The Teachers Service Team met in early April in Dallas of 2017.
Here are the items we discussed:
The Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology (RMSMT)
We began with a report from Glenn Giles, the director of the Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology in Denver. The school offers both online and hybrid (online and face-to-face) classroom courses toward three state authorized Master's degrees, one in Christian Ministry and one in Biblical Studies and now a Master's Degree in Biblical Studies with Languages (Greek and Hebrew). The school also in its relationship with Lincoln Christian University provides for students to transfer up to half of the credits taken at RMSMT toward LCU accredited Masters degrees in ministry and theology, including specifically the Master of Arts in Bible and Theology and the Master of Divinity degrees. We have just had our first RMSMT student (Jan Louie Uy) transfer graduate credits into the LCU Master of Arts in Bible and Theology program.
Many students are taking advantage of this affordable means of getting training in Bible study. Third World students are taking courses for one-fourth the tuition or less than first world students pay. It is one of our main mission goals to provide affordable graduate Bible and Ministry education to third world students. Students from the third world are very grateful for the online courses. They can have online discussions and learn from one another.
The school has been asked to create a Bachelors program. The certificate program is on hold right now as we look more at the Bachelor's degree program for worldwide students. We had two students who began our trial certificate program but neither one has completed their first course successfully so we have discontinued the certificate program. What we are looking at doing is creating a regular MTA program here in Denver separate from the graduate or undergraduate programs of RMSMT. It would be for those students who may not be able to do graduate study or who do not want to do the full blown graduate or undergraduate level programs. But this has to be developed and would not be in our RMSMT catalog. It would be a separate entity.
Rolan Monje commented, "There has been an increase in interest for Bible knowledge in the last few years. This is especially true for older disciples. The international component gives extra 'sinews' for connecting the worldwide moment. The students appreciate the teachers being active ministers."
Steve Kinnard commented, "The school allows students to get a degree for a much reduced price before getting into Lincoln Christian University accredited degree program. The international fellowships brings a great dynamic to the online discussion. It is mutually beneficial for 1st and 3rd world partners."
Dr. Glenn Giles is to be commended for the work he has put into the school. It was his dream to launch a theological school among our movement of churches, and the dream has become a reality.
Some of the accomplishments this year:
- Student enrollment has now increased to 46 students, half of which are first world students and half of which are third world students. We now have students in the Philippines, Singapore, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, UK, Haiti, and the US.
- We had our first transfer of credits of one of our students to LCU validating the quality of our programs are on a level equivalent with regional accreditation standards.
Ministry Training Academies (MTA)
The Teachers Service Team completed a core curriculum of twelve classes for our MTAs across the world. The curriculum was approved by the Evangelists and Elders teams. Many MTAs have been started in various regions of the world.
Most recently a MTA was started in Lagos, Nigeria to train and educate interns throughout English-speaking West Africa. Fred George is directing this school.
Also, Steve Brown reports from Ecuador:
This year we started teaching the MTA curriculum online in Spanish for the South American churches (with the help of Sebastian Sierra and the help of a number of other teachers). We are talking with Glenn Giles about becoming the Spanish arm of the Denver school. We had over 200 students sign up for the first course.
We plan on making a directory of the schools in the near future. We also plan on making a directory of the recognized teachers across our churches.
- Women's Committee
- A committee has been formed to research the women's role from a biblical perspective and to discuss ways that the gifts of women can be utilized in a greater way to glorify God and strengthen our churches.
- Although we have spent time discussing this issue, no paper has been started. Some of the teachers in the Chicago church and the US Midwest churches have been working on a paper. We need to spend more focused and directed time on this important topic.
- We continue to use various teaching platforms like Blackboard to get classes to our people.
- Teacher Development
- Valdur Koha encouraged us to take a fresh look at what we want to accomplish here. Some congregations, like Boston, do have programs where teachers are being trained. Steve Kinnard asked us to take a look globally. Steve has been training teachers in Africa and the Caribbean.
- We should ask:
- What goals can be set for regional families?
- What are the regional needs?
- What are best practices?
- What are the best models?
- Also, we must have local buy-in for this to be effective. It is crucial that we work with regional chairmen for this to make progress.
- Disputable Matters & Hermeneutics
- Although this has been a committee for years, we aren't any closer to working on a paper than we were years ago. Although we understand the importance of the topic and some of us have written individually on the topic, it is difficult to get momentum as a group here. This is where a lack of resources hurts us. Most of us are working as full time staff in the ministry and doing the teaching ministry. If we could only focus on teaching, then these projects would be easier.
- International Teachers Seminar/Biblical Study Tour
- In October of 2016 Douglas Jacoby, Steve Kinnard, and Joey Harris co-led the 2016 Biblical Study Tour to the Holy Land. Everyone had a great time walking in the steps of Jesus. The highlight for most people was the Sunday church service with prayer time in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- In August of 2017 Jacoby and Kinnard will lead another tour. 85 people from 20 different countries are attending. The weather will be hot, but that will not not squelch the spirit of the participants.
- Another tour is scheduled for late October of 2018. Information can be found at https://www.douglasjacoby.com/2018-biblical-study-tour/.
- We are discussing hosting a Teachers Conference alongside one of our upcoming Teachers Service Team meeting in 2018 or 2019. Be on the lookout for more information concerning this Teachers Conference.
- Divorce and Remarriage: A paper on marriage, divorce, and remarriage has been completed. It has been sent to the evangelists and elders service teams for review. After they review the paper, it will be posted for everyone to read and use.
- Congregational Teaching: We want to capture and highlight what is going on currently in many of our churches. Some churches are doing an excellent job here. Resources are being created, but we need a way to advertise and distribute these resources.
- Church Discipline Taskforce: A template and some background has been generated. We must figure out a way to disseminate this material to other people.
- The Teachers Corner: The Teachers Service team has a presence on Disciples Today. It is called The Teachers Corner. Tammy Fleming has done an amazing job on this project. The material can also be found at teachicoc.org. We want to continue to add material to these sites.
A big part of the April meeting was the discussion ICOC 3.0. Ed Anton opened our discussion with a couple of questions: Why is it needed for us to do this rethink for ICOC 3.0? How can we do a better job of bringing Jesus to the entire world? Then Ed suggested, "We must try to forge something very different from what we have done in the past–The cooperation of hierarchy with the benefits of autonomy."
Here are a few points that were made by various people during our discussion:
- Is the delegates system working?
- We must ask the question–Is what we are doing working well? 1.5% growth is low with no plan or expectation for change.
- We have lost a mantra as a movement. Our problem is not leadership. In Boston, discipleship was fantastic and simple. In '86 to '88 we grew fastest when we were assimilating as a movement. In '97 Europe, Africa and the Middle East got stretched. We must revive the moment. That is more important than the structure. We must be clear about what our problem is. It takes 25 disciples to make a disciple now.
- We don't seem to be united on a global vision. What is the best global vision for us as a movement. Is there better wording that inspires us. What is our ethos and mantra?
- We have set structure for the solution, but many people in our churches don't understand what the problem really is. We have a concern about understanding the structure versus the mission. We are missing the component of diversity, younger people, and women in this meeting
- We need cooperation and purpose. We must be cooperative with a structure that has a clear function.
This discussion was healthy and vibrant. The next couple of days were spend in small group discussions on the topic.
To help prepare everyone for the ICOC 3.0 discussions, the Teachers Service Team was tasked with developing a few video lessons. The following brothers did an excellent job with their presentations:
- Ed Anton – Cooperation in the New Testament
- Steve Staten – Cooperation, A Look Through the Church History
- Gordon Ferguson – Cooperation and Autonomy, a Comparison
- Valdur Koha – Organizing For the Future
Teachers Service Team Subcommittees:
- Teacher Development - Valdur Koha (Chair), Steve Kinnard, Joey Harris, Rolan Monje
- Congregational Teaching - Ed Anton (Chair), Fred Faller, Douglas Jacoby, Joey Harris
- Technology - Arturo Elizarraras (Chair), Joey Harris
- Accreditation/RMSMT - Glenn Giles (Chair), Steve Kinnard
- Disputable Matters and Hermeneutics - Steve Staten (Chair), Douglas Jacoby, Joey Harris, Kay McKean, Steve Kinnard
- Women's Teaching Ministry - Kay McKean (Co-Chair), Deb Anton (Co-Chair), Suzette Lewis
- International Teachers Seminar - Douglas Jacoby (Chair), Steve Kinnard Divorce and Remarriage, a re-examination - Valdur Koha (Chair), Steve Kinnard, Suzette Lewis, Courtney Bailey, Joey Harris
- Church Discipline - Steve Staten (Chair), Deb Anton, Glenn Giles
- Women's Role - Deb Anton, Suzette Lewis, Kay McKean, Steve Kinnard, Courtney Bailey, Joey Harris
- Teacher's Corner - Tammy Fleming
Members of the Teachers Service Team:
Ed Anton, Chair, Virginia Beach
Dr. Deb Anton, Virginia Beach
Kay McKean, Northern Virginia
Steve Brown, Buenos Aries
Steve Staten, Chicago
Dr. Douglas Jacoby, Atlanta
Joey Harris, Augusta
Andy Fleming, Moscow
Tammy Fleming, Moscow
Dr. Glenn Giles, Denver
Fred Faller, Boston
Valdur Koha, Boston
Courtney Bailey, Kingston
Arturo Elizarraras, Mexico City
Suzette Lewis, Toronto
Dr. Rolan Monje, Manila
Dave Pocta, San Antonio
Dr. Steve Kinnard, New York