Laidlaw Winter Sessions

Over a series of 6 sessions rediscover the transformative hope of the Gospel with conversations of faith, purpose and transformation from key speakers across the Laidlaw College faculty. 

Each session will include a 20 minute speaking block, followed by a 20 minute discussion time.

Session #1

Living our Chapter Faithfully & Hopefully 

// Miriam Fisher

Why knowing our story allows us to live our chapter faithfully and hopefully. 

People make sense of the world through story. Christians are people of the story. When we know our story we are able to live our story well. Do we really know the story that takes us from Eden to Eschaton? It is by knowing the whole story that we are able to play our part faithfully in our moment. If we are anchored in the whole story we will live toward the future with a hopeful disposition. 

We are called to attend to this moment in time and we are to know how this moment, our moment, fits into the whole. When we are able to hold the whole of Scripture, centred in Jesus, and moving towards new heavens and earth as our story it will transform our being in today and it will anchor us in a Hope that does not disappoint us. (Romans 5:5)

Session #2

Transformation in Christ 

// Myk Habets

Having the Time of Our Lives: The Transformation Christ Brings

A Christian vision of the world is so much bigger and far more exciting than many Christians can imagine. The biblical story is grander than the fairy tale we sometimes make it out to be and the theological depths we can plumb are staggering. Christ teaches us that he is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. When we take Christ seriously, we begin to see time and space differently, our place within the world takes on a new cast, and we catch a glimpse of how our transformation “in Christ” is better news than we could ever dream of. Christ is the purpose of creation, he is the head of creation, he is the model of what it means to be human, and he is the image into which we are being transformed. When we begin to understand the transformation Christ brings we start to have the time of our lives.

Session #3

Compelling Church 

// Greg Liston

Life after Lockdown: How the Spirit transforms the Church

The recent COVID required lockdown spawned a large variety of responses about the church. Some claimed that our religious freedom has been curtailed, and argued for legal challenges or civil disobedience. Others said the lockdown was a God-given gift, and advocated for a brand new model for church life. Before we can gauge the value of these wide ranging responses, a prior fundamental question desperately needs answering: “What is the church?” Emaciated and merely functional understandings of the church’s identity and purpose lead to deeply flawed conclusions about what the church can and should do. Arguing that in times such as these, clear biblical and theological thinking is paramount, this talk begins by outlining a compelling biblical portrait of the local church. From this foundation, it turns to explore how we can partner with the Spirit to enable genuine transformation in our church communities.

Session #4

Growing in Individual Purpose

// Sarah Penwarden

Called together, called apart: Growing in individual purpose in a time of COVID

When human beings encounter Christ, part of the journey of growth often involves growing alongside others through church communities and groups. During the pandemic, while for many people social bonds were maintained through online presence, there was also social atomization into bubbles—a kind of social withdrawal. In this talk, I make a case for the personal spiritual journey that might be made possible through such periods of social withdrawal. I focus on how periods of solitude can be a means to emulate Christ, and to wrestle with one’s embodied humanness, perhaps facing the ‘demons’ of intense emotions such as grief, fear, guilt, or anger. Such acknowledgement of one’s own embodiment can open space for two transformations: a crystallization of knowing God’s particular purpose for one’s life, and knowing more strongly of the presence of the Holy Spirit. These transformations can renew a person to continue the project of participating in the ministry of Christ in the world.

Session #5

Discerning the Season 

// Bradford Haami

Each winter ushers in the Māori new year, a traditional time to look at the past and to discern the coming season. This session will comment on the past and future seasons through a Māori prophetic lens. 

The new year indicated by the rising of Matariki (Pleiades) in the east before the dawn, occurs in the time of Pipiri, a period of cold and contraction. It’s in this wintery time we are traditionally called to faithfully study the past and discern the future season. What is God saying to us from a Māori prophetic lens for the transformation of our current culture?

Session #6

Mission in a Changing Landscape 

// Rebecca de Jong

The Mission of God and God’s
Transformation of Missions

We find ourselves traversing a dramatically changing international landscape in which missions need to be agile and responsive.  We are well equipped to do this because change is not a new phenomenon for missions. The Christian story has always been an engagement across diverse peoples and cultures.  From creation to consummation, mission is the activity of God, and in our days no less the Spirit of God at work in the world.  Let us consider together what questions engaging in God’s mission is asking of us today.