Summary of Speaker and Topics
Richard Beck (Abilene, Texas - ACU)
Welcoming God in the Stranger: The Theology and Practice of Hospitality
Throughout Scripture God comes to His people as a stranger and the church is commanded to practice hospitality in welcoming strangers. And Jesus was notorious for being a "friend of tax collectors and sinners." But despite all this, churches routinely struggle with welcoming others, especially those who are very different from ourselves. What is the problem? And how might we overcome these problem to create more welcoming and hospitable communities? These ABSS sessions will use Biblical text and insights from social psychology to answer these questions and provide practical solutions.
Richard Beck (PhD) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. Richard is the author of three books, Unclean, The Authenticity of Faith, and The Slavery of Death. Richard has also published widely on the intersections of Christian faith and psychology. Richard is a member of the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, TX where he is active in the adult faith and community ministries. Richard also teaches a bible class each week for inmates at the maximum security French-Robertson Unit in Abilene. Richard is married to Jana, a high-school theater teacher, and they have two teenage sons, Brenden and Aidan.
Steve Allison (Abilene, Texas - ACU)
Support Groups / Meaningful Marriages / Meaningful Relationships
In three sessions:
1. Developing & Marketing Support Groups in your Community/Church
2. Meaningful Marriages: What Christian Couples say Matters Most
3. Meaningful Friendships: Bringing Out the Best in People
Steve Allison, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist. He has worked at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX for 30 years. He is a Professor of Psychology and the Robert & Mary Ann Hall Endowed Chair of Psychology & Intercultural Studies. Steve has been involved in missionary and cross-cultural worker care and training in over 60 countries.
Patrick Boyns (Peterborough, UK - British Bible School)
Digging up the Past
Having spent just a month on an archaeological excavation in Israel last year, I am anything but an expert on the subject! However, I do think I have something to offer by way of an introduction to Biblical archaeology from a practical point of view. I have long held an interest in collecting antiquities related to Biblical life and times and familiarised myself with the history of archaeology in the once-holy land.
My two presentations will focus on the recent excavations at Tel Beth-Shemesh, looking at context and finds relating to Biblical history. I might even bring along a few old pieces by way of illustration!
Patrick has taught at the British Bible School in Corby, England, for over 20 years and has served as the principal since 2001. He is currently exceedingly busy helping develop their Distance Learning, Extension Class, and Access Learning Programmes, along with their new In-house Training options, teaching in various congregations throughout Britain. Originally from London, at 19 years of age he moved to Scotland where he was converted to the way of Christ by American servicemen from the Holy Loch submarine base. After graduating from the British Bible School he married June Smyth from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and returned to Scotland to work with the congregation in Dunoon. Patrick has served with congregations in England, spends a week each summer helping at a Bible Camp in Scotland, has taught a number of times in Malawi and is trying to develop an outreach media group in the U.K. Last summer he spent four weeks working on an archaeological excavation at Tel Beth-Shemesh in Israel. Interests include fell-walking, filming and antiquities. June sadly passed away in September 2011 and is sorely missed. They have three children: Shanae, 26; Aubrey, 25; and Rachelle, 23.
Justin Dauner (Marseille - CEM)
Christian Unity in the New Testament
Ever since the first Christians in Corinth, conflicts have threatened the unity of the church. Although the issues that cause division have changed, we still face the same challenge: to “bind [ourselves] together with peace” (Ephesians 4:3). How does the New Testament envision Christian unity? What does it call us to do to preserve and strengthen our fellowship?
Being the son of long-term missionaries to France, Justin Dauner has lived there ever since his birth in 1984. In 2002-2003, he was a student at Christians on Mission, a one-year Biblical internship in Marseilles, France. He then continued his theological training at the FLTR (Free Reformed Seminary) in Aix-en-Provence, obtaining a Master’s degree in 2014. In addition to this academic training, the FLTR requires students to undergo a one-year internship to acquire practical experience. Therefore, Justin is currently working as an intern under the supervision of the Church of Christ in Marseilles.
Mark and Sherrylee Woodward (Fort Worth, Texas - LST)
Short-term Missions in the European Context
1. Session One - The Pros and Cons of Short-Term Missions in the European Context (Many European workers have mixed feelings about the helpfulness of short-term mission groups from the US. In this hour, we can discuss what the pros and cons are as well as the changing nature of short-term missions from the U.S.)
2. Session Two - The Seven Standards of Excellence for Short-Term Missions (If both those who send as well as those who host would adopt and adhere to the Seven Standards of Excellence for Short-Term Missions, the problems would be diminished and the blessings enhanced.)
3. Session Three - The Let’s Start Talking Experience in Europe – LST has been sending groups to work in the European context since 1981. While the basic strategy is the same, the way LST works with the local churches and the variety of opportunities that are offered have continued to evolve with the times. In this session, the focus will be on what is new and improved in the LST experience.
Mark Woodward (PhD) and Sherrylee have worked with and directed the Let's Start Talking Ministry since 1980. This ministry sends Christians all over the world to share their faith with people, using both materials and a strategy that Mark and Sherrylee developed. Before that, they served eight years as full-time mission workers in Germany. Mark has also served as an elder, as chair of mission committees, and as a regular high school, college, and adult teacher in churches of Christ where they have worshipped. Both he and Sherrylee speak and teach at lectureships and for churches throughout the world. They have authored, edited, and co-authored many publications, including Let’s Start Talking: A Strategy for World Evangelism.
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And…. with Richard Beck presenting for ABSS II (Saturday Seminar)
Perfect Love Casts Out Fear: Living Into the Way of Jesus
First John declares that "perfect love casts out fear." But what, exactly, are we afraid of? And how are these fears creating obstacles to our loving others freely, joyfully, spontaneously and sacrificially? The weekend sessions of ABSS will use psychological insights and Biblical text to illuminate the fears we face and how we might "cast out" these fears as we "take up our cross" in order to "lay down our lives" in love for others.