Ten members of the Dakotas Conference began their journey to serve as a local licensed pastors and certified lay ministers at Living Retreat Center this summer. The week long school is an intense learning experience to gain knowledge and relationships to serve local churches.
Photo: Participants in the 2014 Dakotas Conference Licensing School held at Living Waters Retreat at Lake Poinsett, South Dakota. Photo submitted by Thomas Carlson.
The learning begins before the participants arrive. There are eleven books to read and coordinating assignments that go with the reading. The topics range from pastoral care, preaching, evangelism, and The Book of Discipline.
Rev. Chet Cataldo served as the Dean of the Dakotas Conference Licensing School. Other faculty members included: Rev. Gary Ball-Kilbourne, Jodi Cataldo, Rev. Doug Diehl, Rev. Anne Dilenschneider, and Rev. Rich Zech.
There were participants from several other annual conferences including: Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri.
“I really liked the open discussion and interaction. It was an interactive format not lecture. We learned from each other. The professors learned from us and we learned from them,” described Thomas Carlson, a candidate for local licensed pastor.
The intense learning experience allows participants to practice preaching and give each other feedback. The feedback provides a forum for encouragement and ongoing support for the participants.
One of the biggest challenges is dong the preparation work before you arrive for the weeklong experience. “It is really challenging to find the time to do all of the reading and assigments,” said Carlson.
“I had to really work hard before I came,“ stated Jim Konsor, a candidate for local licensed pastor. "I was pleasantly surprised by the relationships that were built. I really was able to connect with the instructors.”
Why would someone consider such an intense experience? Carlson describes, “It is a benefit, a huge learning experience. You will come out a changed person. Not because of the knowledge you gain but the relationships you build.”
The participants in this year's licensing school intend to keep in contact to encourage and support each other. They have formed a Facebook group to keep in contact.
The licensing school is offered every summer. If you have an interest contact Steve Trefz, Dakotas Conference Equipper of Lay Ministries by e-mail.