Sample Assignments across the Seminary Curriculum, Part 3
Here are more sample assignments to help inspire fresh thinking about how to incorporate a concern for vocation, flourishing and economic justice across the curriculum.
Ask students to prepare a topical, a narrative and an expository sermon on a passage focusing on work and vocation. Here are possible scriptures. Links go to the Theology of Work Project Commentary on each passage:
- Genesis 1 and 2
- Exodus 2:11-3:22
- Exodus 20:8-11
- I Samuel 16:12-13
- Jeremiah 29
- Proverbs 31
- Mark 1:16-20
- Luke 10:38-42
- Luke 16:1-13
- Romans 12
- I Corinthians 7:20-24
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- James 2:14-46
- Revelation 17-22
If possible, the students should preach one of the three sermons in the field and reflect on the experience.
Ask students to write an essay addressing the following questions:
- What are some key Christian doctrines that should have priority in a theology of work, and what do these doctrines contribute to a theology of work? Any doctrines could be fair game, but particularly good places to start might be the Trinity, the image of God, sin, the Incarnation, ecclesiology and eschatology.
- What parts of the human experience and the Christian response to it should a theology of work explain? Examples include the place of work in life, whether we are designed to work, how we are called to work, the role of work in discipleship, our role in the economy, etc.
Some book resources dealing specifically with the theology of work can be found here.
A related assignment would be to base a similar essay based on whatever readings are already assigned for a particular course, by asking what theology of work is present in those readings and authors.
Assign students to study a particular example of business as mission, ideally by meeting with or interviewing those involved in the endeavor. (The Business as Mission LinkedIn group is one place to start looking for a specific organization to study.) Ask them to write a paper answering the following questions:
- What models of mission does this particular organization use?
- What cultural context is the organization trying to impact? How has it chosen to impact this context?
- What goals is the organization working towards? What specific strategies does it use to reach those goals?
- In what ways does the for-profit nature of this organization make it different from traditional mission organizations? What are the advantages? Disadvantages?
Liturgy and Worship
Ask students to design a commissioning service by which a church could commission a believer upon entering into a specific type of occupation (teachers, nurses, artists, construction workers, secretaries, fast-food workers, parents, retirees…the list is endless!). The service should be
- appropriate to the student’s tradition
- biblically and theologically based
- inclusive of prayer, scripture and music.
For students from traditions with set liturgies, assign them to find the appropriate resources in their liturgical materials for putting together such a service.
If possible, ask the students to use the service in the field and reflect on the results.
Ask students to prepare a lesson plan for teaching a Bible study that is
- based on a specific passage dealing with work, vocation and/or economics (the list in the preaching segment) or
- based on themes of work, vocation and/or economics throughout an entire book of the Bible.