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Go Deeper at Regent College’s Summer School

March 23, 2011

Regent College

Without a doubt, our times at Regent College’s Summer Schools have been some of our best times as a married couple.  We loved the diversity of course offerings, the multi-ethnic and multi-national faculty and student population, the afternoons in the park or on the beach, the deep conversations and the new friendships. Over a series of summers, we not only ticked away at graduate credits, we learned so much about God, ourselves, the world, the Scriptures, and our place at the intersection of them all.

My personal course highlights included: History of Science and Belief (now called, by the looks of it, Science and Christianity: Retrospect and Prospect, and being offered this summer), with Mark Noll and David Livingstone (absolutely transformed my view of how we engage science);  The Triune God of Grace (or some such title), with James Houston and James Torrance; and The Spirit, the Kingdom, and the People of God, with N.T. Wright, Gordon Fee and David Hansen.

If you can make it to Vancouver this summer for a week or two, you will not regret diving into the Summer School program.  If you wonder what sort of stuff the Regent summers are made of, here’s a sampling of some talks you can enjoy.

Sadly, I can’t make it to Summer School this year. But if I was, here’s a few courses I’d be interested in taking:

Spring Session:

1. Christopher Wright, God’s Word, God’s World, and God’s Mission: Reading the Whole Bible for Mission, May 9–13

2. James M. Houston, Living Elders in a Dying Church, May 23–27

3. Iain Provan, Living with Beastly Empires: The Book of Daniel, May 30–June 10

4. Loren Wilkinson and Mary Ruth Wilkinson, Gardening the City of God, June 5–17

Summer Session:

1. Alister McGrath, Truth, Beauty, and Imagination: Christian Apologetics in a Postmodern Context, June 27–July 1

2. Paul Williams and Paul Oslington, Christianity and the Political Economy of Capitalism, June 27–July 8

3. David Downing, The Fiction of C.S. Lewis, July 25–29

I highly recommend Regent College, period. From our ministry and theology to the very books we read with our children–dare I say, our very direction in life–has been shaped by the relationships built, the understandings gained, and the worldviews challenged at this great school.  And it all started in the summers. Hope you can make it to Summer School this year.


So Many People to Thank . . . in Grande Prairie

March 14, 2011
Another Thank-You Event is on it’s way, now to my dear friends and supporters in Grande Prairie. Hope you can make it!

You are invited to Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s

Partnership Thank-You
Grande Prairie Evening

Wednesday, April 6th
7:00 PM 

Grande Prairie Church of Christ
(Highland Park), Fellowship Hall
9602 92nd Ave
Grande Prairie, AB

RSVP here.

At a recent student retreat, I had the privilege of speaking and leading in Scripture study.


As you know, I’m leaving Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at the end of April. I am thrilled to come back to Grande Prairie and formally say “Thank-you” to the community who sent me into the work of IVCF in the first place, and has partnered with us in the work ever since.  Please join us in the Fellowship Hall of the Grande Prairie Church of Christ (Highland Park) for a time of coffee and fellowship.  I will share some reflections on the work, and update you on our next kingdom venture.

Can you come? We’d love to see you there.  You can RSVP by emailing me here (though drop-ins last minute are welcome!). For more information, please don’t hesitate to email me or call me at 403.998.8525.

I look forward to seeing you in early April.

Sent Together to Heal, through Spoken Word

February 9, 2011

I spoke over the weekend to our Alberta Inter-Varsity chapters on the theme of “Missional Identity,” that we understand our primary identity as God’s Sent People, continuing on the mission of Jesus in his world.  During the course of the weekend, this video helped convey the gospel through powerful words and images. The students found it compelling and inspirational, and I think you will, too.  If you remember James Choung’s explanation of the good news, you’ll see powerful resonance. We have been sent together to heal, in the name of Jesus. Let’s go.

I Say Goodbye, You Say Hello

February 4, 2011

You are invited to Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s

Thank-You & Welcome

Calgary Evening

Bow Valley Christian Church
5300 53 Avenue Northwest
Calgary, AB

Thursday, February 24th
7:00 PM

Hosted by: Tom Greentree
Introducing: Jon Lim

As you know, I (Tom) will be leaving IVCF in April. I want to invite you to come out for an evening so we can thank you personally for your partnership over the years we have worked in Calgary.  I’d also like to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Jon Lim, who will be taking up the post of Campus Ministry Director in my place. Jon comes with over ten years of IVCF ministry experience, and I’m thrilled he’s coming to Calgary to continue leading the work here. That’s why we are calling this evening “Thank You and Welcome,” because it’s designed to do both of those things: to thank you, and to welcome Jon.

There will be an opportunity to hear my reflections on the past six years of student ministry, as well as Jon’s heart for the student ministry as it moves forward.  Susie Colby, Inter-Varsity’s Western Field Director for Campus Ministry, will be also be sharing in our evening together.

Can you come? We’d love to see you there.  You can RSVP by emailing me here. For more information, please don’t hesitate to email me or call me at 403.998.8525.

Hope to see you on February 24th!

Tom Greentree
PS. For my friends in Grande Prairie, look for an invitation to a “Thank You” evening in early April.

Check out Prof. John Stackhouse’s Weblog

January 6, 2011

Professor John Stackhouse, Regent College


John Stackhouse of Regent College has a great blog I recommend you check out (and subscribe to).  His recent post on “Conversion Narratives” about Gender includes his contribution to a new book on exactly that: how people have moved from a patriarchal understanding of gender to an egalitarian one.  I’ve also read his Finally Feminist and found it helpful.

Due to his wide reach, people from all over the globe read and contribute comments to his blog posts. As such, it has become a locus of meaningful, evangelical conversation that I know we need.  John is an excellent moderator and catalyst to the ongoing dialogue.

Thanks, John, for all the hard work you put into this blog.

Are you talking to me? Or someone else?

January 5, 2011

One danger seasoned ministry leaders fall prey to is type-casting.

What do I mean? Say a young adult comes to a ministry leader with some questions (let’s call them Jim and John).  Jim (the young adult) asks a series of questions and by the time he has finished his first cup of coffee, John (the ministry leader) thinks “Oh, I’ve heard this before, dozens of times. I know exactly what he needs” and then proceeds to wax eloquent on what Jim should do or think.  John leaves the coffee assuming he has heard Jim and helped him.  Jim exits stage left more confused than ever.

Why? Because John hasn’t actually heard Jim — he’s heard a combination of his own experiences with a “type” who resembled Jim and a figment of his current imagination.  No one is helped, friends. No one.

Now, I know that the longer you live life, the more similar people can seem.  You’ve seen this scenario played out many times, you can recall people “just like this,” you’ve dealt with this before.  And your experience can help you.  It truly can. Thank God for the discernment and insight that comes from the years of experience.

Unless you begin to simply treat people as another manifestation of type of person and fail to treat them as the unique persons they really are, with their own sacred stories, their own experiences and culture and  dreams and calling.

Unless we stop listening, both to the Spirit and to the person in front of us.

When we fall into that trap, we need to stop ourselves and get re-oriented with the way Jesus helped people. Jesus, who knew the hearts of people, never failed to treat each person as a unique individual. Never.  Look how he spoke into their lives and to their deepest selves, how he loved and engaged the real person.

And that more than helped them.  It changed their lives.

Can the church learn anything from the business world?

December 7, 2010

I’ve wrestled with this question, swinging between a qualified “no” and a qualified “yes” more than a few times.  Here’s a fascinating article from Fast Company featuring Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit (an international event I’ve attended and highly recommend).  It’s terrific to see this kind of integrated piece featured in a cutting-edge business magazine, providing great fodder for the ongoing discussion Can the church learn anything from the business world? And if so, what?

Let me highlight one little quote to whet your appetite. You’ll have to read the whole article to get the context.

In spite of the stereotype of evangelicals as rigidly conservative, says Rice University sociologist D. Michael Lindsay, “they have long been some of the earliest adopters of technologies and strategies,” from fire-and-brimstone evangelists on the radio in the 1920s to Pat Robertson on satellite TV to megachurch-friendly PowerPoint displays replacing hymnals. Willow Creek’s embrace of business strategy “is a 21st-century version of that. They know that churches have to change with the market shifts going on around them. If they don’t, they die,” Lindsay says. “Relevance is fundamental for their message to be legitimate.”

Hmmmm . . . provoked?