The Digital Age has created an interconnected network of overlapping communities that is blurring the historic distinction between physical and digital. Given the evidence for the existence of these networked realities and their counterparts in the natural world, what is our theological and biblical response? This course provides students an opportunity to formulate an emerging theology of networks through which the Spirit of God works to minister to his people.
For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.
This course prepares students to think biblically and theologically about digital ministry in a variety of contexts and settings. It is needed in order to prepare students for ministry in any context including increasingly digital and online church ministry settings.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Construct a biblical theology of ministry practice for the digital age.
- Articulate a biblical and theological justification for doing digital ministry.
- Critique competing models of digital ministry from a biblical-theological perspective.
- Prepare a thoughtful and articulate written presentation of an emerging model of digital ministry for a local church in the 21st century.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations.
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. In this course, Discussion threads are required in one module: week and Discussion replies in another module: week. The student is required to create a thread in response to the instructor provided prompt for each Discussion. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge and exposure to the webinar. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to two other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.
The Discussion Threads and Replies for this course are based upon the content of the “Online Church in the Time of Coronavirus” webinars presented by the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity. The Discussion Thread and Replies Grading Rubric stipulates the criteria used to evaluate student work. (MLOs: A, B, C, D).
Research Paper Assignments
The student will prepare a major paper outlining an emerging theology of digital church ministry. The student will research and write this in 5 installments (chapters) across eight modules: weeks of the course integrated with course readings and other required course materials. The final version should run between 12-15 double-spaced pages in 12-point font conforming perfectly to Turabian style utilizing at least 10 relevant scholarly sources in addition to the required texts and the Bible. The student will write each chapter in conversation with all required readings, videos and other course materials provided for each module: week. Use of these required resources should be evident in the body of the paper through comments, footnotes, and bibliographic citations. Each chapter submitted will be part of the larger paper and should be clearly identified with its own separate heading centered on the page. (MLOs: A, B, D)
Research Paper: Introduction and Overview Assignment
Based upon the required readings and viewings for Module 1: Week 1 as well as other resources the student deems appropriate, he/she will develop a general introduction and overview that sets the groundwork of his/her initial theological reflection for his/her subsequent chapters. The first chapter or section should run between 2-3 pages, double-spaced using 12-point font, following Turabian formatting, and free from errors of grammar and syntax. (MLOs: A, B, D).
Research Paper: Network Theology Assignment
Based upon the required readings and viewings for Module 2: Week 2 and Module 3: Week 3, as well as other resources the student deems appropriate, he/she will develop a network theology of church and kingdom as it pertains to online church as a biblical-theological concept. The second chapter should run between 2-3 pages double-spaced following Turabian formatting and free from errors of grammar and syntax. (MLOs: A, B, D).
Research Paper: The Interconnected Body of Christ Assignment
Based upon the required readings and viewings for Module 4: Week 4 and Module 5: Week 5, as well as other resources the student deems appropriate, he/she will develop further and refine his/her theology of networks and the interconnected nature of church as the Body of Christ. The third chapter should run between 2-3 pages double-spaced following Turabian formatting and free from errors of grammar and syntax. (MLOs: A, B, D).
Research Paper: Digital Spiritual Formation Assignment
Based upon the required readings and viewings for Module 6: Week 6 and Module 7: Week 7, as well as other resources the student deems appropriate, he/she will develop further and refine his/her views of the nature of spiritual formation as it pertains to various forms of online church ministry. The fourth chapter should run between 2-3 pages double-spaced following Turabian formatting and free from errors of grammar and syntax. (MLOs: A, B, D).
Research Paper: Final Edits and Conclusion Assignment
The final module: week of the course is an opportunity for the student to review, edit, and finalize the content, structure, and format of his or her paper before he or she submits it for evaluation. The final edited version should also contain a short final summary or concluding paragraph that encapsulates the content of the paper. By this time, the professor should be able to see all required sources for the student's paper in the Bibliography. The final version of the paper should run between 8-12 pages, double-spaced, and using a 12-point font type like Times New Roman. (MLOs: A, B, D).
Pew Research Center Project Assignment
Using this link, the student will go to the Pew Research Center Internet and Technology website and click on the Religion tab across the top of the web page. He/she will then identify three research articles among all those provided that are of special interest to him/her. The student will read each of the three articles, reflect on their significance, and write up a report that integrates all three articles presenting: insights gained, new knowledge retained, and practical ideas obtained for carrying out digital ministry online.
The written report that the student submits should provide the bibliographic information about the three pieces he/she selected and set out the particulars of what he/she learned using the criteria in the paragraph above. The final report should run between 3-4 pages double-spaced in 12-point font applying Turabian style formatting throughout and be free from spelling and stylistic mistakes. (MLOs: A, C).