The Corridor and Ozaukee Circuits meet together six times a year (they don’t meet during the summer and months when there are conferences). They have recently changed their meeting place. They used to meet at a restaurant and studied during lunch. The restaurant where they were meeting recently closed. And they discovered that their study time was reduced because they were getting interrupted. Beginning in May, they have been meeting at the Seminary. This allows for more consistent study time, as well as the use of a video projector, if desired.
For their study, they typically meet for about 1 ½ – 2 hours in the early afternoon. They spend about 45 minutes on an exegetical study. Currently, they are studying Philippians. The leader of the study is chosen from an alphabetical rotation. The other 45 minutes of study is based on a paper. The two circuit pastors offer a suggestion for each month to the leader (also chosen on a rotational basis). The leader does have the freedom to choose another paper, if he so desires. The leader prepares study questions based on the paper. These study questions, along with the paper, are emailed to the pastors a week or two before the meeting. The idea is for the pastors to read the paper and consider the questions prior to the meeting. This procedure results in more fruitful discussion.
A few minutes are allotted at the end of the meeting to share information and other ministry questions. The circuits do not engage in formal fellowship activities. This was a conscious decision because all of their churches are part of the Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School Federation. It was thought that the KML connection provides sufficient fellowship opportunities.
There are several items about the study plan of the Corridor and Ozaukee Circuits worth noting:
- The use of the Seminary as a meeting place is valuable. The technology resources are available, as well as the helpfulness of a classroom setting. Other circuits might consider using an area Lutheran high school or one of the other synod schools, if space is available.
- The rotation of assignments allows everyone in the circuit the opportunity to dig into a portion of Scripture or a topic in a little more depth. The best learning usually comes from doing and leading.
- The study of a paper allows nice variety in topics. The way these circuits study the paper is worth imitating. Having prepared study questions sent out ahead of time with the expectation that the paper will be read and the questions considered makes for more efficient use of time.
Here are a few suggestions for circuits that would consider adopting/adapting larger or smaller portions of the plans of the Corridor and Ozaukee Circuits:
- Taking the time to broaden what is studied into other areas of theology is always beneficial. Adding time to the agenda to study a section of the Lutheran Confessions and/or an area of pastoral theology would be time well spent. Because this group meets at the Seminary, the availability of the “preaching classroom” would provide a nice venue for critique of preaching. An extra hour on the agenda would allow an additional area of study.
- While moving the location away from a restaurant has provided more efficient use of study time, there is a place for informal time among brothers in the ministry. Getting together over a meal with the brothers of a circuit provides the opportunity to share joys and challenges, as well as receive and offer encouragement.