It can be difficult to find theologically rich adult study resources, but a new program is filling that gap.
The Wesley Theological Seminary Lay Academy offers 11 online courses covering a variety of topics including Methodist identity, early church history, Christian ethics, interfaith relations, and the intersection of faith and science. Laypeople can earn a certification in Wesleyan Studies by completing six of the courses online, or can choose to take courses individually for personal education and enrichment.
All 11 courses in the Lay Academy feature half-hour video lectures filmed in Oxford, England, with the world’s leading Wesleyan scholars and historians.
“I am blown away by the caliber of instructors presenting in these courses,” says Rev. Wendy Mohler-Seib, an ordained United Methodist elder in Kansas. “These scholars are the best of the best, and represent scholarship from all over the world.”
The Wesley Lay Academy represents a new way of making high-quality theological instruction broadly accessible and for seminaries to connect with laypeople in the local church.
“The Wesley Lay Academy makes seminary-level education available to all dedicated Christians desiring to love God with their whole mind,” says Beth Ludlum, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
The seminary partnered with the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute for Discipleship to make these courses available online. The Institute for Discipleship, based at United Methodist-affiliated Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, has a 10-year history of making Christian discipleship courses available online, and traces their roots back to DISCIPLE Bible Study.
“When my folks, Richard and Julia Wilke, developed DISCIPLE Bible Study 30 years ago, one of their dreams was to help more people have access to the top scholars of our faith. The Wesley Lay Academy follows in that tradition,” says Steve Wilke, executive director of the Institute for Discipleship. “For Christians who are lifelong learners, the Wesley Lay Academy gives access to world class lectures and the opportunity to discuss topics with depth and meaning. If you’re someone who always dreamed of sitting in on a seminary class to experience great professors and engaging discussion, this is your chance. And, you won’t have to complete any papers or tests, and you can do it all without leaving your home,” Wilke adds. “We need laity in every church who can ground their faithful living in a deep understanding of Wesleyan thought and think critically about the issues of our day.”
All courses in the Wesley Lay Academy are available online at BeADisciple.com at a cost of $50.00 each. Classes will be offered on a regular schedule starting in January, 2017. More information about the Wesley Lay Academy and the certification in Wesleyan Studies can be found at http://www.beadisciple.com/wesley/.