Three Questions with John Oberdeck…

Symposium 2016 bannerJohn OberdeckRegistration is now open for the 27th Annual Theological Symposium, “From Font to Grave: Catechesis for the Lifelong Disciple” (September 20-21, 2016). We have invited a few of this year’s presenters to answer a few questions as they prepare for the Symposium. John Oberdeck is professor of theology and director for lay ministry at Concordia University, Wisconsin. He will be presenting on the latest brain research and what it tells us about teaching the faith today.

1. What first sparked your interest in the issue of catechesis and confirmation that led you to devote your career to it?

What sparked my interest, as would be the case with any pastor, was the challenge of making the content of the faith relevant to the lived experience of children in early adolescence.

2. What are one or two things that have come out of your work that would be especially helpful for pastors and teachers today?

The more I learn about developmental markers, the less mystifying teen behavior is. I’m also discovering that the very things that adults find most irritating about teens may very well be the most important gifts they bring within their vocation as adolescents.

3. What have you observed about the nature of our students today that needs to be taken into account with our teaching?

The teen brain is not ill or broken, but it does tend to be distracted by many things. Gaining our confirmands’ attention is the first step, and the ubiquitous screen is our main competitor.

Register for the Theological Symposium online or by contacting the Continuing Education office at 314-505-7286 or [email protected]. To purchase live stream access, visit





2 responses to “Three Questions with John Oberdeck…”

  1. Tom Hackett Avatar
    Tom Hackett

    Will Dr. Oberdeck or CSL publish his paper and/or research? I cannot come in September. But, as a retired pastor who has contact with teens (and six grandchildren), I’d like to learn what I can from his work. Thank you.

    1. Travis Scholl Avatar
      Travis Scholl

      We do usually publish some of the papers from the Symposium, but, at this point, we would not be able to say which ones. In the meantime, I would encourage you to contact Dr. Oberdeck directly to see what he could share with you: [email protected].

      I would also encourage you to consider live streaming the Symposium. For more information, you can click on the link above.

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