Hosting the Reformation and Confessions Seminar

Thanks for considering hosting a CLCC seminar.  Your role is an important ingredient to facilitate each attendee coming away with several objectives.

  • More familiarity with the events that shaped history
  • Deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for the Reformation
  • Greater appreciation for the Lutheran doctrine and practices that were captured in the Confessions
  • Perspective into the relevance of these Confessions in our lives today.

 
Those of you who have hosted other seminars will appreciate the importance of planning, organizing and executing numerous details and responding to more than a few unanticipated bumps in the road.  With this in mind, the following has been developed to assist you in the process.

Download a sample PDF or Powerpoint Presentation (see the top right of this page) to see how the seminar will look. The powerpoint has suggested presenter comments for each of the pages

 

Format of the Seminar

Each host will receive a PowerPoint presentation that consists of four sections:

  • The intellectual, political, and religious context affecting the Reformation
  • The call for reform outlying the events and reasons for the Reformation through the Diet of Worms
  • The struggles of the Reformation leading to the Diet of Augsburg
  • Key aspects of Luther’s theology and the Lutheran Confessions

 
The first three sessions are intended to last three hours including breaks and be held in the morning (9:00 -noon).  Notes are provided with the slides with the confidence that a knowledgeable layman who is comfortable with public speaking can present these sessions.

After a break for lunch, the fourth session presenting key aspects of Lutheran doctrine is to be presented.  While this could certainly be an open-ended topic, the seminar is designed that this section should last one hour.  At that time, there are to be two or more concurrent break-out sessions that discuss the relevancy of our Lutheran doctrine and practices in today’s world.  We recommend that one of the pastors presents this final session and that one or more of the pastors lead the break-out sessions.

As the seminars provide a social opportunity, we encourage the Lutheran tradition of providing coffee and pastries during the registration period, typically a half hour prior to beginning the seminar itself.  While the seminar slides are written in three fairly equal segments, the seminar committee will want to determine when breaks are to be scheduled and for how long.  The committee will also want to determine what refreshments (if  any) they wish to serve before or during the break-out sessions.

 

Scope and Structure

The Reformation and Confessions seminar is intended to be offered to and for multiple congregations within a geographic area.  This approach reduces the redundancy in the planning and delivery process, stimulates fellowship among congregations and increases the number of resources available to spread the work.  However, it does add some complexity to the process that can be helped by having an organizational structure similar to the following:

Circuit Coordinator serves as the point of contact with CLCC in receiving materials and in coordinating how the functions are carried out with the congregational coordinators and other volunteers.  This role is ideally filled by a layman who has recognizes the unique opportunity this anniversary provides for Lutherans to appreciate our heritage in support of the objectives stated earlier.  It also requires one who has the ability to organize, motivate, coordinate and recognize the work of other volunteers.

Congregation Coordinator is to be selected for each congregation within the circuit or other geographic area hosting the seminar.  The Congregation Coordinator is responsible for promoting the seminar within his/her congregation and enlisting the support of other volunteers.  It is envisioned that the congregation coordinators along with the Circuit Coordinator will determine the time, location and division of duties in the hosting of the seminar.

Host Congregation Coordinator has the additional responsibility to make sure the site is prepared and available for the seminar and the related functions such as lunch and registration.  It is envisioned that this coordinator would identify and recruit individuals to chair the refreshment and lunch functions, the set-up and clean-up activities, securing the necessary audio-visual equipment, and for manning a registration table.

Circuit Promotion Coordinator may be selected from the Congregation Coordinators to be responsible for preparing and distributing promotional materials and coordinating the release of these among the individual congregations.

 

Facilities and Equipment

Needless to say, when selecting site for the seminar, both the convenience of the location and the amenities of the facility are important.  The committee will want to first estimate the anticipated attendance and work backwards to determine which site makes the most sense.  We hope that you will have a place other than the nave of the church to meet.

From past experience, we have found that having tables as well as chairs provides a more productive arrangement than chairs alone.  Where space is available, a U-shaped arrangement usually works best, with a table near the front for the projector and a lectern to the side for the presenter.  We have also found, that unless the group is small, ceiling height is important and rooms with ceilings under 10’ should be avoided.

Since the presentation will be sent as a PowerPoint file, you will need to have a PC, a projector, a screen and the ability to connect them.  If this is your first experience in projecting a presentation, double check your set-up.  Also, to accommodate the breakout sessions, determine if one or both will be in a separate room and what furniture will be needed.

In addition to setting up for the presentation and breakout sessions, you should plan to have a manned registration table.  The registration table can serve to:

  • Welcome attendees
  • Log their names and contact information
  • Collect any registration fee (Whether you charge a fee to cover your costs is up to you. Other than proceeds from the sale of any books, there is no financial obligation to CLCC.)
  • Provide attendees a packet that can be as simple as a one page agenda to one that includes paper for notes or an outline of the slides.
  • Make available copies of our book, The Reformation and Confessions. These books can either be included as part of the packet or sold separately.  Written especially for the laymen you will find these to be both informative and enjoyable to read.  The seminar price for a set of ten is $150 that includes shipping.

 
Finally, you will want to have a room for breaks and lunch.  While this does not need to be a separate room, it is definitely preferable if space permits.  Separate rooms permit everyone to enjoy a change in scenery and allow those helping with lunch not to feel intrusive when setting and clearing the tables.  With respect to funding, check with your local Trivent Chapter to determine if they will help with the costs.

 

Promotion

It is our intent, and hopefully yours as well, for the seminars to be well attended.  The 500th anniversary of the Reformation will generate interest not only within the Lutheran community but in the world in general.  While we focus on the correction in religious doctrine, the Reformation was an historic event that marked the transition from medieval to modern times.  It reshaped the political as well as the religious landscape and was accompanied by changes in intellectual, social and economic trends.  As such, we as Lutherans can expect to be asked about Luther, and thereby given the opportunity to respond with an understanding not only what happened but why it happened.  We believe that this seminar and the breakout sessions will provide an opportunity to both grow in personal understanding and in their confidence to share who we are and what we believe to others.

The strongest form of promotion will be the enthusiasm displayed by you hosting the seminar.  However, we at CLCC will provide a suggested timeline of promotional releases as well pre-designed flyers that can be customized with your dates and location and used in a congregation’s newsletter or as a bulletin insert.  Each hosting site is asked to coordinate the activities among the participating congregations and determine where common resources can be used.  For example, you will be responsible for the actual production and distribution of the material and the determination of running ads in the media.

 

Conducting the Seminar

Prior to the seminar, a number of decisions need to be made.  Some of the most important are where and when will be seminar be held; who will present, whether a fee will be charged, and how much; what expenses (refreshments, lunch, packets, books) will be incurred; and how the work will be divided and coordinated.

Once the structure has been agreed upon, a promotional program will need to be developed among the congregation coordinators, menus planned by the lunch committee, and furniture and equipment needs identified.  Contingencies should be explored and fall back plans developed and communicated.

At least one day prior to the seminar, rooms and equipment will need to be set up and responsibilities confirmed.

On the day of the seminar, registration and refreshments should begin at least a half hour if not an hour before the presentation itself begins.  During this time the committee of coordinators and presenters should conduct a walk through to insure everything and everybody is ready to go.

Efforts should be made to have everyone seated at least five minutes before the start of the presentation.  The presenter should open with a short prayer and an overview of the seminar including the topical sequence and how breaks and questions will be handled.

At the conclusion of the morning sessions, a prayer before lunch should be offered and the any comments on the lunch process and reconvening, At the conclusion of the last breakout session, a short feedback form will be requested from all attendees.

 

Position Responsibilities

To a large extent, we anticipate the need or some flexibility in hosting the seminar.  As unique issues and opportunities invariably present themselves, please exercise your judgment to address these in a God-pleasing manner that works best for you and the others on your hosting team.  That being said, most of the activities will be common across all of the circuits that permit us to provide what we believe should be the following checklist of specific duties.

 

Circuit Visitor

  • Announce plans to hold a circuit-wide seminar to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
  • Seek the support of the other pastors and request their help in identifying a layman to serve as the circuit coordinator as well as a layman in each congregation to coordinate the promotion and execution of the seminar.
  • Contact the circuit coordinator of his selection and provide CLCC with his contact information.

 

Pastors within the hosting circuit

  • Support the hosting of a seminar on the Reformation and Confession and permit promotional messages as deemed appropriate
  • Identify and recruit a layman within his congregation to coordinate the promotion of the seminar and provide the circuit coordinator his contact information

 

Circuit Coordinator

  • Contact and meet with the congregation coordinators of the congregations in the circuit
  • With the circuit pastors and congregation coordinators determine the place and time for the seminar
  • Identify a contact from the hosting congregation and work with him to ensure that the site has the proper equipment, feasible space arrangements and adequate furniture
  • Receive a copy of the seminar (sent as an email attachment) to get a first-hand familiarity with the content, flow and the presenter notes.
  • Recruit with the pastors
    • a knowledgeable layman to conduct the morning session that covers the events through the Diet of Augsburg
    • a pastor to conduct the afternoon session on the key aspects of Luther’s theology and the Confessions and
    • two pastors to conduct the concluding break-out sessions
  • Serve as the on-going communication focal point for the circuit seminar
  • Distribute to the congregational coordinators promotional material that CLCC will provide in electronic form and coordinate the timing and manner in which these are presented in the participating congregations.
  • Determine the feasibility to run outside advertising and coordinate the placement of these ads
  • Based on estimates of food, printing, promotion and other out of pocket costs, estimate the overall costs and propose ways in which it can be funded
  • Apply for a Thrivent grant to help cover the cost of the food
  • Determine what additional resources may be desired including if the site would like make available copies of the book, The Reformation and Confessions.
  • Determine responsibility among the congregational coordinators for the following:
    • Equipment for the presentation (laptop, projector, screen.
    • Registration desk and at least one volunteer to man it (CLCC will provide a registration form to record the names of the attendees.  Upon request, CLCC will provide copies of the book for sale.)
    • Refreshments and food before and during the seminar.
    • Volunteers to serve the refreshments and lunch
    • Volunteers to set up and clean up
  • Provide feedback after the seminar including the list of attendees

 

Congregation Coordinator

  • Coordinate with the congregation’s pastor the announcement and promotion of the seminar.
  • Elicit support through the congregation’s officers, Board of Elders and Board of Education
  • Serve as an advocate for the seminar stressing the opportunity to
    • Better understand the events in the contest of the political, intellectual and religious issues of the day.
    • Deepen your understanding of the Reformation’s substance and how it shaped our Lutheran Confessions.
    • Develop your appreciation for our Lutheran heritage its relevance in today’s world.
  • Include a description of the seminar in the September and October editions of the congregational newsletter.  (CLCC will provide suggested wording.)
  • Include a bulletin insert for the two weeks prior to the seminar.  (CLCC will provide a sample.) and create an advanced registratioin

 

Host Congregation Coordinator

  • Solicit registration estimates from the congregation coordinators to determine space and food requirements
  • Identify and recruit volunteers to provide refreshments and lunch
  • Insure that all food and supplies is available
  • Identify and recruit volunteers to man the registration table
  • Insure room, lunch and registration set ups are in place the day prior to the seminar and that equipment needs (laptop computer, projector, screen, extension cords, power strip, microphone) are in place
  • Insure that information in the registration packets is printed, assembled into completed packets, and provided to the registration table
  • Insure that facility is opened and ready for traffic at least one hour before the start of the presentation
  • Provide an estimate the costs of food, packets for the circuit coordinator as requested