Our discipleship program identifies current cultural weaknesses in men (such as a lack of discipline and purpose in their lives.) Our curriculum is designed to:
- identify the mindset and weaknesses of a postmodern man
- speak into every man’s life at any point in life
- teach Biblical principles on manhood and leadership
- equip men to walk corporately and personally alongside other men
We seek to empower men by teaching a discipleship curriculum full of Biblical truth in simple, practical and purposeful ways.
Discipleship Program Specifics
Background Leadership Academy’s programs provide Academy students with a comprehensive and well-informed Christ- centered worldview that teaches men that they are called and capable of creating change in their spheres of influence.
Here are the various elements of our discipleship program:
Discipleship in the Community – “More Than Conquerors”
Living out holistic discipleship in the community creates a culture of manhood and leadership that other men are called up and equipped within. By creating this culture we create a safe place where men can go to be trained to become men who through the power of Christ overcome the evil within and the evil that affects their loved ones and their neighbors.
The vision statement for this discipleship is: “to create personal, intentional, rhythm of life discipleship relationships that draw all people to the beauty of authentic relationship in Christ”.
This is the current phase of the Academy. Men in the community of Freshwater Springfield Church (in partnership with other areas churches) are currently undergoing training to begin a discipleship movement in our church, to radiate out from there into the surrounding community and beyond. The Bible teaches us in Romans that those who are outside of Christ are in bondage, literally slaves. Not those of us who are in Christ, we are free men. Paul states in Romans that we are “more than conquerors”, well it’s time that we started acting like it. The church in America is losing it’s power, impact, and effectiveness on the culture at an alarming rate. America as a country is staggering at the blows dealt to it from decades of financial and moral decay. If we truly are “more than conquerors” eternally (as we are), then why are we not men who are standing on the promises of God here and now in anticipation of that eternity? Why are we not men that fully expect the love of Christ to move forward and conquer here and now as well? I fear it is because as Christ said “the harvest is many but the workers are few”, indeed in our current culture I would say it is because the willing are few. This is the goal of the “more than conqueror” community discipleship ministry model is to set up a strong culture of manhood and leadership within our local homes, churches, and schools. In 1 Corinthians 4:20 the Apostle Paul says ” For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power”, it’s time for us to have less talk and more power.
This culture of manhood and leadership will be established through direct, personal, one on one discipleship relationships. These relationships are facilitated through contacts already made in local schools and local churches that exist in those communities. These communities will be transformed by real, personal, life on life discipleship within the community. We must get out of the classroom and into the lives of people. This is a challenging commitment for those who disciple, but let us stop coddling each other with our notions of cheap grace and be willing to live a life that actually costs us something in order to see Christ and His Gospel lifted up. We as a church need to create culture that is centered on Christ. We must stop capitulating to the culture and actually create a culture that young men can be invited to be a part of, leaving their old self and their old ways behind, they do not need to be coddled, they need to be challenged with something more. When disciplers have established this culture in their community it will affect change in the community, and other men (and families) will be drawn to it. These communities will be established in other area towns, several in Springfield, and beyond. Numerous relationships/contacts are already established in these areas, many more will be pursued, and mobilization will follow. Leadership changes things, and strong leadership changes big things. We believe that God intends to utilize this ministry not just to change our home towns or southwest Missouri, but also our nation and even the world.
Comprehensive living arrangements – The on-site Academy Community
For those who have the ability to unplug from the world and invest time on site, we work to offer the full time Academy. Building disciples, whether it be in the community or on-site at the Academy, is a time-intensive process. The future goal of Background Leadership Academy is to utilize facilities and resources to provide living arrangements for Academy students. This will be done so that students can shut off the outside influence of the world and instead engage in learning that is invested life-on-life between mentors and mentees. This is learning through environment and community, not just through classroom. This approach also limits negative influences on students who come from home situations that are not conducive to healthy physical, emotional, and spiritual environments.
Our goal is to establish the full time Academy as a debt free ministry where the participants work to grow their own food and to supply their own needs wherever practical so that we can maximize the resources that God gives us through effective stewardship.
The full time Academy will exhibit the following characteristics
We teach each student the value of cultivating the ability to “be still” and value “peace” in their day. We also will instruct them in a proper inductive method of Bible study that equips them to properly understand how the Bible speaks for itself (original authorial intent), not how they want it to speak (reader response). It is crucial that they learn how to be not just readers of the Word, but students of it. They cannot live their entire spiritual life dependent on others to divide the Word for them. They must possess their own academic understanding of the Word of God.
Our curriculum (see curriculum page) doesn’t only focus on discipling men, but in the process we lead them to know how to disciple others when they are ready. Discipleship is a living process, it cannot be reduced to a 7 step method etc. It is a process that requires a discipler to live out the wisdom he has learned from the Word and the direction he gets from the Holy Spirit. The curriculum is designed where a student can enter into any part of it and begin moving forward wherever he is at. The goal of discipleship is not to “arrive” at a destination, but to build a solid foundation. Once the foundation is built then the one who is being discipled should take on a the role of the discipler to the next generation. This changes the learning paradigm, getting the focus off of themselves and onto someone else, enhancing the learning of both parties in the process.
Since it is essential that men value integrity, it is essential for each Academy student to learn to value and pursue character above all forms of success, performance, and achievement.
Apologetics and worldview training
Our curriculum includes touching on life’s fundamental questions:
- Bible apologetics
- worldview coherence test (origin/meaning/morality/destiny)
- the problem of pleasure
- the problem of pain
Inductive Bible Study
Equipping men to not only read their Bible, but to go to any part of it and understand the objective wisdom that is revealed in it.
Appropriate manhood ceremonies
Manhood is bestowed by men. At appropriate times of achieved milestones it should be celebrated, commemorated, and bestowed upon Academy students by elder men in a formal setting.
Comprehensive Christian faith curriculum
We teach each student the basics of Christian faith and theology. We teach through traditional education strategies (lecture-based) as well as creative strategies to reach all men of differing learning styles. Although classroom will be utilized, the learning focus will be predominantly out of the classroom, interactive, real-life discipleship lessons.
Part of any healthy relationship includes having fun together. We do all types of recreation activities like playing sports, BBQ, swimming, free wrestling/sparring, etc.
Meal times/Academy responsibilities
Background Leadership Academy will be a non-profit, full-time ministry located on land that demands self-sufficiency. By utilizing predominantly on-site/home-produced resources (gardening/keeping and caring for animals), we request students:
- Be responsible for their own meal preparation as a group.
- Maintain the facility and other resources (animal and agriculture)
- Help with cleanup, care and maintenance for the living quarters
When students assist with keeping up the facilities, it allows the ministry to keep costs down while teaching young men the value of hard work — and seeing the visible fruits from their labor.
Answering the call to love their neighbor, Academy students will learn valuable vocational knowledge in the areas of construction and agriculture as they (and teachers) volunteer their time to meet the needs of people in their community.
PT (physical training) will be utilized at different times during the day. This will be one tool that will be used to instill discipline in the students, and to awaken their bodies to the clarity and strength that comes with a healthy body (also brought about by valuing a healthy diet). In addition PT provides excellent opportunities for team building and practical leadership exercises. We will utilize basic martial arts in the area of physical discipline, another effective tool for health, teaching self-discipline, and building confidence. Martial Arts will be taught to the student in increasing degrees that directly correspond to the degree of demonstrated and earned responsibility. An “O” (Obstacle course) will be utilized for the joy of healthy manhood competition, training, and team-building.
Archery and Projectiles (throwing knives and tomahawks)
This recreational skill is one that most young men enjoy implementing and learning. It also provides opportunities to teach about focus, patience, and discipline.
Academy and Community Re-integration
Academy students learn the value of giving back. Discipleship is a living process, as determined by the discipler, each Academy student will be called to re-invest to disciple wherever God places them, whether that be on-site at the Academy, in the local community, or out in the world living their God given purpose within the Great Commission.
Focused manhood/leadership training – short-term
We also offer single-session manhood training for churches and other ministries.
We touch on:
- Renewing your mind – the power of simplistic cumulative retention
- Recklessness – “the absence of controlling fear and the presence of joy, in action”. What are we afraid of ? What other people will think of us? Are we afraid that if we build His kingdom that it will take away from our ability to build ours? We must learn to fight as fighters fight, with a heart quickened by the battle.
- Direct discipleship – are you intrigued at the thought of starting a direct discipleship movement in your community? Let us come to your church and discuss this vision of discipleship, what is consists of, and why it’s powerful.
Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about The Academy.