Crash Course: Church

Embrace the Past, Transform the Future with a 'Crash Course' on Church History.

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Embark on the transformative “Crash Course: Church”—an on-demand journey that unravels the historical origins of the Christian church and offers theologically-sound answers to common questions posed by spiritual seekers, new believers, and Christian disciples alike.

Delve into the church’s development under the guidance of esteemed theologians, empowering you as an aspiring leader in your congregation or local community. Draw inspiration from entrepreneurial Christians who embrace innovative approaches to church engagement, fueling your creativity to connect with diverse communities. Equipped with a deeper theological understanding, you’ll be poised to support others on their spiritual growth journey, catalyzing their spiritual development with confidence and wisdom.

What You'll Learn

  • Explore Biblical Foundations for Church Life: Discover and learn more about foundational principles that continue to guide churches today, fostering a grounded and purposeful approach to ministry.
  • Connect Church Heritage with Modern Lives: Acquire the ability to contextualize and simplify the deep and rich church heritage, enabling you to guide spiritual seekers and new believers in understanding its relevance to their lives in today’s world.
  • Cultivate a Deeper Theological Understanding: Engage with expert theologians and historians to develop a profound comprehension of the theological underpinnings that shape the Christian church to answer complex or difficult questions confidently & dynamically.
  • Empower Others to Grow Spiritually: Armed with a deeper understanding of the church’s historical significance and guided by the experiences shared in the course, equip yourself to support others in your congregation or local community seeking spiritual growth.
  • Gain Insights into “Dinner Church” and other Innovative Ministries: Discover how J.D. Larson’s “dinner church” and other cutting-edge ministries transform the traditional church experience. Find inspiration to explore new avenues for engaging your congregation and the wider community.

About this Course

  • Modules


  • Learning Elements


  • Videos


  • Practices & Activities


  • Time

10 hours, 30 minutes

  • Price


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Here's What's Inside...

Get oriented to the course, download the interactive handbook, and access the group to chat with others!

In this module, you will:

  • Learn the biblical origin of the Christian church and its historical development.
  • Compare the identity of the church as a community to its identity as an institution.

In this module, you will:

  • Draw connections between biblical mandates and church functions.
  • Contemplate the role of church in civic spaces.

In this module, you will:

  • Explore various biblical church roles and compare to modern church structure.
  • Reflect on the changing face of church leadership.

In this module, you will:

  • Compare characteristics of various faith traditions.
  • Explore aspects of different church practices that resonate with you.

In this module, you will:

  • Reflect on your own experience of how sin has affected your relationships within and outside of the church.
  • Develop tools for reconciliation with those who you have hurt or who have hurt you.

In this module, you will:

  • Explore a number of spiritual practices.
  • Compare the role of individual spiritual practice with communal worship and fellowship.

In this module, you will:

  • Imagine what the church could look like 10 years from now.
  • Describe the characteristics of God’s vision for the church.

Find out your next steps as you complete the course and how to stay connected with your group. You'll also be able to submit feedback about your course.

You'll Learn How to Tell the Story

“Tell the Story” is more than just a framework; it’s the heartbeat of our “Crash Course.” We are dedicated to equipping you with the tools and insights necessary to not only understand the church’s rich heritage but also to contextualize and simplify this profound history. By bridging the gap between the past and the present, you’ll be empowered to invite your neighbors into Jesus’ transformative way of life and love in ways they can recognize.

We recognize that transforming communities requires more than a static retelling of historical events. That’s why “Crash Course: Church” ignites your creativity, drawing inspiration from entrepreneurial Christians who have embraced innovative approaches to engage with the church. With their real-life examples as beacons of inspiration, you’ll unlock your creative potential, exploring fresh and relatable ways to connect with the diverse and evolving needs of your community.

Gain Instant Access

Here's everything you get for just $55:

  • 7 immersive modules that get honest on tough questions and offer hope
  • 6 spiritual practices that connect Scripture to your life and community
  • 9 case studies that center the voices of people across the church spectrum
  • Thought-provoking prompts for self-reflection and intentional moments to connect with God as you learn
  • Interactive handbook to enrich your learning experience
  • 3 years of access to go at your own pace and come back to for ongoing support
  • An engaging online community
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Meet Your Instructors

  • Pastor Stephanie Luedtke

    Associate Pastor, St. Barnabas Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Minnesota

    Stephanie Luedtke is a pastor, educator and artist of sorts, often weaving education and art through her ministry, or ministry into art and education. As a certified music educator, Luedtke has taught students from preschool to retirement communities on topics of music history and appreciation, vocal music, and small and large group instrumental instruction. She is also a rostered Deacon in the ELCA, with a master’s degree in worship arts. Luedtke enjoys helping people of all ages find meaningful ways to worship, learn, and be in faithful community together.

    Through her roles as a music teacher, consultant, coach, and curriculum writer, and her ministry in churches and judicatories, Luedtke has always lived out her passions and worked to help others discover theirs. A wife and mother, she enjoys gardening, reading science fiction, drinking good wine, and training for the next race.

  • Dr. Kristofer Phan Coffman

    Kristofer Phan Coffman holds a tenure-eligible faculty position at Luther Seminary, where he has served as an adjunct professor since 2019. He teaches New Testament Greek and on Paul’s letter to the Romans. Coffman is the author of the book chapter “Christmas Cookies in Cambodia: The Bible and Race in America” in Dialogues on: Race. In addition to his academic work, Coffman has a keen interest in food and farming. He has written popular articles on responsible consumption and agriculture, and translated recipes for the award-winning new Nordic chef Mikkel Karstad.

  • Jeni Grangaard

    Jeni Grangaard has been the seminary pastor at Luther Seminary since 2019. She was formerly the pastor of Glyndon Lutheran Church in the town of Glyndon, Minnesota. Grangaard also previously worked as a Country Co-Coordinator in the Young Adults in Global Mission Program in Jerusalem and the West Bank. She wrote an article about her extended stay for the spring 2020 edition of the journal Word & World. Entitled “The Texture of Blessing,” the piece described her daily experience of the land’s seasonal rhythms. In her spare time, Grangaard is relearning the French language after working on her abilities in Spanish, German, Swahili, Arabic, and biblical Greek and Hebrew.

  • Cameron Howard

    Cameron Howard joined the Luther Seminary faculty in July 2012. She previously held visiting appointments at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and the School of Theology at Sewanee, the University of the South. Howard is a contributor to The New Interpreter’s Bible One-Volume Commentary published by Abingdon in 2010. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Howard is committed to making academic biblical scholarship accessible and relevant to clergy and laypeople.

  • Dr. Jennifer Hornyak Wojciechowski

    Jennie Wojciechowski has been teaching at Luther since 2019. She previously taught in the religion department at Augsburg University. Wojciechowski is author of the book Women and the Christian Story: A Global History published by Fortress Press in 2022. Her research focuses on women’s history, American history, and the intersection of religion and social reform. She is also the associate editor of the journal Word & World.

Connect as you learn

Connect inside the Faith+Lead Learning Lab

Learning happens best when you do it together with folks who are on the same journey as you are.

That's why our private social network, the Faith+Lead Learning Lab, hosts conversations about course content with other learners, instructors, TAs, and community leaders.

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Study together with a small group or congregation

Want to bring Crash Course: Church to your Bible study, small group, or even your entire congregation?

Choose "Enroll a Group" at checkout and select how many people you'd like to provide access to the course. You can go through the course together in-person, watch lessons together via Zoom, or even create a private group in the Learning Lab where participants can connect asynchronously.

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