Dash (Part 2) – Randall Curtis & Robbin Whittington

In-Depth Course: That’s Where the People Are: Video for Churches (Part 2) – Jay Mallin

Designing Formation for All Ages and Generations in a Digital World Curriculum (Part 2) – Sharon Ely Pearson & John Roberto

Don’t Count the Boomers Out of Digital Ministry! – Dorothy Linthicum

The boomers, who have tread new ground and changed the landscape of culture and society throughout their lifespan are rapidly tipping into retirement. Being adventuresome, many are on the cutting edge of technology. At the same time, they are discovering the physical, emotional, and psychological changes that that occur as they grow older and live longer. What does the church offer this group? And more specifically, what is the role of digital ministry in fostering communications, building relationships, and exploring spirituality among adults 65-100? Join us to learn more about this dynamic intersection of aging, digital media, and faith formation in our churches!

Dorothy Linthicum, instructor and program coordinator of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary, has been studying the issue of aging for several years. She has taught courses and led workshops about spirituality and aging in the United States and in South Africa, where she spent a year teaching at an Anglican seminary.

e-Learning Methodologies: Examples and Best Practices in the Latino/Hispanic Context (in English) – to be announced 

Church IT Best Practices – Xavier Belanger

As the “you’re the IT person-in-charge” for a small/medium parish learn how to deal with user accounts, backups, system updates, network, … This presentation will guide you with basic rules to apply in your church and make the IT world easier to manage.

Xavier Belanger is a System and Network Administrator. Previously working for French higher education he’s now using his 15-year experience at the Virginia Theological Seminary, to manage the campus network, servers, printers and all kind of IT equipment.

e-Learning Methodologies: Examples and Best Practices in the Latino/Hispanic Context  (in Spanish) – to be announced

Models of Online Learning & Faith Formation – Panel

General Session Presentation: Bruce Reyes Chow

General Session Presentation: The Future of e-Formation (Lisa Kimball & Team)

Application Workshops: Children, Youth, Young Adults, Adults, Families, and Leadership

The Center for the Ministry of Teaching (@VTS_CMT) curates faith formation resources for dioceses, congregations, and schools in the Episcopal Church and beyond.

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