Review of the Fall 2015 Colloquy with Dr. Linda Cannell

Dr. Linda Cannell, Adjunct Professor of Christian Formation at North Park Theological Seminary (NPTS) in Chicago, was the featured speaker for Carroll Institute’s Fall 2015 Colloquy, November 16-17, which was attended by doctoral students, faculty and guests. Dr. Cannell spoke on the topic Theological Education Matters. Dr. Gene Wilkes, president of Carroll Institute, was excited about hosting Dr. Cannell as he remarked, “Linda Cannell is one of us. She has broken the code on how seminaries like Carroll equip church leaders at the local church level as part of who they are and what they do on mission with God.”

Following are some reflections on the Fall Colloquy from Carroll students and faculty. Dr. Justin Tollison, Lead Pastor at Disciple Tree Church in Blue Mound, PhD graduate of Carroll and Resident Fellow, shared his thoughts:

Dr. Justin Tollison

As a pastor and resident fellow, I found Dr. Cannell’s teaching incredibly insightful and practical. While she left me with more questions than answers, the call to critically evaluate all I do in ministry and academia was invaluable. How I teach and lead, both at the church level and in the classroom, will be forever changed because of Dr. Cannell’s heart and message at colloquy.

Dr. David Strawn is a Distinguished Fellow and Professor of Education and Administration at Carroll Institute. He recently retired as Minister of Education at First Baptist Church, College Station. From Carroll’s beginnings, Dr. Strawn caught Carroll’s vision of establishing Teaching Churches to train ministers where they live and serve. FBC College Station became one of Carroll’s first Teaching Churches. Dr. Strawn commented the following:

Dr. Linda Cannell’s presentations at the Fall Colloquy were a breath of fresh air, bringing some real life church-based experiences into our efforts to provide graduate level Christian education to church leaders. Dr. Cannell used a variety of exercises to help us identify opportunities in our teaching churches to meet needs and provide quality disciple-growing experiences for them. I came away from the colloquy with a renewed commitment to work with leaders in the Teaching Churches in Southeast Texas to assist them in discovering their challenges and finding ways that BH Carroll can partner with them in addressing those challenges.

Having doctoral students at the Carroll hub twice a year for seminars and colloquy is always a highlight for the administrative faculty and staff. Matthew Baird, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Brownfield, Texas and PhD student in the Scripture and Witness cluster, shared an inspiring testimony at the Carroll Fellowship Meal Monday evening about his experiences at Carroll and how the professors have guided his path and touched his life in meaningful ways throughout his doctoral studies. He later expressed his view about the Fall Colloquy and Dr. Cannell:

The Fall 2015 Colloquy could be defined by a single phrase, “the need to rethink theological education and its relation to the local church.” Much different from previous colloquy methods where the primary mode of instruction was lecture followed by question and answer, this year was marked by the facilitating of small group discussion as the primary means of engaging learners. Bringing this fresh approach to the bi-annual event was Dr. Linda Cannell, an expert in the field of religious education, its future, and how it applies to the local church. The subject matter is certainly near to the heart of Carroll, as seen in its investment in the teaching church model as well as educating ministers serving on the field.Throughout the three sessions the attendees were asked to cluster together to work through some vital questions posed by Dr. Cannell. For many of the linear thinkers in the room, Dr. Cannell’s teaching approach provided a rare combination of personal stretching and reflection. As opposed to the familiar assimilation of presented facts and ideas through lecture, each cluster group was encouraged to wrestle with the raw data and come to their own conclusions. The variety of ‘experiences’ all pointed to the same end: answering the question, “how should the church approach the issue of higher education?” The final session culminated with an opportunity for learners to express their ideas and conclusions with key Carroll personnel. This session provided opportunity for meaningful feedback of previous experiences. In the end, the two days were both thought-provoking and team building for those in attendance.

These kinds of responses affirm Carroll Institute’s mission of delivering accredited theological education and equipping Christian leaders in their contexts as they follow the call of Christ to minister and serve His church here and across the globe. To learn how you can support Carroll’s mission by providing scholarships for students, click here.


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Published: Nov 24, 2015


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