The history of the Antioch School goes back to the early 1970s when Jeff Reed desired to develop his equipping gifts in the context of local church ministry. The elders at Ontario Bible Church (OBC—now known as Oakwood Road Church) in Ames, Iowa, agreed for Jeff to be trained in this way. At the end of Jeff's training, the elders asked him to formalize the training so that others at the church could go through a similar equipping process. Having been influenced strongly by Ray Stedman's Body Life and Ephesians 4, he established a training program influenced by Ray Stedman's Scribe School and John MacArthur's Logos School. This was the beginning of the Ministry Apprenticeship Program and eventually the Leadership Series resources and an extensive life development program.
Mentoring of Jeff Reed
Over the next 25 years, Jeff was mentored by Walter Kaiser (Hermeneutics and Biblical Theology), Ted Ward (Missions, Theology in Culture, Christian Education, and Theological Education), Art Miller (Lifelong Learning), Tom McCallie (Philanthropy, Theological Education, and Missions), Jacques Alexanian (Theological Education), David Hesselgrave (Missions), Elliott Johnson (Hermeneutics), and Gene Getz (Church Renewal).
An elder at OBC, Keith Cook, and his wife Carol were aware of the needs of pastors in India, since Carol grew up there with her missionary family. In the early 1980s, they approached Jeff to take a trip to India to see if this ministry apprenticeship idea could work for the multitude of untrained pastors there who could not go to seminary. The idea was welcomed by India pastors, and Jeff began seeking funds to finance the translation of the new church-based materials, key books, and other costs. Churches he approached for funding became interested in the training for themselves also. As more and more requests for training came, BILD International was formalized in 1986 to serve churches throughout the United States and to develop resource centers that have clusters of gifted leaders and Antioch-type churches that share the same church-based philosophy and vision and are ready to help meet the crying need of churches worldwide of having equipped leaders.
We have produced resources for all levels of theological education. Parenting with a Plan is a parent development tool to help raise children 018 in a multi-generational context. The First Principles studies and the Establishing Series of courses (4) are used in small groups to establish young people and adults in their faith. Leadership Series courses (25) provide rigorous and comprehensive development for church leaders through in-service learning and theology-in-culture emphasis. Paradigm Transformation Projects help strategic leaders of churches and church networks address key paradigmatic issues in theological education. Life(n) (also known as the Seventh Priority Life Development Portfolio) is a comprehensive tool for lifelong development.
Today, we are known as a global leader in church-based theological education. At the invitation of national church leaders, we work formally with associations of churches in fourteen countries, helping them develop church-based theological education paths and resources to meet their needs for church leadership and is cultivating many other groups worldwide. Large scale, nationwide projects are underway in Nigeria, Cambodia, Peru, and India. Other projects are underway in Australia, Portugal, France, Pakistan, Albania, Japan, Central African Republic, and Myanmar. Numerous other requests have been received and are under consideration.
Launching the Antioch School
The Antioch School is the latest tool developed in our 30+ years of support for church-based theological education. Numerous partnerships with other academic institutions have been made through the years, such as Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Doctor of Ministry track in Global Church-Based Theological Education, which is designed around our Paradigm Transformation Projects. The Antioch School is a way of providing academic credentials for ministry training that is uniquely suited for our partners in nonformal, in-service, church-based theological education.
In 2010, the Antioch School received accreditation from the Distance Education and Accrediting Commission* (DEAC), formerly known as the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Antioch School is the first and only truly church-based and competency-based to be accredited by an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education. The DEAC is the premier accrediting agency and the “gold standard” for institutions using non-traditional educational formats.
*The Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Accrediting Commission (DEAC), 1601 18th Street, NW, Suite 2, Washington, DC 20009, (202) 234-5100.