Adult Ministry


At Central, we believe that Christian education is a lifelong journey. In addition to gathering for worship, adults are encouraged to participate in classes on Sunday mornings.

Classes are offered every Sunday at 9:45 a.m. with a variety of topics from Bible study, to current issues, to theological questions. Ongoing adult classes with rotating leadership provide learning and fellowship opportunities. Special studies are also offered throughout the year.  Each January Central’s adult classes meet together for Winter Studies and during the summer months for Summer Series to focus on a specific topic.

Believing and Belonging: Two-Week Class for Visitors and New Members

Do you have a friend or neighbor who you have been wanting to invite to church but have not known how? Or have you been sitting near a visitor in worship? Invite them to the Believing and Belonging class, a two-week class for visitors and new members. The class will be taught by Anna George Traynham, with coffee and donuts provided by the Invitation committee. We will explore what Presbyterians believe, how those beliefs inform our life at Central, and what it means to belong in today’s world of competing interests.

The next class will be June 2 and 9.

2019 Summer Series Logo

The Adult Education Committee invites you to take a seat in our seminary classroom (a.k.a. OAC Lobby/Atrium) each Sunday this summer beginning June 2. Learn from some of the Atlanta area’s outstanding professors as you experience what you would learn about if you attended a seminary. Your seat will be waiting for you each Sunday in the OAC Lobby/Atrium at 9:45. Seat belts are optional.

June 2  |  Dr. Leanne Van Dyk

Welcome to Seminary in 2019!

Theological education is experiencing very profound changes that are fundamentally shifting the training and formation of ministry leaders. Come and learn about what seismic changes are occurring and why it matters to congregations like Central Presbyterian!  Leanne Van Dyk is President of Columbia Theological Seminary.

June 9  |  Karen Scheib

A Narrative Approach to Pastoral Care: Becoming Story Companions

As a narrative practice, pastoral care attends to the inseparable interconnection between our own life stories, others’ stories, the larger cultural stories, and God’s story. As a ministry of the church, pastoral care is an ecclesial practice that derives its motivation, purpose, and identity from the larger mission of the church to bear witness to and embody God’s mission of love that extends beyond the church for the transformation of the world. As a theological practice, pastoral care is grounded in God’s love story. By close listening to the stories of others we become story companions in the ongoing and mutual process of growing in love Karen Scheib is professor of pastoral care and pastoral theology, Candler School of Theology.

June 16  |  Christine Yoder

Introduction to the Old Testament in Seminary

This session considers the design and goals of an introductory course in Old Testament in a seminary context. We will explore how the classroom has changed in recent years and how that shapes our pedagogy; specific ways we seek to develop our students’ interpretive skills and hermeneutical awareness; recurring questions about the nature of biblical authority, truth, inspiration, and so on; and ways the class engages  the significance and vitality of the Old Testament for Christian faith, proclamation, and mission.  Christine Yoder is Professor of Old Testament Language, Literature, and Exegesis, Columbia Theological Seminary.

June 23  |  Melissa Browning

The Importance of Context

When we train students in ministry we know that only so much can be learned in the classroom. This is why contextual education is so important! When students serve in congregations and communities as part of their seminary experience, they are able to better discern their call to ministry while sharing their gifts with local congregations. In this session we’ll talk about the importance for “contexts” and theological reflection, not just for seminarians, but for anyone seeking to connect their gifts with the communities and congregations to which God has called them. Melissa Browning is Interim Director and Visiting Assistant Professor of Contextual Education.

June 30  |  Stan Saunders

Performing the Gospels: Telling, Hearing, and Doing the Good News

 The early Christians likely heard the Gospels performed as wholes, then grappled with how to live into the stories themselves. Can we still “hear” the Gospels today? How do we let them get under our skin?

Stan Saunders is Associate Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary

July 7  |  Gary Rowe

Digital Media, the Bible and Theology

Based on courses he taught at McAfee School of Theology, Central member Gary Rowe will discuss the impact of digital media on seminary education, his work on the world’s first multimedia biblical translations for the American Bible Society and a surprise filmmaker who is doing theology.

July 14  |  Mark Douglas

We’re Just Talking Here

What is “justice”? How does it matter?  And why, if it matters so much to so many people, is it so hard to achieve?   Mark Douglas is Professor of Christian Ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary.

July 21  |  Martha Moore-Keish

Teaching Resurrection

In this class we will explore what it means to teach “systematic” theology today. What is theology anyway, and what is “systematic” about it? After brief methodological reflections, we will unpack a central theological claim of Christian faith: that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead. What could this claim possibly mean for reasonable Christians today?  Martha Moore-Keish is J. B. Green Associate Professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary.

July 28  |  Ryan Bonfiglio

Teaching the Old Testament as Christian Scripture

This session will explore what it means to teach the Old Testament as Christian Scripture in the context of a seminary curriculum (at Candler School of Theology). The discussion will address topics such as: the difference between the Old Testament and Hebrew Bible in content and organization; whether the OT explicitly refers to Jesus; why the OT is so often ignored in Christian theology; and how specific themes in the OT can directly inform and shape various ministries of the church today.  Ryan Bonfiglio is Assistant Professor in the Practice of Old Testament at Candler School of Theology.

August 4  |  Rod Hunter

Doing Theology in a Practical Mode: The Emerging Field of Practical Theology

Theology is not just a head trip; and theology is not just learned from books, but from our attempts to live out the meaning and implications of our faith by actually practicing it in the real world.  How then can theology be seriously taught, learned, and developed through experience and practice, as well as through biblical knowledge and conceptual and historical learning?  This is the question that the newly emerging field of “practical theology” attempts to answer.  It expands and challenges the traditional seminary curriculum and its ways of teaching and learning theology and ministry, and it seeks to enable theological students, ministers, and lay Christians alike to become truly “practical theologians” in every situation in which they live and serve.  Rod Hunter is Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Theology in the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and a long-time clergy affiliate at Central.

August 11  |  William Yoo

Why American Church History is Powerful, Painful, and Productive

In her 1997 Presidential Address to the American Historical Association, Joyce Appleby observed history is important because we live with “its residues, its remnants, its remainders and reminders.” This class explores how the history of Christianity in the United States is powerful and painful because we find a mixed record of courageous witness, inspiring faith, terrible violence, and harmful discrimination. In addition to looking closely at specific historical moments that illustrate this complexity, the class aims to provide methods and tools for how we may productively apply lessons from the past to better understand our present. William Yoo is Professor of American Religious and Cultural History  at Columbia Theological Seminary.

August 18  |  Lisa Weaver

Christian Initiation:  The Journey into the Christian Life

Many Christians are baptized as infants and don’t remember their baptism.   However, adult baptism was the norm in the early church.  Come and learn how adults were prepared to become a part of the family of God.  Lisa Weaver is the Assistant Professor of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary.

August 25  |  Anna George Traynham

The Seminary and the Church: Leadership for a New Day

Without the church, there is no need for a seminary. Without the seminary, we would have a hard time staffing our churches! The Presbyterian Church and our seminaries lean on each other, learn from each other, and sustain each other. In this session, associate pastor Anna George Traynham will teach us about what she learned in seminary, what she wished she could have learned in seminary, and the trends she is seeing among young pastors and seminary students.

Click here for archived classes