My Presentations



The major themes named below (in bold red) represent complete, integrated workshops or retreats (e.g., 4-6 hour, one-day programs or longer). But note: Each bulleted topic under the themes can be delivered as a one-hour to 90-minute presentation suitable for conference keynotes or stand-alone workshops. I can also create new presentations as needed. And many of the presentations can be mixed-’n-matched to create parish missions and similar events.

The last presentation listed holds special meaning for me. Titled “From Mental Illness to Spiritual Wisdom: A Father-Daughter Odyssey,” the talk is a joint presentation with my daughter, Barb, about her experience with bipolar disorder and the spiritual lessons we’ve both learned from it.

Note that some of the themes include links to audio-taped presentations. These are recordings of  presentations I have delivered on one or more of the bulleted topics listed under the

themes. Most were recorded at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, where I’m

a frequent speaker. The themes related to the recorded presentations are indicated in bold italics. Just click on the adjoining buttons to listen to the recordings, which also appear under the Resources section of this Website.

Adult Faith Formation:

Trends, Tensions, & Tactics

For decades the church has been calling us to make the formation of adult disciples the centerpiece of our ministerial efforts. New approaches and program models emerge with great fanfare but quickly fade with little apparent effect. What’s missing from these efforts? What do our adults truly need . . . and can we deliver?

  1.     Problematic presumptions about adult faith formation (AFF): cultural and ecclesial challenges

  2.     Timely but tough transitions: changing the AFF paradigm

  3.     The Home Depot Model of AFF: “You can do it. We can help.”

  4.     Practical principles and programmatic possibilities: exploring the new paradigm

  5.     Zanzig’s vision of AFF: core values and pastoral principles

  6.     Creative resources for building a new approach to AFF

All these themes are briefly touched on in the audio.

Rhythms of the Spiritual Life:

Spirituality, Religion, and the Struggle for Integrity

Our identity as Christians involves two major components: our evolving personal relationship with God (our personal faith) and the way we live out that relationship within a community of faith (communal religion). The interplay between personal spirituality and communal religion develops and shifts throughout our lives and is filled with twists and turns, joys and tensions. Among the many themes we can explore are these:

  1.     The formation of Christian identity through the life process

  2.     The lifelong process of conversion: embracing the rhythms and patterns of spiritual growth

  3.     Mature spirituality and religion: living my faith with integrity

  4.     What does a mature Christian look like?

Jesus the Way:

The Path of Christian Discipleship

All pastoral leaders ultimately share one goal--the formation of disciples who experience a growing relationship with Christ, imbued with the vision of Jesus and sharing his commitment to the Reign of God. But how do we nurture such formation in others if we neglect our own growth as followers of the Lord? We prayerfully reflect on and discuss themes like these:

  1.     Models of Christology: perspectives on the message, mission, and meaning of Jesus

  2.     The spirituality of the disciple: how our understanding of Jesus shapes our self-understanding

  3.     The goal of Christian discipleship: what it really means to “follow Jesus”

From Mental Illness to Spiritual Wisdom:

A Father-Daughter Odyssey

As I write this my daughter, Barb, is 36 years old. At age 20 she was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The diagnosis came while receiving counseling for a rape that occurred during her sophomore year of college. That event marked the beginning of a long, challenging struggle we have shared, one we continue today. For Barb, the struggle was to learn over time and after much pain and heartache how to live with and manage her disease. For me, the struggle was to be the kind of father--indeed, the kind of person--she needed me to me. For both of us, this has also been a time of spiritual discovery and healing, a time to learn lessons “by heart” that we might well have never learned any other way. In this presentation we tell our story and share the wisdom we have gained from living it together.