A report of the Teachers Service Team meeting in Kingston, Jamaica from October 12-13, 2015.
Day One. October 12.
Steve Kinnard opened the meeting with a devotional based on 1 Corinthians. He explained that part of what we do as a service team is field questions from various corners of our ministry about different items that are concerning to leaders and members in our churches. Recently, we have been asked to consider three topics: (1) church discipline (2) marriage, divorce, and remarriage, and (3) the women’s role in the church. It just so happens that all three of these topics come up in Corinthians. Another topic that is mentioned in 1 Corinthians is the use of spiritual gifts. Paul explains spiritual gifts in chapters 12-14. Between chapters 12 and 14, he places a beautiful excursus on love. This passage stands as a reminder to us that as we continue to work on various difficult and important issues in our movement of churches, we must never forget the need to demonstrate love to everyone.
We had a time of sharing by different members of our group.
- Dave Pocta shared about how well the Ministry Training Academies are going in Africa. There are now three ongoing academies there.
- Courtney Bailey shared about how great the academies are going in the Caribbean.
- Kay shared about how the church in Northern Virginia is using Sunday Morning for teaching and educating disciples. Twice a year they offer a selection of six-week courses on various topics for the members of the church.
C. Reach 2016.
The teachers discussed if we would like to have a few classes at the ILC in St. Louis in 2016. We decided we want to offer three breakout classes.
- Class One. Maturing Our Church. “Lord teach us.” Luke 11:1.
- The disciples asked Jesus to teach them. Many of the members of our churches desire deep, biblical teaching in the church. This class will focus on the need to build a culture of inspirational education and teaching in our churches. We must answer the call of hungry disciples in our ministry who want to be fed the meat of God’s Word.
- Teachers: Ed Anton, Kay McKean, Dave Pocta, and Rolan Monje.
- Class Two. Building a Culture of Spiritual Growth. “Every day Jesus was teaching.” Luke 19:47.
- How? This class will focus on how to build a culture within the church where deep, consistent Bible study leads to spiritual growth and maturity. We will discuss principles and best practices. Also, suggestions and models of programs that promote a culture of inspirational life-changing Bible study will be given.
- Teachers: Ed Anton, Valdur Koha, Randy McKean, Suzette Lewis, Dave Pocta
- Class Three: How to Deal with Difficult Passages. “Devoted to the Apostles’ teaching.” Acts 2:42.
- The Apostle Peter noted that Paul wrote, “some things that are hard to understand.” This class will look at how to process things that are difficult to understand. How do we share ideas about our understanding of some difficult passages without sounding dogmatic or sectarian? We will consider topics like the head covering, the women’s role, the paradigm shift, and pacifism.
- Teachers: Steve Kinnard, Douglas Jacoby, Kay McKean, Deb Anton, Courtney Bailey
D. A Look at Structure.
Every few years we want to take a step back and look at the leadership structure in our churches. For example, is the delegate voting process still working for us? A task force is being formed that will develop a survey with questions concerning structure. This survey will be sent to various evangelists, elders, and teachers in our churches.
E. Church Discipline.
Steve Staten is the point person for writing a paper on church discipline. The goal is to cover the various passages on the topic and to suggest best practices based on these scripture. Goal: To finish this paper by Feb 1, 2016. This paper can be discussed at the collaborative meeting in Los Angeles in March 2016.
Steve Staten suggested we look at:
- How our cultural assumptions are different from traditional COC churches.
- Wellness issues: What about wellness issues of those under these situations? Steve Staten has his own script on how to deal with these people who are in these situation.
- Make sure our churches know that this material (the church discipline paper) is available. In the past this type of thing was not accessible and it needs to be.
F. Marriage and Divorce and Remarriage.
We need to finish our paper on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage.
Valdur Koha suggested they have an outline of OT and NT passages. We need for one piece of the paper to look at scripture passages and state what that passage says. Then we need to discuss what questions need to be asked. We also need to look at what are the possible interpretations that are being circulated today. The paper should contain three pieces:
- What does the Bible say?
- How do we counsel?
- What are areas for possible church discipline, and how this discipline needs to be consistent.
Steve Kinnard suggested that this paper may not come out with a single position, but it might appear something like the paper about Christians in the military which offered two options. He suggested that there are a lot of nuances on this issue, and we need to ask the right questions and see if we can answer them.
Timeline: Feb 15 as the final date to be finished.
Everyone involved in writing a section of the paper should have his or her part finished by mid-November.
G. Women’s Role in the Church Paper
Steve Kinnard will be the point person on this paper. We need to look at each scripture which speaks to the women’s role in the church. We want our women to be valued and to feel valued in our churches. This paper will be the main topic of our meeting in March. Let’s work on the material and get ready for that meeting.
Day 2, Oct 13, 2015
Dave Pocta talked about publishing material and resources for our churches that would help disciples both young and old to grow, mature, and be grounded in the text. He shared some of the material he has developed over the last few years. One example is a new publication entitled, “Forty-two Quiet Times on Purity.” These resources should be user-friendly for people within our ministries. We want to get material into the hands of the general audience in our churches.
We discussed developing free apps for downloads of these resources. Dave Pocta is looking into this. We could feed sermons and sermon outlines to the third world and to others through these apps. We could have a teacher’s channel. We want to have a central site where people can go to get educational material. This site would contain material from many different churches and authors.
Glenn Giles presented the Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology. On December 4, 2014 our Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology (RMSMT) in Denver was authorized by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to teach graduate classes in Religion and to grant Masters Degrees in Biblical Studies and Ministry. Entrance into these programs requires a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent by the student from an approved school. The quality and standards of the courses will be the same as other master programs.
We are not yet accredited, but we have approval with Lincoln Christian University to begin students with a few accredited courses that would transfer into Lincoln Christian University.
On September 5, 2015 the RMSMT began its first course “Introduction to the New Testament.” Presently there are 7 students taking the course for credit and 9 students are auditing the course.
There is a plan to launch online courses on January 2016.
C. Creating a Forum to Discuss New Ideas.
Steve Staten mentioned that one of the greatest changes in Western civilization was the change from the top down world (directive based) to a cooperation culture where leaders of organizations get feed back from the people. This turned things upside down. We need to create a cooperation culture and are late in doing it.
Steve Kinnard suggested that we need to think about our models and have discussions about our ideas (not just presentations without collaboration). For example, we need to think through our model of having a paid minister for each congregation. Will this work in Africa or Asia? There are places where the house church model needs to be embraced. It must not be an “either-or” but a “both-and” way of doing things, and this needs to be based on each situation. In China, we were forced into doing house churches. That’s fine. There will be people in other places who will want a large assembly.
Valdur Koha mentioned that one of our biggest weaknesses is how we discuss things (or how we never get around to having discussion on things). We need not to dismiss our past when we talk about trying new things. God used us in the early phases of our movement to do great things (even if the structure was inappropriate). You cannot dismiss the fact that God blessed the early days of the ICOC. That leads to the question about importance. Faith and zeal in those days was right. So we should not embrace an approach that dismisses the whole thing. Val was inspired with what he saw when he became a disciple; we need not dismiss the whole thing now.
Dave Pocta mentioned that when the ICOC started, most leaders were between 20-25 years of age. You had a platform and a voice. You were building churches and deciding things. This younger generation does not have a platform where can they go and express themselves.
Kay McKean agreed that our young people need a platform where they can share ideas without being put down by the older generation. But, we all need to be taught that you can move forward without dismissing the past. We have to appreciate what was learned from the past. Where would we be without church history and other people in our lives?
Suzette asked if the debate should be on how we have these discussions and not become polarized?
Steve Kinnard mentioned that we don’t want to have our group become a monument. We need to do things by having discussions and really working on ways to work together on new ideas. We need to be careful on how things are expressed.
Dave Pocta mentioned that it is the teachers group’s responsibility to work on this platform. When various traditions get in the way, we need to be willing to throw them out.
D. Adding people to the group.
Dave Pocta has been invited to the join the teachers team.
Also, Andy and Tammy Fleming have been invited.
E. Developing a Teachers Development Group.
Suzette Lewis suggested that we form a group made up of young people who want to become teachers. We could help them grow and mature so that they can get ready to join the group. We need to discuss expectations of the people who come into this group. It is an idea we need to pursue.
F. Next Meetings.
- We will meet in LA in March.
- We will meet in St. Louis in July.
- We might have a third meeting in the fall.
Teachers Service Team Subcommittees
Teacher Development. Valdur Koha, chair
Steve Kinnard, Joey Harris, Gordon Ferguson, Rolan Monje, Reese Neyland
Congregational Teaching. Ed Anton, chair
Fred Faller, Douglas Jacoby, Joey Harris
Technology. Arturo Elizarraras, chair
Accreditation: Glenn Giles, chair
Disputable Matters and Hermeneutics: Steve Staten, chair
Douglas Jacoby, Joey Harris, Kay McKean, Steve Kinnard
Women’s Teaching Ministry. Kay McKean, Deb Anton, co-chair
International Teachers Seminar: Douglas Jacoby, chair
Divorce and Remarriage, a re-examination. Valdur Koha, chair
Steve Kinnard, Suzette Lewis, Courtney Bailey
Church Discipline: Steve Staten, chair
Deb Anton, Glenn Giles
Women’s Role. Steve Kinnard, chair
Deb Anton, Suzette Lewis, Kay McKean, Courtney Bailey
Members of the Teachers Service Team:
Dr. Steve Kinnard, chair, New York
Dr. Rolan Monje, Manila
Ed Anton, Virginia Beach
Dr. Deb Anton, Virginia Beach
Kay McKean, Northern Virginia
Steve Brown, Buenos Aries
Steve Staten, Chicago
Gordon Ferguson, Los Angeles
Reese Neyland, Los Angeles
Dr. Douglas Jacoby, Atlanta
Joey Harris, Augusta
Dr. Glenn Giles, Denver
Fred Faller, Boston
Valdur Koha, Boston
Courtney Bailey, Kingston
Arturo Elizarraras, Mexico City
Suzette Lewis, Toronto