School of the Laity Classes

Since 1988, Savannah Presbytery has offered the J. Richard Bass School of the Laity, a two-year program that has strengthened the faith and equipped the leadership of more than 320 graduates throughout our presbytery (and beyond). Over the past few years, courses have been opened to persons who would like to engage in single classes rather than commit to the full, two-year coursework, allowing them to participate as their schedules and interests permit. We have also been encouraged by the continuous return of SOL graduates who have chosen to engage in an intriguing study or retake a core course.

Course Information 

Summer Courses are usually held in June and consist of 15 hours of class time with additional hours of personal study. Presbyterian Seminary and college professors teach these courses. The summer courses are Introduction to the Bible, Introduction to Reformed Theology and Practical Ministries.

Fall and Spring Courses are usually held in October and March and consist of 12 hours of class time with additional hours of personal study. Savannah Presbytery ministers and other qualified leaders teach these studies on such subjects as Old Testament Survey; New Testament Survey; History, Mission and Polity; and Elements of Worship.

2021 SOL Upcoming Classes

Introduction to the Bible
Offered June 2021

New Testament Survey
Offered March 2021

Old Testament Survey
Offered October 2021

Intro to Reformed Theology
Offered June 2021

History, Mission and Polity
Offered October 2021

Elements of Worship
Offered March 2021

Practical Ministries
Offered June 2021

2021 SOL Upcoming Electives

Presbytopia
Offered March 2021

YEAR ONE
INTRODUCTION TO THE BIBLE

Introduces students to study tools and interpretation methods as it offers a broad survey of the literature, history, and faith of the people of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament. Led by Dr. Robert Bryant, Bible Professor at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. 

OLD TESTAMENT SURVEY

This course delves deeper into the Old Testament scriptures and explores the inspiration, authorship, context, and criteria used to determine which books became part of our canon. This course builds on the Introduction to the Bible course developing a deeper understanding of Old Testament themes and early Hebrew theology. 

NEW TESTAMENT SURVEY

This course delves deeper into the New Testament scriptures and explores the inspiration, authorship, context, and criteria used to determine which books became part of our canon. This course builds on the Introduction to the Bible and Old Testament Survey courses developing a deeper understanding of New Testament themes and early Christian theology and examining how contemporary Christians interpret Old Testament scriptures through a Christian lens. 

YEAR TWO
INTRODUCTION TO REFORMED THEOLOGY

This course provides a foundational introduction to Reformed Theology and explores how it shapes and informs the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We will survey the tenets of the Reformed Tradition, doctrines of the Church, and various confessional and creedal statements. 

HISTORY, MISSION & POLITY

This course will provide an overview of our Presbyterian identity and help participants learn to use Presbyterian polity to address specific issues and practices in church life. Participants will also become acquainted with the Book of Order and how it helps to further the ministry and mission of the church. 

ELEMENTS OF WORSHIP

This course focuses on what constitutes faithful Christian worship and discusses the theological underpinnings of key elements of worship including scripture, confession, prayer, music, sacraments, and sermon. Participants will be encouraged to think critically about each element of worship and develop a deeper understanding of why we do what do when we gather to worship God. Participants will be encouraged to share their diverse experiences of worship. 

YEAR THREE
PRACTICAL MINISTRIES

This course is the capstone of the School of the Laity program. Participants will develop an understanding of how to use what they have learned by going out, integrating, and expanding their learning through application in areas such as leading Bible Studies, organizing retreats, and pastoral care visitation. Participants will be encouraged to share meaningful ministries from their home congregations and will be introduced to resources from the PC(U.S.A.), the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators (APCE), and others. 

ELECTIVE COURSE
PRESBYTOPIA

A Celebration of All Things Presbyterian! In this class, participants will look at how our Presbyterian history, theology and practices continue to shape our understandings of God, our lives and the world around us.