The content of the OpenseminaryTM program, a blended online degree program leading to a Master of Theological Studies degree, is based on six modules, each of which focuses on a local church practice or area that is fundamental to successful church ministry: (1) Theologia (Doing Theology in Context); (2) Koinonia (Leading and Building Community); (3) Kerygma (Communicating the Gospel); (4) Leitourgia (Leading People in the Presence of God, or Worship); (5) Diakonia (Missional Service); and (6) Paideia (Spiritual Formation).
Module 1:Theologia (Doing Theology in Context)
Student-learners explore the constructive relationship between theological reflection and the socio-cultural contexts in which such reflection takes place. This module addresses three fundamental questions: (1) What are the dynamics of doing theology in context?, (2) In what ways are theology and context mutually influenced and determined?, and (3) How do we do theology in context?
Module 2:Koinonia (Leading and Building Community)
Informed by the contexts of various local churches and other ministry settings, student-learners develop a theology of Christian community. This module addresses such topics as spiritual and moral qualities of community and leadership; the emotional systems of ministry; teambuilding; the nature of change; and self-care. The module is designed to be a learning conversation about Christian community and leadership.
Module 3: Kerygma (Communicating the Gospel)
The main purpose of this module is to guide student-learners in the development of a biblical foundation for the study, research, and practice of proclamation. Learners will be introduced to different theories and modes of communication. They will address the challenges identified by communication scholars and faced by those working in the field of communication. The module emphasizes understanding the role and function of communication in church and other ministry settings. Special attention will be given to the primary message of the Church and the possibilities for contextualizing this message in various cultures.
Module 4: Leitourgia (Leading People in the Presence of God)
Student-learners will come to appreciate the cultural context of Christian worship. This module explores biblical principles and historical traditions of worship, as well as current cultural forms and perspectives. Learners will develop their own theologies of worship, and will gain skill in developing worship for their own cultural contexts. They will reflect theologically on the essential elements of Christian worship and on their capacity to shape faith communities and engage culture. The module includes a strong practical component, offering principles, methods, and skills for both the design and leadership of worship.
Module 5: Diakonia (Missional Service)
This module focuses on a biblical-theological vision for the missional nature of Christian faith and the patterns of life, action, and speech such a vision requires. Learners will form a vision for incarnational service in, with, and through the Church, in dialogue with social and cultural factors that contribute to ministry in the 21st century. The learner will identify and develop personal postures, approaches, and capacities that support effective, confident cultivation and leadership in missional communities.
Module 6: Paideia (Spiritual Formation)
This module focuses on the meaning of biblical Christianity and its relationship to faith and practice within contemporary cultural contexts. Special attention is given to the corporate dimensions of spirituality and spiritual formation, as patterned in the Old and New Testaments. Learners will develop a paradigm of spiritual growth and maturity that focuses on the community rather than on the individual. Spiritual direction is identified as a spiritual discipline that has been used from the early Christian church to the present. Learners will also explore insights for pastoral care from the field of psychology.