Saturday, March 21, 2015

Vineyard School of Ministry

Those of you who know me well won’t be surprised to learn how important intellectual stimulation is to me as an individual. But have you thought about how important ongoing learning ought to be to ministry leaders too? It’s easy to feel intellectually isolated in developing countries, and to focus on serving others and not on replenishing yourself.

That’s why I’m excited about the opportunity to press into the Word alongside East Africans at Vineyard School of Ministry (VSM) in Nairobi. I’ve been in conversation with the important leaders in my life and we all agree that this program is God-shaped ideal for several reasons.

Vineyard Affiliation
The VSM program is affiliated with the Vineyard Association of Churches (both Vineyard USA and Vineyard International), and the Vineyard Institute. Learn more about what it means to have a Vineyard flavor here.

Like-minded Missions
The VSM and Surprised by Hope missions are like-minded in that 1) VSM is committed to empowering East Africans to proclaim and demonstrate the kingdom of God as missional agents, and 2) SbH is dedicated to seeing East Africans become positive influencers in their community, in their country, and in the body of Christ. The majority of those we serve are pastors or church leaders who are trying to serve their communities.

African Context
The VSM program delivers its teaching from a uniquely African contextual lens and is for leaders who wish to express their faith in a distinctly African style. Being submerged in the African perspective will certainly improve my understanding of the source of some of the rather peculiar (to Westerners) thinking as well as prepare me to address unbiblical theologies as I minister here.

Daystar University Collaboration
Daystar University is one of the largest Christian liberal arts universities in Africa and is committed to offering Christian education to the church and the world. This collaboration means jointly working to set performance standards, monitor and evaluate students, supervise and approve instructors, and approve exams and final grades. Better yet, the collaboration means the school will have degree of rigor from which I will benefit.

Schedule Ideality
The VSM program meets for two consecutive weeks during the three primary school holidays – April, August, and December, which means I will focus on school when in school and ministry the remaining weeks. I won’t be dividing my attention with too strenuous a workload therefore exposing the ministry to suffering.

Our first week of class begins April 3 and will address Father God & His Family: Systematic Theology I. Our second week of class begins April 10 and will address Church Planting. After that, I return to full time ministry until the first two weeks in August. Your prayers and encouragement are appreciated as I begin this new endeavor in a new town with new people under a new system of education. 

Let's see what the Lord will do with Surprised by Hope through our obedience.