Series on grace coming soon

Learning tool designed for Arkansas churches, led by Wesley scholar   By Martha S. Taylor Special Contributor Later this month, a new video series, “Grace: What is it and what does it do for us?” will be the newest addition to the growing list of educational offerings on the Arkansas Conference Learning Management System (LMS). The five-part series is the work of the Rev. Andrew Thompson, Wesley scholar for the Conference and assistant professor of historical theology and Wesleyan Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary. “Coming to understand how the Scriptures talk about grace can help us understand a great deal about the ministry of Jesus Christ and about salvation itself,” Thompson says in the video segment on the nature of grace. “Grace is a rich topic in the Bible and can be best understood by looking at it from different points of view.” In the first two segments, Thompson discusses the work and nature of grace. The third segment focuses on the means of grace. The fourth segment, “Christian Community,” helps the viewer better understand what Scripture has to say about Christian community and how Methodists have some important doctrinal statements about the nature of “church.” “In the Wesleyan view, Christian community is crucial because it is only within community that we can reasonably expect to receive a living faith in Jesus Christ, and thereafter to grow in grace,” Thompson says in the fourth video segment. The nature and work of the Holy Spirit is discussed in the fifth and final segment. “If Methodist folk are unfamiliar with the central place of the Spirit in Wesley’s own theology, that’s our fault rather than his,” Thompson says in the video. “It’s also a reason to become more familiar with why Wesley believed the Spirit is central to what it means to become holy in heart and life.” Meant to be accessed by laity and clergy, the series helps viewers better understand how fundamental grace is to Methodist theology, and that it is one of the cornerstones of our unique faith perspective. The LMS is available for laity and clergy and contains videos on a number of church-related subjects.  The most recent addition to the LMS is a 12-part Communications Training series. Scheduled for mid-2014 is a how-to module that will guide participants in the steps of conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis for churches, and a piece on key drivers of church vitality. The LMS is accessible to anyone with an email address. To request one, visit