Kara Powell* Fuller Theological Seminary

What has been your experience with PRS?

A Fuller trustee introduced PRS to me, and since then, I have experienced God’s transformative power through it. PRS is a beautiful compliment to my seminary training on dissecting scripture because it has taken me from the trees to the whole forest of God’s Word.

What have you learned?

PRS provides a model of faith formation that centers on biblical listening practices rather than dependence upon “a sage on the stage” teaching. As a result, PRS reduces the pressure on designated leaders or facilitators to develop “fresh” insights.

Sharing PRS with ministry leaders is a remedy for pastors experiencing the same anxiety and stress plaguing our population. An October 2021 Barna Group study reports that 38% have seriously considered leaving pastoral ministry due to stress.

A unique advantage of PRS is that the relevance of scripture shines brightly, complimenting preaching and teaching. As a result, there are mutual benefits for leaders and listeners.

Have you had an “a-ha” moment?

We tried everything during the pandemic lockdown with children at home and church online. Adding PRS to our Family Church service was one of our best experiences.

We tailored the PRS to the season. For example, we worked through John on Good Friday, and the dramatic reading gave new insight into Jesus’ pain suffering. PRS brought us closer together with this powerful Gospel experience.

How has PRS benefited you and your organization?

The new Fuller Seminary strategic plan makes listening to God a number one priority. We are implementing PRS as the signature practice to do so. Listening was the primary way people experienced scripture in the First Century. We want to re-capture that today in the 21st century.

As part of the effort, our senior leadership team and trustee meetings start with PRS. Our hope for 2022 is to experiment with PRS in the classroom, engaging faculty to develop organic ways to integrate PRS into the curriculum.

Fuller Equip, a digital platform that translates Fuller’s scholarship and insights into accessible training for leaders, offers a course on the PRS.

Our objective is to make PRS a normative practice in academic and non-academic training to benefit participants and those they lead.

*Dr. Kara E. Powell

Executive Director, Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and Chief of Leadership Formation Fuller Theological Seminary. 

The mission of FYI is to equip diverse leaders and parents so faithful young people can change our world.  Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women to Watch”, Kara completed her PhD in Practical Theology from Fuller Seminary with a focus on Pastoral Role Expectations in 2000, an MDiv from Bethel Theological Seminary in 1994, and a BA degree with Honors from Stanford University in 1991.  In addition to her roles at Fuller Seminary, Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and volunteers in student ministries at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena.  She is the author or co-author of 3 Big Questions that Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing With, 18 Plus, Growing Young, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum.