Church-based is central to the whole concept of this initiative. The idea of church-based theological education (C-BTE) has developed in a series of nine white papers presented by Jeff Reed over a ten-year period (the six core papers are available for download). C-BTE is theological education based in the life of churches, not schools housed in church buildings. All of the programs are designed and taught in churches, by churches, and for churches. Leaders of churches, church networks, and church-planting movements do all of the training in the context of their ministries.
5 Major Tenets of Church-Based Theological Education:
- C-BTE must be based in the life of a local church and/or a movement of churches.
- C-BTE must be primarily viewed as a process of entrusting (modeling and mentoring) sound doctrine to faithful men.
- C-BTE must take place in the context of establishing churches.
- C-BTE must be viewed as a need for all men and women regardless of their stations in life.
- C-BTE must begin with the first principles of the faith.
The Antioch School's church-based character is seen in many ways:
- All Antioch School programs are based on nonformal, in-service, thoroughly church-based theological education programs for leadership development.
- Students admitted to Antioch School degree programs must be participating with a partner (a church association/denomination, church-planting movement, Bible college/seminary, mission agency, or local church with a certified leader) and be recommended by a certified leader of that partner. No individual student is able to self-select to be in an Antioch School program.
- Degrees are granted on the basis of rigorous assessment of competencies developed and demonstrated in church ministry contexts.
- Leaders of the churches in which students are learning provide are a primary source of training and assessment according to biblical qualifications for ministry.
- Partner churches are able to customize the program to include competency sets that are necessary for ministry in their contexts or networks.
- Leadership Series I courses are based on the recognition that the New Testament is a manual for development of churches and church leaders. Leadership Series II courses are based on a biblical theology in culture approach, which takes seriously that all Scripture is truly intended for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.
- The pedagogy is designed around the central role of the church, both as the content to study and the context in which to learn.
- The Antioch School is a tool of a larger initiative to serve emerging leaders of churches, church networks, and church-planting movements engaged in the spontaneous expansion of the gospel.