Sunday, June 15, 2008

Training through Networks

You’ve heard of classes and courses, intensives and modules. Now there’s a growing interest in theology and ministry training through networks.

This isn’t just a matter of semantics. Networks bring people together (permanently or for a set term) around a shared interest or learning objective (e.g. New Testament Studies, John’s Gospel Scholars, Rural Ministry, Emerging church, Peace Studies and Peacemaking).

Networks are about equality—everyone with the same right to share resources in person or it is often done or supplemented through the Internet by email, Yahoo Groups or a social networking platform like Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. Just this week on Facebook there have sprung up networks (or groups) called Empowering Peacemakers in your Community, the Australian Public Theology Network and the Baptist Historical Society.

‘Attendance’ on a network isn’t usually required or stipulated as in a traditional course. It becomes more a case of ‘take it or leave it’ which seems to suit the new generation of learners.

Darren Cronshaw writes: “At the Baptist Union of Victoria (Australia) we are developing a Leadership Training Network to gather together those interested or involved in training for networking, information sharing and inspiration.”

Check out this link to read more of its purposes and how it operates.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: A diagram of a network.