Resources: Celebrate Dr. King’s Work and Vision

mlkAt a time when we are constantly trying to decide on the appropriate roles for Christians and the church to take in the politics of nations, it is timely that we should recall the work of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we will celebrate on Monday. King famously said, ““An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

It is essential to avoid turning the church into a vehicle for political squabbling — or even worse, into a mouthpiece for politicians. At the same time, we must acknowledge that it’s very difficult for individuals or churches to address the broader concerns of all humanity in meaningful ways without engaging political systems. King brought both his Christian vision and his church into many aspects of our culture, including the political, to work toward effecting the changes that he believed God wanted in the world. He didn’t soil his religion by interacting with politics, perhaps because his main concern was moving mountains rather than scoring points.

As we decide how the church and individual Christians should engage the world politically, we can profit from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s example. Here are some online resources to help us remember King’s life and work.

For Adults

  • YouTube has videos of several of Dr. King’s speeches, including I Have a Dream, The Other America, and I Have Been to the Mountaintop. You can also find recordings (though they lack video footage) of many of his speeches here.
  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (often called The King Center), established by Coretta Scott King in 1968, offers many resources for people who wish to learn more about King’s life and work. It includes a digital archive of thousands of writings associated with King’s work and an extensive bibliography for people who wish to read more about King and nonviolent protest.
  • Cornell University has a research guide to Martin Luther King that includes videos, recordings, transcripts of his speeches, and helpful websites as well as book recommendations. (It’s designed for use in their library, but it is very helpful for general use as well.)

For Families

  • The King Center has a page where you can download your dreams for the future and read about other people’s dreams. A great activity for kids and adults both!
  • National Geographic Kids has a kid-friendly page on King.
  • YouTube has several videos for kids about King’s life. Try this video by Kid President and this mini-biography of King’s life.
  • This short excerpt from King’s I Have a Dream speech can be used to begin discussion about the man and his work.

We hope these resources help you as you remember the Rev. King’s life this weekend and next week.












Announcing Our Next Big Class: What Would Luther Do Today? with Elizabeth Eaton


From January 16-30 2017, people across the world can take What Would Luther Do in 2017? with Elizabeth Eaton free of charge.

Elizabeth Eaton is Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America luther(E.C.L.A.). It’s safe to say that she knows a thing or two about Martin Luther — not to mention about practicing theology in the world of 2017. Who better to offer guidance as to what Martin Luther — that relentless, passionate, blunt, and gregarious theologian who knew better than most how to use the social media of his time — would act today? And how he would encourage other Christians to act?

The Big Class offers  participants multiple advantages: not only can you take a class with an excellent instructor free of charge, but you can talk about the issues that she raises with other students across the world. Big Class discussions always offer rich food for conversation and contemplation; that’s a big reason that we enjoy offering them when we can.

The class is a series of video lectures, quizzes, and discussions. No special software is required; all you need is a computer, tablet, or smart phone with internet access. It will take an average learner about 45 minutes to complete. Registration is free and open to all. Click here to learn more. 

We would like to thank to 1517 Media and United Lutheran Theological Seminary for making it possible for ChurchNext to offer this course.

For a preview of the course, please click below.

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Another Free ChurchNext Course: What Would Martin Luther Do Today? with Lutheran Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Jesus is inviting the Church to reform.

On the 500th year anniversary of Martin Luther’s historic reform work, the Presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church (ELCA) is inviting the world to commemorate the life, legacy, and relevant teachings of reformer Martin Luther by taking a free, 45-minute, pre-recorded online class. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton is a speaker, teacher, and spiritual head of 3.5 million Evangelical Lutherans worldwide.


Her class, What Would Luther Do Today? with Elizabeth Eaton is rich in resources and inspiration and will be offered for free to all January 16-30. You can register for this course right now by clicking here.

“Jesus is asking the Church to pay more attention to the issues of poverty, climate change, human rights, and ecumenism – and Martin Luther offers a profound message to us in this regard,” says Eaton, “My hope is that Christ will use this class to inspire and invigorate Christians to follow Jesus more closely, engage in positive social change, and enter the next 500 years with a renewed faith in God’s grace and providence.”

In this course, students will learn more about Luther and make relevant connections that can lead to transformation.  The class is a series of video lectures, quizzes, and discussions. No special software is required. It will take an average learner about 45 minutes to complete. Registration is free and open to all. Click here for more information and to register .

This course is made possible by the generous support of 1517 Media, United Lutheran Theological Seminary, and ChurchNext.

Want to take The Big Class with a Group?

We want to help.  So we’ve assembled these materials to help you publicize and lead this class in a congregational setting.  These materials help you lead this class in a group setting including a Poster,  Bulletin Inserts, and a Launch Plan for Congregations.

4 Classes to Enrich Your Advent Season

As we approach the third Sunday of Advent, you’re probably feeling the usual holiday excitement and bustle. You have your everyday tasks — earn a living, keep your chosen residence from falling apart, etc. — plus all the holiday activities. Decorating the tree. Present shopping. Sending Christmas cards. Holiday parties. Baking. You want to bring your kids to see The Nutcracker. There’s that amazing light show in City Park.


The Advent season is both beautiful, and challenging for Christians because in order to celebrate the season in the church, we are asked to make time for contemplation and anticipation during a busy, exciting time. Holiday season activities are usually pleasant and often special in a way that only sacred family rituals can be special. Setting up the old nativity set that your grandmother used when she was a child with the one odd-looking replacement wise man because Melchior got lost somewhere over the years. Baking the particular Christmas snickerdoodle cookies without which your brother would regard the holiday season as incomplete. Our family always decorates the tree together with a particular kind of music in the background, and we always put the Diva Angel in the prime spot under the star.

These rituals are good, and they are their own way of preparing for Christmas, but it’s important to make time for focus and contemplation among all the bustle — time to think about what happened 2000 years ago when a tiny baby named Jesus was born to a (temporarily) itinerant carpenter’s wife. Time to try to fathom the unfathomable as we prepare to light candles and sing “Silent Night,” and, again, welcome the infant Jesus into our midst.

As you seek ways to maintain balance between bustle and contemplation, we hope you will make use of these classes.They can be used in church settings, of course, but they’re also good ways to enhance your personal devotional time during this sacred season.instructor

Advent: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year with Susan Goff, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, invites us to take on some practical and inspiring disciplines in this season. Bishop Goff offers ways to contemplate more fully what it truly means to prepare for and anticipate the newness of Christ dwelling in our hearts.

Advent For Families with the Rev. Heath Howe offers ways to help families focus on Advent as a season of anticipation. Heath suggests reasons for families to celebrate Advent in their homes and offers guidance on activities and other ways for families to experience a rich Advent season together.Tim Schenk

Introduction to Advent with the Rev. Tim Schenck introduces the season of Advent to people who would like to learn more about it. Tim explores the themes, rituals, and characters on which we focus during Advent and suggests rich ways for Christians to engage the season.

j-welby-newThis Advent, we also offer The Big Class: Getting More Out of the Bible with Archbishop Justin Welby free through the entire season. This class approaches Advent as the beginning of the Church new year and discusses ways in which Christians can read scripture more often and more productively over the coming year.

We hope that you find these classes useful in enriching your  Advent season.

This Lent, Teach Your Congregation How to Share Their Faith

Evangelism is about to get easier.

As mainline denominations re-discover the importance of forming Christians who know and share their faith, some of our brightest theologians are developing new ways tk-carlson-newo help believers get there.

Announcing a brand new formation curriculum to help mainline Christians discern their faith and more easily talk about it. It’s called Speaking Our Faith™.

Based on the doctoral work of The Rev. Dr. Kit Carlson, this intensive, five-week course is designed to help participants discover and become confident in their faith, as well as develop tools to authentically share that faith with others.

“We mainline believers have a faith within us. However we’ve not always been given safe spaces to ask questions, make connections, and form vocabularies that helps us authentically articulate our beliefs. Speaking Our Faith™ uses pointed questions in safe, small group environments to help us come to know and share this intimate part of ourselves.” says Dr. Carlson.

Speaking Our Faith™ invites small groups to come together once a week for five weeks. Each session lasts 90 minutes and includes a video presentation followed by small group discussion. A robust Leader’s Guide takes leaders step by step through the five week journey. Participant Guides are also included for everyone taking part.

“Vibrant mainline Christianity is evolving into a Christ-centered, Christ-sharing environment,” says ChurchNext founder Chris Yaw, “And we’re thrilled to work with Dr. Carlson to help share her groundbreaking research and communication techniques. with others.”

Speaking Our Faith™ will be available for purchase and preview in time for Lent, 2017 for $99 per congregation or $49 for subscribing ChurchNext congregations. For more information contact us at

Just Launched — The Big Class: Getting More Out of the Bible with Archbishop Justin Welby

While January 1 gets all the fireworks, in the Church, the first Sunday of Advent starts the New Year. We’ll pause to let you enjoy a moment of celebration. Happy New Year!


(Close the ads. They go away.)

Take The Big Class: Getting More Out of the Bible with Justin Welby  for free throughout the Advent season. In this class, Archbishop Justin Welby, the 105th leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, discusses ways to approach and study scripture. He suggests programs that help us read scripture and gives us many reasons to do so. In the final lesson, Stephen Lyon, leader of  the Bible in the Life of the Church project, offers guidance for where and how we might encounter scripture in the world.

The course also includes resource suggestions, including a resource guide to studying and experiencing scripture that you can download at the end of the course and take with you.

Want change in this new year? Read scripture. That’s a big part of Archbishop Welby’s message. We don’t read the Bible because we have to. We don’t slouch resignedly through a bunch of pages that we don’t really understand because that’s what Christians do. We come in armed with information, ideas, excitement, looking for what scripture can show us this time. What will happen? The Bible is a library of books that alter lives and communities. These books have moved through the world making changes for thousands of years. What will it do to your life, your community?

This course is designed to give you inspiration and resources to make reading scripture part of your daily life. We hope that it helps you experience the Bible in new and exciting ways in the coming year. To learn more about the class, please click below.

God bless you, and have a happy new year!


Announcing Our Advent Big Class: Getting More Out of the Bible with Archbishop Justin Welby


We are pleased to announce our newest Big Class: Getting More Out of the Bible with Justin Welby. The Most Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, is an author, teacher, and the spiritual leader of 80 million Anglicans worldwide. Taking this course and using it to launch a renewed approach to scripture is an excellent way to start a new Church year.

In this course, Archbishop Welby invites Christians to deepen and improve their reading of the Bible and offers guidance on ways to do so. We will offer the course for free to anyone who wants to take it across the world from November 27 through December 25.

The course includes, among other materials, video lectures with Archbishop Welby, resources for further Biblical study according to his suggestions, and the opportunity to discuss the Archbishop’s lectures with Christians across the world. It requires no special software and should take the average student less than an hour to complete. To learn more about taking the Big Class yourself or about using it in your congregation, click here.

We are able to offer this course free of charge during Advent thanks to the generosity of the Office of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and The Bible In the Life of the Church initiative. We hope that you will make the course a part of your Advent discipline. For a preview of one of Archbishop Welby’s lectures, please click below.