We must abandon our current “factory model” version of lecture based purely information oriented teaching. We must embrace true life on life discipleship where students learn real-life hands on lessons by interacting with their instructors and their environment. Classroom teaching has its place, but it cannot sit on the throne as the king and sole outlet of instruction. Paul tells us in Romans that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. To renew our mind is to replace the lies of this world with the truth of God’s Word (Andy Stanley). It is not enough to “learn” something by hearing it, placing it in our short-term memory, and regurgitating it on a multiple choice or fill in the blank test on a piece of paper. We must learn through classroom, environment, and life together. We must repeat the same lessons by emphasizing them in different ways and from different angles until they are thoroughly grasped and retained. When we retain a truth in our mind we claim ownership of it, we are able to respond to the Holy Spirits leading in our mind by applying the specific truth that we know in our mind. This is actually living out a comprehensive faith that is effective, not grasping for wisdom, discernment, and direction at every turn.
Albert Einstein said ” a man does not truly understand something until he can articulate it simply”. How many Christians can articulate theological concepts of their faith simply and effectively to someone who would ask them for that information? Followers of Christ need to understand the profound simplicity of a theological concept such as Walking in the Spirit – “moment by moment dependence on the Spirit to prompt me to do what He wants me to do, and to empower me to do what I cannot do on my own” – Andy Stanley. This and many other comprehensive aspects of the Christian faith must be retained in the beauty of their truthful simplicity. Actual retention and truthful understanding allows for real life application as the Christian lives out the Gospel in their daily life.
Our curriculum is built on the belief that one should be able to simply understand and articulate the many aspects of their faith. In addition we focus on cumulative retention. We must know and firmly grasp the fundamentals of our faith and then build on that foundation. We cannot apply what we do not know and retain as the truth in our renewed minds.
- Faith fundamentals – Christ – the sum of all spiritual things (Watchman Nee). From that:
- Christ the Word (Bible)
- Christ the Kingdom
- Christ the Gospel
- Christ our Community
- Christ our Mission –
- We must know and be able to state these truths in no more than two to three accurate sentences. From this foundational understanding and ability to articulate comes repeatability in our lives and the lives of others. From this simple but profound understanding comes the ability to follow up with more in depth teaching and understanding in our personal walk through proper exposition and application of His Word and the personal tutelage of the Holy Spirit.
- Who am I? – Genesis 2:15 – we are SONS of God made in His image. The importance of this cannot be overstated in a culture of near (whether actual or functional) fatherlessness. We are sons of the Father through Christ. Sons have birthrights, they have authority, they have unbreakable bonds with their Father, they have a duty to uphold His name and His interests.
- Why am I here? Genesis 2:15 – we are called as men to CULTIVATE and KEEP. This is the mandate of both men and women regarding our place as the pinnacle of God’s creation, but it was given to Adam first and as the head, it was his (and is our) responsibility. We as men are to be the first to cultivate and to keep, to preserve, and to protect, to create and to destroy. William Wilberforce, who gave most of his life to the God given task of the abolishment of the slave trade in 18th century England, was asked (upon finally, in his old age, winning that battle) “what will you do now that you have won the abolishment of the slave trade”. His response? “I shall look for something else to destroy”.
- Realization – We have three enemies:
- The flesh – 1 Peter 2:11
- The World – James 4:4
- The spiritual forces of darkness – Ephesians 6:10-18
- We must realize that like or not, we have enemies that are waging war against us, we must fight these enemies with a fighters heart.
- Recklessness – The best fighters fight because they like it. Recklesness is the absence of controlling fear, and the presence of joy, in action. We must stop being paralyzed by our fears, and start giving in to the fighters heart that the Lord has given us as men. As men we crave influence and impact – let us ensure that it’s properly motivated, then stop apologizing for it and instead embrace it.
- Discipline – to correct, instruct, or train. We must pursue discipline in every aspect of life. We have become undisciplined men, which has rendered us more spiritually active than spiritually effective. As John Piper says: “brothers, physical discipline is of some value”.
- Direction – it is direction (not intention) that equals destination – “Andy Stanley”. Let us stop patting ourselves on the back for our good intentions. We need to step back and look at the direction our life is going. Intentions to not lead to desired goals, direction does. We need to walk, and walk with purpose.
- Character – The will or ability to do what is right, as God defines what is right, regardless of the cost – “Andy Stanley” Our sanctification is about the Spirit of God building the character of Christ Himself in us. We need more men of character, men who will do and stand up for what is right, regardless of the cost.
- Wisdom – the ability to understand God’s Word and His will, and to skillfully apply that understanding to life. Our sanctification builds Christ’s character in us, Wisdom deals with living our life and making choices as that character is build in us. We should not strain for God’s will for our lives. We have His Word and His Spirit, we need nothing else to apply His wisdom to our lives.
- Vision – Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law”. Also translated “where there is no vision the people perish”. We need to be men of vision, and to build men of vision. Visionaries hold the ability to inspire and motivate the masses. If you have a motivation problem, you have a vision problem.
In addition we explore and focus on
- Leadership Specifics
- Apologetics/worldview curriculum (such as Ravi Zaccharias’s Origin/Meaning/Morality/Destiny Worldview coherence test, the Problem of Pleasure, and C.S. Lewis’s the Problem of Pain).
- Inductive Bible Study Method
- Comprehensive faith issues that bring together several elements of faith for daily living such as Walking in the Spirit, Renewing your Mind, the Armor of God, etc.
- Basic Christian Theology
- The Golden Triangle of Freedom – which is a fundamental understanding of the relationships between people, their government, and each other. This concept was widely understood and spoke of often by our founding fathers, and recently presented in a lecture by Os Guinness. The triangle being this:
- Freedom requires virtue (character) – since the most appropriate type of restraint in a free society is self-restraint
- Virtue (character) requires faith – Character is a God given, God produced quality in a man or woman.
- Faith requires freedom – when faith is not allowed to grow in a free society it becomes corrupted by centralization and control.
- The importance of knowing the original text – students will be given an introductory course to further an understanding of the power of knowledge of the original Greek and Hebrew text of the Bible.
- Comparative religions – students will be introduced to and will have a basic grasp of other major eastern religions, as well as Mormonism, 7th Day, Jehovah’s Witness, etc. Along with the knowledge of the basic differences they will be introduced to apologetic answers of the Christian faith
- Apologetics of the Bible – students will be taught about extra-biblical evidence such as prophecy, history, archaeology, etc. that point to the truthfulness and divine inspiration of the Bible
- Social issues – students will be taught to discern culture through the lens of the Biblical anchor of the Word, not the other way around.
The goal of all topics of instruction are to focus on simple yet comprehensive real life instruction. To clarify the teaching “win”, the focus is not on presenting the material so that it can be retained for a short time and written down on a test, only to be later forgotten and never “owned” in any sense where the student actually understood, grasped, and retained the lesson. The “win” will be when these students are taught through clarity, repetition, and living example that allows each student to begin implementing those lessons in daily life as they have other men there to guide them through the learning process. The goal is to prepare the soil through good discipline and pursuit of wisdom so that the Spirit of Christ can change their hearts and renew their minds. This will produce men who when they are released ON this world, they will men who have built their house on the rock, men who will be able to weather the winds and the rains of the world and prevail over evil in whatever sphere of influence God sends them.