Vernon Advent Christian Church
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September 2014

Monday, September 01, 2014 View Comments Comments (0)

 Eastern Regional Association

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Antioch School Connection
September 2014

This is a monthly update for Advent Christians who are interested in Antioch School.  It will include updates, upcoming opportunities, practical information and stories from students and groups.  I hope you find this useful.

Pastor Jesse Stevens

I recently began my involvement with Antioch classes and materials. In fact, it has been just over a year since I started. My introduction began with involvement in a small group, as a group in our church started with the First Principles Series book "Becoming a Disciple". The format of the study was a little bit different than pretty much every study I had previously done. There was more note taking, more reflection, and more discussion and probing questions in the class. It took a while to get used to that, but, once we did I realized that there was a benefit to the study format. It forced participants to really think through and process their conclusions, as well as apply the biblical truths to their setting. In fact, the last study of the six sessions, gives the group and participants a chance to review, summarize, and commit to some future action steps regarding some of the main points one had learned during the study. That first study, and the next two we completed within the course of the following year (Becoming a Family of Families, and Participating in the Mission of the Church), has really been challenging. As we completed each study lesson, and moved into the next studies, leaders have become more adept at facilitating the Socratic discussions, participants have gotten used to the nature of the study, and, we have made seen greater results coming out of the studies. I want to also point out, it isn't just the content of the study that one grows in. It is the method of study, and the development of critical biblical thinking that is a result of the studies that is of equal value to the participants.


I also had the opportunity to take the first four Leadership Series Classes with some other pastors via WebEx. It was great getting to know some of the pastors in the Northeast as we learned and were challenged together. It was not uncommon to for us pastors (some of which were veteran pastors of over 30 years) to say, "This has challenged my thinking". Or, "I haven't been focusing on that aspect in ministry in the past". These leadership Series Courses take students to a greater depth of study, address issues of church planting and multiplication on the local Church level, forces one to look at a systematic discipleship development process, and develops leaders of local churches by focusing on discipling individual household leaders to lead their families. This is not a comprehensive list, but some of the areas that we were challenged in the courses and seem to be catalytic types of issues.


Some of the positive results that I see that can be brought about using the Antioch School and BILD resources include: 1) Resources that are available to a local church that address discipleship and leadership development at any level. In other words, if a church only wanted to utilize small group materials, they could do that. If they only wanted to work on some leadership development with leaders within the church they could do that through the Leaders Series. But, they could work with some leaders that they have identified as gifted and called to ministry, and help prepare them for ministry be providing the context at a local Church for earning a degree - A B.S, a Master's, or a D.Min. Imagine that, church raising up and training their own leaders and pastors. Or, training and raising up pastors to be sent out to plant churches.


Antioch isn't just about offering degrees or materials either. The reality is, the nature of the Leaders Series, and First Principle Series cause participants to work through some foundational biblical issues in way that builds on each other. They continue to cause participants to recall previous conclusions, helping participants to develop biblically accurate understandings and processes to address various issues in the life of the Christian and the life of the local Church. It really is about a multi-pronged approach to disciple-making. The groups and classes address believers at any level of maturity, from "infants in Christ" to those who are "teachers". Anyone can benefit, and it can be used in a variety of settings.


Finally, as you go through the classes and/or studies, there are some "threads" that are included in each study that continue to help the participant see a bigger picture to local church life. Things like: What it means to live in a Christian household; How the local church parallels the Christian household; Church growth and church planting as a natural part of a cycle within a local church; The need for the local Church to establish believers, families and households in the faith, so the church is positioned for long-term, multigenerational impact. These are issues that are not necessarily included in other materials as you go from class to class, or group to group.


Throughout the course of study over this past 12 plus months, I have talked with numerous pastors and leaders. Some have been utilizing the Antioch and BILD resources for several years, while others are just becoming exposed to them. There are some concerns or potential pitfalls that are worth mentioning. First, sometimes as study goes on, the focus of the study can become very systematic and programmatic driven. Some of the courses do focus students on discovering some prescribed order to ministry. However, because each church, group leader, and group setting is different, there is latitude in the application of various conclusions. Another concern to address is the role of the facilitator. The facilitator of The First Principle and Leader Series Courses is crucial. They set the course of study. They force the participants to dig deeper. They help the class to discover and define biblical truth and develop biblical thinking. It is paramount that facilitators have some type of preparation for leading these groups/classes. At the very least there is a 6 session facilitators study available through Bild resources that every leader should go through before facilitating a class or group. Also beneficial would be to participate in a class or study. And finally, going through the Antioch Leadership Certification training helps to get an overview of some studies, Socratic process, and a bigger picture of more than just a few Bible studies or classes.


I want to conclude with this. While Antioch / BILD resources may not "The" solution to church discipleship, church leadership development, church planting, and church multiplication, it does offer some tested and biblically accurate solutions. In fact, they address issues in such a way that are inclusive of several ideas and concepts not included in other study / leadership development materials. In addition, the availability of the materials to the local church, the transferability to various church and cultural settings, the availability of the degree programs to students at the locale of the local church, and the affordability of different materials ($7 per Small group guide; $55-$75 per leaders course; and only $7,200 for tuition for each degree program - B.S., M.Div, or D.Min) make utilizing these resources something that should be looked at and tried by any church. It seems that instituting any leadership development or disciple-making process at a local church is lots of work. But personally, I would argue that utilizing the Antioch / BILD resources are well worth the effort that it would take to utilize any resource. And this particular resource encompasses many other areas not included in others. In fact, it has been my experience that Antioch could not only have a benefit at a local church level and within the lives of individuals in our local churches, but could also greatly benefit in helping our local churches be involved in the global expansion of the Kingdom.  




Larry Kreider writes: "American Christians have been conditioned to believe in what I call the "holy man" and "holy building" myths. Every Sunday morning, they expect to find the holy man in a holy building who will minister to their needs. The holy man must be the counselor and teacher and must be available twenty-four hours a day. Rather than becoming disciples and ministers, these well meaning Christians are merely consumers of ministry."     



Fall Courses

The goal for this Fall is for there to be an ACTS course being offered in all 5 regions of the country.  We have identified leaders who will offer the courses and are presently recruiting Pastors and Leaders in each Region to meet together for 15 weeks to gain an understanding of the value of leadership development through Antioch.  There are also local groups who will be meeting this fall to equip those in the local church/area, as well as online courses being offered in the Eastern Region to facilitate those who are ready for other courses.  The goal in all of this is for us to train Pastors in the material so that they can raise up a whole generation of actively engaged ministry leaders.  Contact the Regional office to register or for more info.  603-332-1412


Would you like to learn more about leading a Socratic Discussion?  Or how about designing a practicum?  There are various online meetings almost daily that are designed to help educate you about the way Antioch works.  You can become a certified leader, get immersed in a 2 day version of a course, or attend an e-luncheon and ask all of your burning questions.  Please click this link and check out all the helps that are available to you.

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Eastern Regional Annual Meeting
October 18, 2014 
State Street Church, Portsmouth NH


Guest Speaker:  Rev. Steve Brown, President Berkshire Institute of Christian Studies


We are pleased to announce that our guest speaker this year will be Rev. Steve Brown.  Steve has served as the President of BICS for over 20 years and as an educator, has been an advocate of Church based Theological education for some time.  Steve will be sharing with us on Paradigm Shifts that are transforming the church today and will continue to challenge our thinking in the days to come.  


For more information and to REGISTER ON LINE - Click here



November 8-9th
259 Kemble St., Lenox, MA


Will have Rev. Voddie Bauchman speaking on Saturday and Sunday.  Voddie is the author of a number of books including Family Driven Faith, and Family Shepherds.  He will be addressing the issue of being a family of families and what it means to have an integrated family ministry versus age segregated ministry.  He is the father of 9 children and has been married to Bridget since 1989.  He currently serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring,Texas.  Please consider attending this event that fits so well with what we have learned through the Antioch School.  You can contact the church office for more information.  (413) 617-2212.  



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