Education

Training Chicago Area Ministry Leaders

12.20.2016

Successful pilot class leads to creation of Spiritual Leadership Academy

Through Moody Bible Institute’s new Spiritual Leadership Academy, Chicago-area ministry leaders receive Bible training in an affordable, continuing education format.

“Tell the Whole Story: Interpreting Biblical Narrative,” will be the next 16-hour course offered by Moody. The class will meet on Moody’s Chicago campus one Saturday per month, from January to April 2017.

“We will consider how one sees Christ in all stories of Scripture, and learn how to explain the meaning of entire narrative books and ​the full narrative of redemption,” said Moody assistant professor Eric C. Redmond, who will teach the course. With the goal of gaining tips and resources for preaching and teaching narratives, the course will focus on the book of Jonah.

In fall 2016 Redmond taught the Spiritual Leadership Academy’s pilot course, “Bible Study Methods.” More than 130 leaders attended, including pastors, Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, women’s ministry directors, church counselors, and worship leaders. Carla Bonner, a Sunday School teacher in Chicago who attended the class, said the course has caused her to look at the Bible differently. “That’s my biggest take-away, to study differently, to make sure I’m focusing on the intent, not necessarily pulling out just the application.”

Otis Wright, who has also served as an adult Sunday school teacher for almost 30 years, said Redmond’s method and approach transformed the way he now teaches. “He really opens up the classroom for discussion and carefully guides a person to the truth, so I’ve used that method now. That’s powerful.”

Redmond, who has a master’s from Dallas Theological Seminary and is pursuing his PhD from Capital Seminary, has benefited from formal Bible training and is enjoying the opportunity to teach biblical skills to others. In the first course, students learned how to interpret the Sermon on the Mount as a case study for interpreting didactic (i.e. instructive) literature. He utilized Facebook as a learning management system for the course, where he posted videos, PowerPoint presentations, and notes to the closed group.

'We Need Christian Education'

The first course came about after Moody’s president, Dr. Paul Nyquist, and Roy Patterson, special assistant to the president for community relations, met with 16 Chicago area pastors. While inquiring about ways Moody could serve them, a common theme was heard: “We need Christian education, so if you could help train our leaders, that would be wonderful,” Patterson said.

The churches’ request for more training, especially for those lacking formal theological or biblical training, resulted in a decision to begin offering courses for continuing education units under Moody Bible Institute Distance Learning. “The turnout far exceeded all of our expectations,” said Redmond. “People are hungry for a knowledge of the Scriptures,” added Redmond. For example, pastor James Meeks of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago who is also a Moody Trustee sent 70 teachers and ministry leaders from his church.

Additional courses, including “Interpreting Biblical Poetry and Communicating Biblical Truth,” are being planned for future classes within Moody’s Spiritual Leadership Academy.

“Since we’re in Chicago, we want to ensure that we are impacting our city and building relationships,” Patterson stressed. “But, the goal doesn’t end with Chicago, our state, or the Midwest; we want to reach our country and the nations with the truth of God’s Word so many more men and women can be equipped to make an impact for Christ.”

For more information and to register for “Tell the Whole Story: Interpreting Biblical Narrative,” please call (800) 758-6352 or email barbara.spurrier@moody.edu for more information including the cost.

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