ON at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
Johan Mostert, professor of Community Psychology
Charlie Self, professor of Church History
The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) is developing a unique discipleship assessment for churches. An innovative product at the heart of this effort is a web tool for outcome-based discipleship assessment. This tool will provide individuals and communities with detailed profiles of their current state of whole-life discipleship. The assessment is a centerpiece of our multifaceted program as AGTS continues to infuse faith/work/economics into our curricular and co-curricular activities and partnerships with our denomination and sister movements.
What makes this assessment important is the integration of faith, work, and economics concepts in several of the outcomes. There are five major domains, with eight specific outcomes in each domain. The 40 outcomes are biblical and measurable, offering the opportunity to celebrate real progress in discipleship. This is not a simplistic program or dated curriculum, but an empirically tested assessment that will help believers and congregations know where to focus their energies for Christian maturity.
The five domains are spiritual formation, personal wholeness, healthy relationships, vocational clarity, and economics and work. The assessment is designed to emphasize how all of these work together. The vocation and economics/work domains are rarely part of any discipleship tools, and we are excited that we can help bridge the divide between the Sunday and Monday, sacred and secular gaps that characterize much of church life.
The assessment is in the beta-testing phase, as the comprehensive questions we developed to help people assess their discipleship are statistically evaluated. Beginning in January 2014, five congregations will participate in comprehensive field testing, as pastors lead their communities in focused discipleship regarding select outcomes, especially in the arenas of work and economics. When it is ready for public release, we believe this curriculum will be an important tool that serves the church in its mission, and weaves the facets of economic wisdom into the fabric of whole-life discipleship.
ON at Wesley Seminary/Indiana Wesleyan University
Eddy Shigley, Director of the Kern Ministry Program
Indiana Wesleyan University is relatively new to the Oikonomia Network (ON), but we expect to gain significant traction with several upcoming events. Our ON program reaches undergraduate ministry students involved in our five-year degree program – sponsored by The Kern Family Foundation – as well as our graduate seminary.
In January, Ron Blue, entrepreneur, financial planner, and founder of Ronald Blue & Co., will kick off our Distinguished Lecture Series by speaking on “Biblical Financial Stewardship” to over 300 of our ministry majors from both schools. We will host a roundtable discussion following the training, as well as a Q&A session during dinner. In March, another lecture in the series will feature Patrick Johnson and Sharon Epps of Generous Church discussing “Generous Church/Better Economy.” There will be four 45-minute seminars on the topic.
We have also started an internship program that will allow ministry students from both schools to shadow top-level executive leaders at several local businesses. This internship is designed to help our students learn how business leaders think, engage their faith in the business world, and incorporate biblical stewardship principles to enhance the economy.
Our ON program launched in March 2013 with an event celebrating the publication of “How God Makes the World a Better Place: A Wesleyan Primer on Faith, Work, and Economic Transformation,” written by our president, David Wright, and published by the Acton Institute. At this event, David Kim of the Center for Faith and Work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church and Stephen Grabill of the Acton Institute discussed “The Theological Exposition of the Relationship Between Faith, Work and Economic Forces,” as well as best practices from the Center for Faith and Work. Following the lecture, faculty members and representatives from the Sagamore Institute, a think tank headquartered nearby in Indianapolis, led students in round-table discussions and Q&A sessions concerning a theology of work. We experienced a tremendous turnout of students, faculty members, local pastors, and community leaders engaged in the round-table discussion.