Rediscovering the Heart of Methodism: Cultivating a Scriptural Imagination
"When Methodism has been at its best - most faithful to God and most responsive to the needs of the world around us - it has been because Methodists have had their imagination broadened by the hopeful vision of Scripture."
-Rev. Dr. Warren Smith, in Week 1 of Cultivating a Scriptural Imagination
What does it mean to have a scriptural imagination, and how do we develop this kind of imagination in Christian community? This course will help you become a more active participant in God’s unfolding work of redemption by expanding your capacity to see how the hopeful vision of Scripture might be realized in your church and community.
Cultivating a Scriptural Imagination is a free 4-week course for small groups, classes, and leadership development in churches. Those without access to a group are also welcome to register individually. This course is part of the Rediscovering the Heart of Methodism series, one of Duke Divinity School’s Wesleyan Formation Initiatives.
About the Course
In this 4-week course, students should plan to spend 20-30 minutes each week completing an interactive video lesson online. Reflection questions will appear alongside the video and responses can be recorded in the student workbook.
Cultivating a Scriptural Imagination will be most impactful completed with a group. For this reason, the workbook also includes discussion guides for weekly one-hour meetings where students will share insights with one another and make connections to Scripture. Some of the group settings where this course might be used include:
- Adult classes or Bible studies
- Small groups
- Leadership development programs
- New member or confirmation classes
- Administrative councils
The school does not coordinate or recommend groups, but encourages students to contact leaders in their local congregation to explore opportunities to create a group. Students are also welcome to complete the course on their own.
- Four interactive video lessons from Duke Divinity School faculty and Methodist leaders
- A course workbook PDF including exercises to accompany each video lesson and discussion guides for group meetings (Students will need to print their own workbook.)
The Office of Wesleyan Engagement is grateful to the Kern Family Foundation for enabling the course to be offered at no cost for a limited time to support the mission of Duke Divinity School in service to the church.
About the Rediscovering the Heart of Methodism Series
This course is part of the Rediscovering the Heart of Methodism series, one of Duke Divinity School’s Wesleyan Formation Initiatives. Shaped by leaders from nine United Methodist annual conferences, the series is designed to help engaged laypeople and clergy develop core capacities for innovative leadership within the Wesleyan tradition. Look for more Rediscovering the Heart of Methodism courses from Duke Divinity School over the coming months.
The Rev. Dr. J. Warren Smith, Professor of Historical Theology at Duke Divinity School, is interested in the history of theology and especially patristic theology. A United Methodist minister in the North Carolina Annual Conference, his interests include playing with his English bulldog, walking in the Western NC mountains, and reading Victorian literature. His work has been driven by his concern for the question of realized eschatology: how can we in the present age live into the eschatological reality inaugurated by Christ’s resurrection?
Dr. C. Kavin Rowe is the George Washington Ivey Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. He is the author of four books, including Christianity's Surprise: A Sure and Certain Hope (2020) and World Upside Down: Reading Acts in the Graeco-Roman Age (2009). He is on the editorial board of several international peer-review journals and has also frequently written articles for faithandleadership.com.
Dr. Jung Choi is Senior Director of Wesleyan Formation Initiatives, Co-Director of Asian House of Studies, and Consulting Faculty at Duke Divinity School. She is a scholar-teacher trained in the New Testament and Early Christianity who served as an assistant professor of religious studies at North Carolina Wesleyan College before coming to Duke. Dr. Choi is committed to expanding access to theological education and has worked enthusiastically with diverse groups of students, implementing innovative pedagogies and designing programs and courses.
The Rev. Dr. Edgardo Colón-Emeric is dean of Duke Divinity School, Irene and William McCutchen Associate Professor of Reconciliation and Theology, and director of the Center for Reconciliation. An ordained elder in the North Carolina Annual Conference, he serves on the United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order and on both national and international Methodist-Catholic dialogues. His work explores the intersection of Methodist and Catholic theologies, and Wesleyan and Latin American experiences.