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Continuing Education for Leaders

We believe learning never ends. This space is curated to encourage, promote, and equip leaders' learning across our congregations, synod, church, and beyond.

All rostered leaders are encouraged to complete 40 hours of continuing education each year. We hope to help facilitate that goal with this space serving as a resource hub for all things related to ministry.

We’re scouring the continuing education world to find opportunities for learning to share with you here, as well. We hope this will be a great tool for you as we learn together.

Check out our resources and events below!

“Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position."

- Brian Tracy

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Tammy Jones West

Assistant to the Bishop

You are not alone. Let's learn together!

Email me with questions or ideas.

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Leadership Coaching

Ready to start making changes in your life?

Learn more about coaching and connect with a coach!

Leaders Learn Book Studies

MARCH 2021 - "JESUS VS CAESAR: For People Tired of Serving the Wrong God" by Joerg Rieger

Starting Thursday March 4th at 6:00 PM Pastor Will Rose is going to lead this book study to explore the tension between Jesus and Caesar. “The tension is not between religion and secularism, nor is it between organized religion and personal spirituality, nor even between Christianity and other religions… (rather it is the tension) between those who seek to follow Jesus instead of 'Caesar' (and other) destructive images of God.” The book even has “questions for reflection and discussion” after each chapter! This book study is for lay people and clergy, and for all ages who are interested. You can purchase the book through any major book outlets. Email Will if you are interested and he will zap you the zoom link when we get closer to the date.


If you are interested in leading a book study or have a book suggestion, please contact Tammy Jones West.

Book Studies count as 5 hours of continuing education.

What book would you like to read with your colleagues from around our synod? Email Tammy to promote the book and let’s learn together.

Lifelong Learning Grants

Rostered leaders are eligible for financial support for professional continuing education activities. Applications are reviewed quarterly.

Welcome

Continuing Education Resource Library


In the tabs along the left, you'll find continuing education content for rostered ministers, church staff, leaders, and volunteers.

Welcome!

Continuing Education Topics of Interest

Is there a topic you'd be interested in learning about with other leaders around the synod?

Submit Your Suggestion Here!

Know of something you are excited about but you don't see listed here?

Continuing Education Proposals

Let us know if you have suggestions for continuing education resources that we should consider adding to our library!

Conflict Management

Conflict Management Resources


"If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."

Matthew 18:15-20

A note from Bishop Tim…

1 Corinthians 1: 10Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided?

Some of the most amusing moments of my ministry have occurred while interviewing others to work in the various congregations I have served. “So what interests you in this secretarial position at our church?” I asked a candidate in Boone. “Well,” she replied, “I’ve worked in a law office for several years now, and I’m honestly just sick and tired of how people can treat each other so terribly, so when I saw this position advertised, I thought, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great to work in a place where everybody always gets along for a change!’” Her assumption seemed to be the rule rather than the exception: Church people always love one another, and therefore they never behave in anything other than a loving way.

She should have read St. Augustine’s daily prayer for the late 4th/early 5th century when he served as Bishop of Hippo in northern Africa. “Lord, save us from the forces of evil and from all these Christians.” Apparently the 5th century job description for bishops was similar to that of the 21st. Manage conflict. Note that I didn’t say “resolve.” That state of bliss, in between Eden and the coming fullness of the kingdom, because of sin (curved in on self) will be a constant challenge in every community. Families. Governments. Elections. And yes, congregations. Paul urges the early church in Corinth to stop their squabbling by focusing not on their constant divergence of opinion but on their common baptism into Christ.

As our NC Synod has been hard at work over the past year envisioning how best to educate and equip leaders, we’ve developed the Leaders Learn program. It seemed wise to me and to Tammy and the team who wrestled with which topics to address near the top of our Leaders Learn is, in fact, CONFLICT. We plan to do just that. Not how to sweep it under the rug in denial (most of our congregations already do that quite well), but as Deputy Barney Fife said, by noticing it, naming it, and then nipping it in the bud. Managing it.

Stay tuned for our NC Synod Leaders Learn program for both rostered leaders and lay congregational leaders, especially as we do our best through the synod staff and committees to help us all address and manage the issue of conflict. The bottom line for us is the same as for Paul and the Corinthians. Focus on Christ.

Bishop Tim Smith

Faith Formation

Faith Formation Resources


How are you being formed in faith? In this changing world, it’s easy to throw our hands up and surrender. Surrender to the temptation to claim Sunday school is not always working. I happen to worship in a community where it works and 70-80% of the worshipping community is involved. I know it’s not that way everywhere. What works? What doesn’t? How can we inspire each other to wonder about how we might do these things better?

Below are several options to help you get your Faith Formation continuing education hours in. Enjoy!

  • All Faith Formation Resources
  • Continuing Education Options
  • Recommendations

Life Together

Book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Yale Religion Courses

Online | 30 Hours | Free

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ELCA YM Extravaganza

Face to Face | 20 Hours | $280.00

Contact us to learn more!

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Youth & Family Network Meetings (Monthly)

Face to Face | 90 Min Each | Free

Contact us to learn more!

Visit Link

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Matthew 28:19-20

Financial Stewardship

Financial Stewardship Resources


The vision of the North Carolina Synod is to invest in, inspire and equip steward leaders and congregations, creating a culture of generosity for the sake of God’s mission. Our Synod has an active table of steward leaders who stand ready to help leaders and congregations. Let me know if you are interested in one of our programs or if there is a stewardship need you have that these programs do not address.

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  • Financial Stewardship Resources
  • Recommendations

Walter Brueggeman on Money and Possessions

From the “Simple Living Works!” Podcast

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Why Don’t More People Give? Here’s why.

Among pastors and church leaders, this has to be one of the most common laments. “Why don’t people give more?” we ask.

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Financial Rules of Thumb for Clergy

Considering The Possible Advantages of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for Clergy

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Faith + Finances + Freedom Brochure

Building sound financial practices through education for our rostered ministers.

View Document

Portico Pre-Retirement Webinar

Portico pre-retirement webinars make it easy to learn about retirement planning anytime, anywhere. This free series is led by a team of experienced retirement specialists from Portico.

Watch Video

10 Minute Toolbox – Stewardship is Hope

Stewardship is Hope. Stewardship doesn’t have to be a chore. Pastor Mike Ward of Gronlund Sayther Brunkow (GSB) shares the hope he finds in the ministry of Stewardship.

Watch Video

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21

North Carolina Synod Options:

Stewardship for all Seasons
A year-round stewardship program with mentoring from Pastor Mike Ward

Faith+Finances+Freedom
This is the program developed after extensive research of leaders in our Synod, designed to address the economic challenges facing rostered leaders. The program has Three Ways to Win: We will assist in promoting Healthy Leaders who will in turn lead Vital Congregations who in turn will contribute to Fourishing Communities. The major elements of Faith + Finances + Freedom are as follows:

Lifeline Distribution Fund
Designed to alleviate education debt, credit card debt, emergency needs, retirement savings, emergency savings, and partnering congregations who are interested in affording a full-time pastor.

  • Educating rostered leaders about financial well-being through programs like Financial Peace University, Good $ense and free financial planning
  • Educating lay leaders in congregations about financial well-being through a series of videos called “Mike at the Mic”; and a pre-assembly Workshop in 2017 for church treasurers and financial secretaries.

Health & Wholeness

Health and Wholeness Resources


The Wholeness Wheel is increasingly used by ELCA individuals and organizations as an important learning and discernment tool. It illustrates that wellness is multi-dimensional — made up of spiritual, vocational, intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and financial dimensions of well-being.

Spiritual well-being is intertwined with and influences our well-being in all other dimensions.

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  • Recommendations
  • Resource Documents

Living Well

Christian Practices for Everyday Life

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Road to Emmaus

Learning through the Wholeness Wheel

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Leading Well

A learning retreat for congregational leaders

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Just One Week

A challenge from Portico.

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The Wholeness Wheel

The Wholeness Wheel is increasingly used by ELCA individuals and organizations as an important learning and discernment tool.

Visit Link

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21

North Carolina Synod Options:

Stewardship for all Seasons
A year-round stewardship program with mentoring from Pastor Mike Ward

Faith+Finances+Freedom
This is the program developed after extensive research of leaders in our Synod, designed to address the economic challenges facing rostered leaders. The program has Three Ways to Win: We will assist in promoting Healthy Leaders who will in turn lead Vital Congregations who in turn will contribute to Fourishing Communities. The major elements of Faith + Finances + Freedom are as follows:

Lifeline Distribution Fund
Designed to alleviate education debt, credit card debt, emergency needs, retirement savings, emergency savings, and partnering congregations who are interested in affording a full-time pastor.

  • Educating rostered leaders about financial well-being through programs like Financial Peace University, Good $ense and free financial planning
  • Educating lay leaders in congregations about financial well-being through a series of videos called “Mike at the Mic”; and a pre-assembly Workshop in 2017 for church treasurers and financial secretaries.

Ministry Resources

Ministry Resources for NC Synod Leaders


Find devotions and bible resources, recommendations, and videos / webinars.

  • All Ministry Resources
  • Devotions & Bible Resources
  • Recommendations
  • Video / Webinar Resources

Bible App: Adventure Bible Games for Kids

(HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc)

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Bible Devotions

Find a variety of online resources for men, women, and families

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Chuck Knows Church

(short videos on church terms)

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G_dcast

(Old Testament animated videos)

Visit Link

HomeWord

Family Devotions by Jim Burns

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Reading the Bible

Resources for all ages at Vibrant Faith at Home

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The Work of the People

Check out the videos for worship in the Visual Liturgy section!

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On a Budget

Continuing Education for Leaders on a Budget


So, you have a small budget for continuing education. How might you complete your 40 hours?

Let’s start here!

Found something you are excited about but you need more financial support?

Leaders Learn Continuing Education Grants

Apply for a Leaders Learn Continuing Education Grant for Rostered Leaders. Applications are reviewed quarterly and most be postmarked by March 1, June 1, September 1, or December 1 for consideration.

Video Courses

NC Synod Video Courses


We are committed to lifelong learning. In addition to our Leadership School courses, we are planning several video courses that will initially take place “live” but be recorded for others to use.

Our first video course is Israel and Palestine Conflict: A Christian Perspective. This course was primarily taught by Michael Connor, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Connor first visited Israel and the West Bank in October 2012 as part of a mission trip arranged by Mission Opportunities Short Term (MOST) and Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem. He was inspired by community initiatives led by Dr. Rev. Mitri Raheb to provide hope and purpose in Palestine. Dr. Connor currently leads the Palestine Ministry at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury, North Carolina, which partners with Bright Stars of Bethlehem.

In 2017, Dr. Connor spent 3 months in Palestine and Israel as a volunteer Ecumenical Accompanier, providing “protective presence” for people like bedouin shepherds and schoolchildren in the South Hebron Hills area of the occupied West Bank. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme is under the auspices of the World Council of Churches.

Dr. Connor is a retired biostatistician with over 40 years of professional experience in health care analytics and research. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and master’s and doctor of public health degrees in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Rev. Rhodes Woolly, St. John’s, Salisbury co-teaches one of the classes as well. Rhodes Woolly is the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC. For 22 years he has served congregations in Virginia and North Carolina, with particular focus on discipleship, ancient-future worship, global engagement, and finding clarity in the Christian narrative. Of late he has been interested in leveraging the church as the natural location for “conversations that matter,” and developing a new model that connects faith, vocation, and leadership. He has degrees from Lenoir-Rhyne, the University of South Carolina, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and is currently enrolled in a doctor of ministry program at Emory University. In addition to his work at St. John’s, he serves on the Board of Trustees at Lenoir-Rhyne, the LTSS Advisory Council, the Board of Directors of Downtown Salisbury, Inc, and as a third grade reading mentor.

Thank you both for your leadership!

Virtual Gathering Workshops 2020

NC Synod Gathering Virtually Workshops

In 2020, we were unable to meet in-person for our first annual Synod Gathering due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So several of many continuing education workshops planned for the summer event were transitioned and held virtually in the fall, instead. Here you'll find many recordings and valuable content from those workshops which can be referenced and used in your ministry context.

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  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Attitude Impacts Outcome
  • Faith and Science
  • Opioid Crisis
  • Rule of Love
  • Virtual Gathering Workshops 2020

THE OPIOID CRISIS: The Faith Community Responds

Workshop Facilitated by Elizabeth Brewington

In 2018, 6 North Carolinians a day died due to an unintentional medication or drug overdose. As people of faith we are called to respond to this overdose crisis with compassion and fight the stigma that is so prevalent when it comes to drug use. This session covered basics of what is going on in the state and country when it comes to the overdose crisis, what is harm reduction, how harm reduction connects to our faith, and ways that faith communities can respond to this crisis.

SEE ALSO: The Opioid Crisis Follow-Up Information

View Document

MINISTRY IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Workshop Facilitated by The Rev. Malcom Lerch

You likely have a Community College near you. Like your congregation, the community college changes lives. This workshop explores ways you can get involved in your community college, grow personally, and share your talents in a very diverse community.

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SUPPORTING THE SIGNATURE MINISTRIES OF THE ELCA

Workshop Facilitated by The Rev. Marissa Krey

Being church together means you are already a part of transformational ministries with a global impact. Are you curious about what’s new at ELCA World Hunger? Itching for an update from Global Mission? This session explores the activities of our church on a global scale, and how you and your congregations are an integral part of these life changing ministries.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF ENGAGING QUESTIONS AROUND FAITH & SCIENCE

Workshop Facilitated by The Rev. Will Rose

One of the answers young adults give when asked why they leave “organized religion” is the perception that the Church is “anti-science”. We don’t have to have all the answers but we can be more permission giving and open when it comes to the big questions we all wrestle with. This workshop explores some of these questions and provides resources in engaging them.

SEE ALSO: Session Prep & Recommended Resources

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ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP IN ACTION: Moving to Change

Workshop Facilitated by Bishop Erik Gronberg, PhD

Systems theory has become well known across the church in recent years. Understanding and diagnosing the system leaders can identify where the system is operating well, and more frequently, not well. The challenge is how to move beyond identifying and diagnosing the system into leading change. Adaptive leadership provides tools for moving to action. Designing leadership experiments, gaining small wins, can help move a broken system into action and greater health.

SEE ALSO: Adaptive Leadership Presentation Slides

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THE RULE OF LOVE: A Reverse Confession of Sin

Workshop Facilitated by The Rev. Dr. Keith Copeland

We confess that we have sinned by not loving God with our whole heart and not loving our neighbors as ourselves. What if a congregation had a vision in their own words of what that love should look like in practice? The Rule of Love is a behavioral covenant process engaging the whole congregation. Participants will be introduced to this tool for making love the rule of life and relationship.

SEE ALSO: Rule of Love Introductory Video & Rule of Love Handout

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ATTITUDE IMPACTS OUTCOME: Moving Beyond COVID-19 Fears to Greater Faith & Congregational Vitality

Workshop Facilitated by The Rev. Jeff Linman

The events of 2020 have stirred fear throughout the world and within the church. Prior to the pandemic, 80-90% of congregations in the United States were plateaued or declining. Many were worried about their future. It’s too soon to know what impact the pandemic will have on the church. Some congregations may be revitalized. Others may be demoralized. Two things are certain: 1. Change is coming and congregational life will look different. 2. The attitude of congregational leaders and members will impact their future. Moving beyond fear and anxiety is an essential first step in our journey forward. This workshop offers a simple process to help congregations move from fear to faith and from despair to hope as they re-gather by sharing their fears and focusing on God’s abundance rather than their limitations. The result: greater congregational vitality!

SEE ALSO: Session Prep & Additional Resources

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ATTITUDE IMPACTS OUTCOME: Session Prep Blog

We’re All Start-Ups Now by Carey Nieuwhof

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ATTITUDE IMPACTS OUTCOME: Session Prep Blog

5 Big Attitude Differences that Separate Growing Churches from Declining Churches by Carey Nieuwhof

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FAITH AND SCIENCE: Session Prep Podcast

Listen to a conversation and interview with Ilia Delio on episode 134 of Pete Enns’ podcast, The Bible for Normal People, entitled “Grounding God in Evolution”

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FAITH AND SCIENCE: Recommended Resource

Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science, and Technology (subscribe to their newsletter)

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FAITH AND SCIENCE: Recommended Resource

Science for the Church: Bridge-builders of faith, science, and and culture (subscribe to their email list)

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FAITH AND SCIENCE: Recommended Resource

BioLogos – God’s Word. God’s World.

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FAITH AND SCIENCE: Recommended Resource

Center for Christogenesis: Exploring Love at the Heart of the Universe – founded by Ilia Delio

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Continuing Education Events

May 16 @ 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Thriving Beyond COVID

Zoom

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May 17 - May 21

Festival of Homiletics

Online

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May 18 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Stepping Up to Supervision: Webinar 3 of 6

Zoom

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May 20 @ 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

ACEs & Addictive Disease: The BIG Picture!

Webinar

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May 20 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Small Church Series: Websites

Webinar

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May 25 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Stepping Up to Supervision: Webinar 5 of 6

Zoom

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June 17 @ 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Thriving Beyond COVID

Zoom

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June 18 @ 8:45 AM - 3:00 PM

Hood Symposium “Re-Imagining Church”

Zoom

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July 7 @ 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Mere Science and Christian Faith [1 of 4]

Online

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July 14 @ 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Mere Science and Christian Faith [2 of 4]

Online

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July 21 @ 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Mere Science and Christian Faith [3 of 4]

Online

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July 28 @ 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Mere Science and Christian Faith [4 of 4]

Online

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October 11 - October 13

2021 Fall Convocation

Lutheridge

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June 2, 2022 - June 4, 2022

2022 Synod Gathering

Lenoir-Rhyne University

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