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Join the Next Cohort!
Curated Coaching Cohorts for Pastors, Students, & Content Creators!
- 6-months, Limited to 12 people
- “I’ll help you process challenging biblical content and give you tools for formation.”
- $200 per month or $1,100 up front
- Join the Waiting List Now!
Curated cohorts for who want to bring depth to their ministries.Apply Now
First Session Overview
Semester 1: Reimagining Paul for Preaching, Teaching, & Content Creation
1) Stepping into Paul 2,000 Years Later. When we talk about the New Testament, we are talking about a set of diverse documents composed in strange soil. The 2,000 year culture gap between us and Paul (and Jesus, of course!) is a challenge for interpretation, in its own right. However, the challenge is more complex than that. We also have 2,000 years of inherited traditions for interpreting the letters of Paul that layer assumptions upon more assumptions about the Apostle’s vision of God’s Kingdom, the church, and ultimately Jesus. This session will be a conversation where we talk about what others have talked about when they talk about Paul.
2) Paul’s Jewish World: Grace Already Existed. Once we understand the conversation that has been happening around Paul through church tradition and modern scholarship, we then have to ask: Where is our place in that story? The side of ancient history seems to show us a Jewish world where grace was central to the identity of God’s people. Grace was real before Jesus. Yet, we proclaim that grace is only found in Jesus. So, how would Paul’s gospel have been understood in his Jewish context? The answer has massive ramifications for how we talk about the good news of Jesus in our day.
3) Paul’s Roman World: Who is Lord of the Cosmos? Not only did Paul’s gospel about Jesus emerge from his Jewish context, but it was born within a larger story world: the Roman Empire. It is en vogue to bring up Rome in preaching and other Christian content today, but many folks have not actually tried to fully step into that world. When we do, the Paul’s gospel takes on another confrontational layer that has its own massive ramifications for what it means to be the people of God in the 21st century.
4) Framing Romans for Communication. Paul’s letter to the Roman Jesus followers is perhaps the most written about piece of literature in history. Commentaries saturate the modern theological market of ideas as well as those of antiquity. Most of us who come from some form of evangelical and/or protestant churches were likely taught that Romans is Paul’s greatest theological treatise. But when you get into this letter, it is clearly so much more than a systematic theology textbook! Although loaded with theological significance, Romans addresses gentile Jesus followers in contested spaces of imagination and allegiance. Will they allow their collective hearts and minds to be shaped by Roman ideology or will they crucify their arrogance toward their Jewish neighbors? This is real-world conflict resolution at its finest, something we really need in our world today.
5) Framing Galatians for Communication. In Galatians, Paul tells his story. Autobiography is the most reliable source we have in many cases of historical inquiry. Based on this, the author of Acts constructs (perhaps with other sources) the “Damascus Road” narrative about Paul’s transformation. How we understand this event is central to how we understand Paul and proclaim in in various ways as pastors, teachers, students, and content creators. Galatians deals with conflicts and societal pressures in ways that connect with the challenges of following Jesus in our day as well. Who do we eat with? Where can we opt into the local and imperial festivities? Where must we opt out? What does the gospel message about Jesus rescue us from and for? Add to all of this the curious issue of the ‘snip-snip’ controversies in Galatia (i.e. circumcision) and things get interesting.
6) New Creation, Not Heaven & Other Things We Can’t Afford to Get Wrong About Paul. Paul has a massive vision that is summarized by the word “gospel.” That is a term that means something different to people depending on the tradition we’ve been reared in. Understanding Paul’s expansive vision of God’s good news through Jesus the Messiah is critical in a day when Christianity seems to be fading out of relevance in some spaces of culture. This final session will explore various issues like gospel, heaven, hell, eschatology, and mission in Paul.
Future Semesters (Tentative):
- How to Read the Bible: And Teach it Too
- Deconstructing / Reconstructing with Jesus (Women, LGTBQ, Holy Spirit, Evolution, Politics, etc.)
- Science and the Scriptures
- The Gospels for Today’s Church and World
- End Times Beyond “Pan-millennialism”: Why Eschatology Matters and How to Talk About It
- Making Disciples: Spiritual Formation for the 21st Century Church
- Framing Paul’s Letters for Transformation
- The Kingdom
- Session Themes prompted by the cohort
Who is This For?
- Seminary Students
- Armchair Theologians
- Christian Leaders
- Life-Long Students of the Scriptures
- Disciples of Jesus
What Do I Get?
- 6 live monthly video calls with your cohort (about 12) with 2 hours of teaching and dialogue (via Zoom)
- 1 monthly private coaching call with Kurt for 1-hour related to each person’s ministry, writing, podcasting, or learning goals
- Private online community for ongoing engagement throughout the month and collaboration with cohort members and Kurt
- Access to video sessions to rewatch or catch up if you missed a call
Kurt Willems (MDiv, MA) is the founding lead pastor of Pangea Church. He earned a Master of Divinity from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and a Master of Arts in Comparative Religion from the University of Washington where he focused on the writings of Paul in his ancient Roman context. Kurt writes for various print and online publications including his site The Pangea Blog and is also on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. He also curates a resource website, Theology Curator, which hosts two podcasts: The Paulcast: A Podcast All About the Apostle Paul (featured on iTunes “new and noteworthy” for religion podcasts) and Rapture Drill: Reframing Revelation, the End Times, and Our Weird Obsession with the Apocalypse.
Kurt writes broadly on themes related to Anabaptism within post-Christendom. Inviting the church to see the beauty of a nonviolent Jesus and the subversive nature of God’s Kingdom are just some of the key issues he engages. Kurt also utilizes the blogosphere to wrestle with various other theological, missional, formational, and cultural topics. Through speaking and writing, he urges others to both know and follow the resurrected Jesus on a countercultural mission of love.
Prior to planting Pangea, Kurt served in various pastoral capacities, including student ministries. He and his wife Lauren (special education teacher) moved to Seattle in the summer of 2013. They are the founding church planting couple, along with their daughter Lydia and puppies Sadie & Mylee.
To get a basic “feel” for Kurt’s approach to Christianity, you might start with his popular article: “8 Signs that you Might be an Evangelical Reject.”
What Do I Invest?
- $200 per month with a commitment of 6 months (no drop outs please). Or $100 off if paid up front at $1,100 (USD)
- Participation in video calls for at least 5 of the 6 sessions to encourage community
- Ongoing engagement in the Slack community, sharing ideas, resources, questions, etc.
- Read parts of books or articles that Kurt recommends as prep for the sessions
- 1 hour solo conversation with Kurt each month
- Join the Waiting List by filling out the application.
- After the next cohort is ready to begin, you will be notified to pay for the registration fee to secure your spot in the group.
- If your application isn’t a fit for some reason, we will notify you and refund you.
- We then set you up in an online group, where you can ask questions and connect (via Slack).
- Set up your first 1-hour Coaching Call with Kurt, prior to our first group session.
- The first group session begins and we will start a journey together throughout this first semester, and hopefully, beyond!
Group Session Dates:
- To Be Announced.