Institute fuses mission study and field work
By Holly McCray
Kingswood Institute officially launches Jan. 13 with its first class offering.
This new Oklahoma center for the study and practice of Christian mission is preparing to deliver education in five areas during 2015.
1. Addiction prevention and recovery education, taught by Peter Messiah
2. Missional communities, by Tom Hoffmann
3. Cultural diversity and ethnic ministry, by Carlos Ramirez
4. Young adult mission and service, by Charlie Ludden and Sarah Nichols
5. Global and community health, by Cherian Thomas
As students sign up for that first class — addiction education — this institute moves from concept to reality.
Jeremy Basset described Kingswood as "an expression of the Office of Mission" with a larger scope of impact. He is Office of Mission director for the Oklahoma Conference.
"We’re helping people understand the deep roots of mission," said Craig Stinson, Conference director of Connectional Ministries.
"This is mission with a capital M. We can imagine many fruitful possibilities."
According to the center’s mission statement, "The Kingswood Institute offers training and hands-on experience … in taking the Gospel from the church to the world."
The ministry of Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, was transformed when he began preaching outdoors to Kingswood coal miners rather than inside England’s churches. Thus, the institute’s name.
Perhaps you believe God is calling you to ministry in South America. As a Volunteer In Mission, you travel there and engage with the people as you serve in Christ’s name. Affirmed by that short-term experience, you pursue more transformative training at Kingswood.
Your own community provides another scenario.
Perhaps you have become aware that addiction is an issue in your town and want your church to be part of a ministry to make a difference. You enroll in a Kingswood class to learn more and help your church shape a truly effective ministry.
"We don’t want people to start programs; we want them to start ministries," Rev. Basset said.
"Ministry is expression and response to a need. Ministry is what you do until the need stops. A program is what you do until you get tired."
Kingswood has secured a location: the second floor of OKC-Wesley United Methodist Church, near Classen/Northwest 23rd intersection.
The largest class spaces are named the Aldersgate and Epworth Rooms. Equipment has been installed for live-stream learning.
Oklahoma City University and Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU have formalized partnerships with the institute, in addition to the collaboration with OKC-Wesley.
Directors have been elected, bylaws approved, and legal work completed for this separate, nonprofit entity. Kingswood, a 501(c)(3) organization, is funded by designated gifts and does not receive Apportionment support, Basset confirmed.
Some classes will offer academic credits, Continuing Education Units, or special certifications. Thus enrollment costs vary.
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