What are the advantages of studying in this context for a person who is considering vocational ministry? We take a three-fold approach to educating someone who may eventually shepherd God’s people. First, we believe the character of the prospective leader is of utmost importance. Second, understanding how one is gifted is essential to serving the church well. The Academy is designed to assess the gifts of each man. Third, we believe a deep understanding of God’s Word is essential.
What are the disadvantages of studying in this context for a person who is considering vocational ministry? We want to be clear about the Academy. If you are looking for academic credibility that is based upon the name, history or associations of the institution, the Academy is probably not for you. And that is ok.
How can you assure academic credibility in the Academy? It is wrong to believe that academic credibility is lost if training occurs in the local church instead of the institution. The Academy makes every effort to maintain high academic standards in the local church environment. Often, academic credibility rests on one primary thing: teachers. Yes, there are other elements that are necessary, but if the teacher is not gifted with the ability to thoroughly understand and communicate God’s Word, then academic credibility is compromised. The Academy does not have a full-time faculty but instead we pick and choose men to teach in the disciplines which they excel. Our commitment is to provide world-class evangelical scholars teaching our classes.
Is the Academy seeking to replace the Seminary? We have no desire, nor are we able, to compete with the seminaries. We love seminaries and believe they have done much good for the cause of Christ. However, the Academy is very different than the institutional seminary. While affirming our love and support for this institution, we also believe that men are best trained in the context of a local church, engaging in the ministry of the local church and under elders of the local church. The Academy integrates training for ministry and the local church at every level.
If I am a member of another local church can I attend the Academy? That depends. Track 1 is open to all, regardless of which local church you are a member. Track 2 however, is quite different. You can participate in Track 2 and attend another local church only if your elders oversee your efforts and agree to provide the various elements required of track 2 students.