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AGTS News: AGTS dialogue invites influential church leaders to discuss social impact of the church

Watch the sessions now

Pastor Wilfredo De Jesus, pastor of New Life Covenant Church in
Chicago, Illnois, discusses New Life's best church practices.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo––The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary recently welcomed several noted church leaders in a dialogue concerning the social impact of the church within the context of recent national events. The generosity of a Kern Family Foundation (KFF) grant made this conference possible.

Beginning in 2012, the Kern Family Foundation, Inc., has awarded AGTS three separate grants to develop initiatives that integrate the theology of work and economics into educational programs. The biblical intersection of faith, work and economics leading to human flourishing in service of God’s kingdom is at the heart of all Kern grants and foundational for these dialogues at AGTS. Randy Walls, AGTS director of continuing education and Kern team member, noted that this seminar was the first pastoral dialogue at AGTS to focus on the social impact of the local church.

Taking place over February 26 and 27, the dialogue opened with the session, Facing Hard Realities: Can Dr. King’s Dream Still Be Realized? Key presenters Brian Schmidgall, pastor of Middletree Church in Ferguson, Mo.; Alex Bryant, director of the St. Louis Dream Center; and Walter Harvey, vice president of National Black Fellowship of the Assemblies of God, shared their individual stories and perspectives. Afterwards, they invited students to join the conversation with their own viewpoints and experiences.

In the next session, Transforming a Community: A Gospel-Centered Mission at New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, Illinois, Pastor Wilfredo De Jesús, pastor of New Life (and among Time magazine’s 2013 list of 100 Most Influential People) and his executive staff discussed the structure and finances of New Life’s best practices. Following the session, the New Life staff participated in a panel discussion regarding best church practices.

The last session, Civic, Social and Political Realities of Social Impact Ministry, was led by Pastor Trishia Kholodenko, executive pastor of New Life’s social outreach ministries and Veronica Ocasio, Chief of Staff at New Life. Following their presentation, students were invited to discuss the challenges and successes of their own ministry processes.

Presenter Alex Bryant was grateful to be part of the event, saying, “It was a wonderful event and I think a lot of good will come out of it.”

Another presenter, Brian Schmidgall, agreed. “It [the seminar] was very productive and the interaction was great. I had many thought-provoking conversations with others in attendance who felt honored to be invited and included in this conversation.”

Dr. Walls attributed the dialogue’s success to the excellence of its presenters. “Pastors Brian Schmidgall, Alex Bryant and Walter Harvey, set a wonderful tone for the conversation about race relations. Pastor Wilfredo "Choco” De Jesus, leader pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, along with Pastor Trishia Kholodenko and Mrs. Veronica Ocasio gave us wonderful insight into the nuts and bolts of how and why NLCC does its outreach ministries.”

Ultimately, the recent seminar was one of many unique experiences AGTS uses to effectively blend classroom scholarship with real-world ministry practice. It was an experience Efraim Espinoza, national representative for Hispanics in the Assemblies of God, could appreciate: “It was truly an enlightening experience to see our seminarians exposed to the challenge of practical application of pastoral ministry.”

All the conferees received resources to stimulate fresh thinking and resource their missions, including Dr. Charlie’s Self’s book, Flourishing Churches and Communities. They were also invited to explore the new Discipleship Dynamics Assessment, the first discipleship assessment resource that is biblically based and empirically verified, offering insights on 5 Dimensions and 40 Outcomes of the believers walk with the Lord. (See the Assessment and related resources here.) As a result of this interaction, Pastor Wilfredo de Jesús’ Church in Chicago will host a special AGTS Discipleship Network Regional Conference in August for a select group of leaders committed to whole-life discipleship integrating faith, work and economics.

Kern Seminar Video Recordings

Facing Hard Realities: Can Dr. King's Dream Still Be Realized, session 1 (February 26)


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Facing Hard Realities: Can Dr. King's Dream Still Be Realized, session 2 (February 26)


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Facing Hard Realities: Can Dr. King's Dream Still Be Realized, session 3 (February 26)


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Transforming a Community: A Gospel-Centered Mission at New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, Ill., session 1 (February 26)

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Transforming a Community: A Gospel-Centered Mission at New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, Ill., session 2 (February 26)


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Civic, Social and Political Realities of Social Impact Ministry (February 27)


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Updated: Saturday, January 23, 2016 1:59 PM

 
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