Foundations Judson Communities

What is FJC?

 FOUNDATIONS Judson Communities is a certificate level, theological education program sponsored by Central Baptist Theological Seminary aimed at pastors and church leaders originally from Burma that have been resettled in the USA. Church leaders with roots in Burma make dramatic cultural and lifestyle changes while leading congregations making similar adjustments. Many of these church leaders might not be fully prepared to meet the new situations they face in the US. The goal of the FJC program is to better equip church leaders to lead their congregations in the US by providing training in a language fully understood by those taking the course. Thus, FJC courses are taught in Karen, Burmese, Kachin or what ever language is best understood by those taking the class.

 

Graduates and Commencement in Feb. 2016

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Class Schedules 2015

 

FOUNDATIONS Judson Communities

Schedule for Oakland, CA
Oakland Burmese Mission Baptist Church

Classes Held at:
534 22nd St.
Oakland, CA 94612

Date – Course – Instructor

July 18, 2015 –  Baptist Heritage – Dr. Anna May Say Pa

August 1, 2015 – Old Testament – Dr. Anna May Say Pa

August 15, 2015 –  New Testament – Rev. Dr. Naw San Dee KD

August 29, 2015 – Systematic Theology – Rev. Dr. Lone Wah Lazum

September 12, 2015 – Christian Education/Sunday School – Rev. Mahn Joseph

September 26, 2015 – Counseling – Sayama Hsi Mu

October 10, 2015 – Conflict Transformation – Rev. Bawm Luk Lagwi

October 24, 2015 –  Ministry Ethics – Rev. Noel S. Laphai

November 7, 2015 – Human Sexuality and the Bible – Rev. Dr. Naw San Dee KD

November 21, 2015 – Youth Ministry & Generational issues – Rev. Dr. Lone Wah Lazum

December 5, 2015 – Missional Church – Rev. Steve Bils

January 9, 2016 – Congregational Nurture/Special Services- Rev. Zauya Lahpai

January 23, 2016 – Church Administration – From ABC/USA

February 6, 2016 –  Local Ministry in America – Rev. Dr. Ler Htoo

Classes begin at 9:00 am and end at 5:00 pm with a one hour break for lunch.

 

Offering Classes

  1. Old Testament: A Brief Overview
  2. New Testament: A Brief Overview
  3. Human Sexuality and the Bible
  4. Systematic Theology
  5. Baptist Heritage: A Brief Overview
  1. Church Administration: includes legal matters, non-profit status, tax issues, performing weddings, licensing,  etc.
  2. Ministry Ethic
  3. Missional Church
  1. Local Ministry in America: includes Counseling and other matters different than might be encountered in Burma.
  2. Conflict Transformation
  3. Youth Ministry and Generational Issues
  4. Christian Education/Sunday School
  5. Counseling
  6. Congregational nurture and special services
 

FJC program

 

Goals of FJC:

  1. Better prepare and equip pastors and leaders of congregations of people that have been resettled in the USA from Burma/Myanmar to lead their churches and to better help individuals become better church members.
  2. Provide a basic level of preparation for church leaders with Burma roots and document the training so that US regional representatives and US denominational leaders can better understand where people from Burma/Myanmar fit into US church organizations and so that at least some of the church leader’s training is recognized in the US.
  3. Make training available in a number of strategic locations around the US so that as many as possible can participate.
  4. Teach in the language best understood by those taking the classes.
  5. Make the training flexible to meet the needs of the students in any particular location.

Methodology:

 

Central Seminary originally developed the FOUNDATIONS program to help provide a basic level of training for Spanish speaking pastors in the Kansas City area. The original course offerings were then expanded and adapted so that currently, a selection of 14 classes now comprises the full FJC program.

There is a pool of qualified instructors in the US who can teach in the Burmese, Karen, Kachin and other languages. These instructors are recruited to teach the courses. For some subjects where an “American” based view might desired, English-speaking instructors are used with translation.

Classes are scheduled at strategic locations to attract as many students as possible in a given area. Classes are generally held every other Saturday for about 7 months, for a total of 14 class sessions. On each class day, eight hours of training will be provided on a particular subject. For those that complete all 14 class sessions or who do not miss more than 2 classes, a certificate from Central Baptist Theological Seminary will be awarded. However, students are welcome to attend individual classes even if they can’t participate in the full program.

 

Administration and Personnel:

FJC is being organized and implemented by Duane & Marcia Binkley, jointly-appointed missionaries by International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Drawing upon their mission experience with the Karen people and their contacts among the Karen, Chin, Kachin and other communities around the US, the Binkley’s are partnering with Central Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS) to implement the FJC program.

CBTS administers the program with help from local partners. Funds are held and accounted for by CBTS. Dr. Robert Johnson, Academic Dean supervises all academic aspects of the program and Dr. John Gravley, Vice President for Development supervises the non-academic portions of the program.

Finances:

Costs at any location will vary depending on how far instructors must travel, whether any teaching materials need to be reproduced, how many students attend, etc. Generally, the classes will take place at a local church and all students will pay their own transportation and pay a tuition fee of $40 per class session. Housing for students and the instructors will also be provided by the host community/church, as well as a lunch on class days. Student fees are used to cover the travel costs of instructors, an honorarium for instructors, teaching materials and any other costs of the program. It is estimated that each class session will require a minimum of 20 students in order to cover the costs of administering the program. To provide additional funding, outside grants are sought.

 

Course Subjects:

  1. Old Testament: A Brief Overview
  2. New Testament: A Brief Overview
  3. Human Sexuality and the Bible
  4. Systematic Theology
  5. Baptist Heritage: A Brief Overview
  1. Church Administration: includes legal matters, non-profit status, tax issues, performing weddings, licensing, etc.
  1. Ministry Ethics
  2. Missional Church
  1. Local Ministry in America: includes Counseling and other matters different than might be encountered in Burma.
  1. Conflict Transformation
  2. Youth Ministry and Generational Issues
  3. Christian Education/Sunday School
  4. Counseling
  5. Congregational nurture and special services
NOTE: Course selection and content may vary depending on local needs and desires and in consideration of instructors’ backgrounds and areas of expertise.
 

 Course Descriptions

FOUNDATIONS JUDSON COMMUNITIES COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

 

Baptist Heritage

Baptist Heritage offers a basic introduction to Baptist history from its origins to the present. This course will introduce the student to the basic Baptist doctrinal distinctive, history, and practices and include a brief look at various Baptist groups in the USA.

 

Church Administration

Church Administration guides the student in reflecting upon some of the basic leadership skills needed for leading a church. Topics include the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, administrative approaches, budget preparation, planning, problem solving, leading meetings, educational programming and establishing and maintaining a non-profit organization.

 

Local Ministry in America

Local Ministry in America will address a variety of topics important to good ministry like pastoral leadership, the pastor and worship, managing conflict, and other timely matters of importance to congregational health. The intent is to provide relevant information and reflection on issues related to ministry leadership particularly in areas that might differ from what might have been the norm in Burma.

 

Ministry Ethics

Ministry Ethics guides the student in confronting some of the major ethical issues commonly faced in ministry. Among the topics touched upon are professional boundaries, responsible sexuality, plagiarism and preaching, pastoral care in bioethical situations (bioethics relates to issues of life and death like thinking about whether it is right to have an abortion, should the machines in the hospital be unplugged when there is little hope for healing), financial accountability, and self-care for the pastor.

 

Missional Church

Missional Church offers a basic introduction to the complex dynamics of the church in relation to today’s culture. The study introduces models for understanding the church’s mission or purpose and tries to help us understand the church’s purpose in relation to the world, our nation and our community. The idea is to determine what is God’s mission for each church.

 

New Testament

The New Testament course will introduce students to the background and development of the New Testament. Major New Testament books are introduced in the context of the developing theological traditions of early Christianity while thinking about what the New Testament has to say about our life in America today.

 

Old Testament

Old Testament presents an overview of the Old Testament, focused around biblical Israel’s story. Major books of the Old Testament are introduced from the context of the theological development within ancient Israel’s faith tradition while thinking about what the Old Testament has to teach us about finding ourselves living in the USA.

 

Systematic Theology

This course will cover basic theological concepts such as creation, humanity/sin, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Church/Salvation, and revelation. The goal is to help students be able to articulate their basic theological beliefs that undergird their faith and to better understand the various theological views one might encounter while living in the US.

 

Christian Education/Sunday School

This course is intended to encourage each person to become the fullest development of God’s people, both as individual believers and as productive members of the Body of Christ through a practical, in depth Christian Educational Ministry. Its primary focus is on the church and includes biblical education related to the family and church school in the cross-cultural and inter-generational settings of our Burmese speaking churches in America. It will strengthen all participant’s faith and ministry, as well as deepen the vitality of Christ’s work everywhere.

 

Conflict Transformation

Jesus came so we can be one in the Spirit, but differences in opinion can lead to conflict in the church which can lead to division. This course will take a biblical look at conflict and help show ways to understand the source of problems and look for ways to transform differences into positive and uniting action.

 

Counseling

Many church members have lived through difficult times before arriving in the US, then find the difficulties continue or maybe increase once they are here. This course will give basic principles of counseling to show how to best provide the help that church members want and need and allow time to think and discuss some of the issues confronting church members.

 

Human Sexuality and the Bible

Homosexuality and the issue of “gay marriage” is dividing the church all across America. This class will look at all sides of the issue to give a balanced view of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. With balanced information, the student can then decide where they want to stand.

 

Congregational Nurture & Special Services

This course will discuss how the church can best meet the unique needs of its members as they adjust to life in America. The challenges confronting congregations will be considered along with ways to address these matters. In addition, special services like weddings, baptisms and communion will be covered so students will know how and why these services are conducted as they are.

 

Youth Ministry and Generational Issues

When people move from a country like Burma and come to the US, usually the older generation works to create a church like they had or wanted to have in their homeland while the younger generation becomes more at home in the American culture and language. This course will look at some of the characteristics of American youth culture and then look at ways the church with roots in Burma can best work with their youth in America.

FJC Program to Date:

 

So far, Karen churches have shown the most interest in having FJC classes and the program has been endorsed by the Karen Baptist Churches in the USA (KBC-USA). The first FJC program was held in Ft. Wayne, IN beginning in Sept. 2012 with classes taught in the Karen language. Since then, FJC Programs in the Karen language have been completed in Utica, NY; New Bern, NC; Nashville, TN; and St. Paul, MN. All together, 211 Karen church leaders have completed the FJC Programs and have received Certificates from Central Seminary. These students have come from 16 States and 36 cities/communities. We look forward to the first Burmese language classes getting started and additional courses and languages being added in the near future.

Revised April 17, 2015