ICOC Teachers Conference, The Art of Scripture Reading
A subcommittee of the TST has met weekly starting in September 2021 to plan the next international ICOC Teachers Conference, The Art of Scripture Reading. This event will be held February 24-26, 2022, in Orange County, California. Registration is open now at www.icocteacherconference.com for all! The conference is especially for anyone interested in understanding biblical hermeneutics, deeper Bible study, spiritual Bible reading, how to become a Bible teacher, and how to establish and grow a teaching ministry. The conference features a mix of presenters from the ICOC as well as noted Stone-Campbell Movement scholars. Keynote speeches will appear as articles in upcoming issues of the Teleios Journal.
You can view a personal invitation to this conference from Dr. Gregg Marutzky here.
The Teleios Journal
The Teleios Journal debuted in February 2021. Teleios is a cooperative effort between members of the ICOC Teachers Service Team, the Disciples Center for Education, and other respected teachers and scholars from Stone-Campbell Movement churches and institutions. Steve Kinnard serves as General Editor of the journal, and other TST members such as James Becknell, Douglas Jacoby, Gregg Marutzky, David Pocta, and Steve Staten serve in various editorial and advisory capacities. The journal aims to provide a space for academic discourse and to promote holistic Christian spirituality.
Regional Teaching Ministries
The African Teaching Group continues to be an inspiration as it grows and develops. In August 2021, the Tallinn Teaching Ministry based in the church of 130 in Tallinn, Estonia, in Eastern Europe, hosted its first International Teaching Conference with about 250 registered participants (see article here) featuring lessons learned from the African Teaching Group.
On Oct 31, 2021, Julien Toyo was appointed a teacher in Abidjan and French West Africa. He is the 16th teacher to be recognized across the five regional families of churches in our fellowship in Africa and the third in French West Africa. He recently graduated with an MA in Biblical Studies from our Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology. He and his wife, Nena, have been pillars for the church in Abidjan for decades.
This year, the Bible Teachers Group for the churches in Mexico and Latin America celebrated the appointment of a new Bible teacher, Azael Vargas, who was raised up in Monterrey, the second biggest and oldest church in Mexico. Currently, there are six teachers in the Bible Teachers Group, one of whom is female. The group recently completed three months of virtual meetings, talks and discussions between teachers, evangelists and elders of the Mexican churches on the topic of the Bible and gender. Arturo Elizarras reports that it was a great, groundbreaking success of cooperation and teamwork.
The most recent appointments to this Teachers Group have come from a future Bible teacher training group, which has about 30 members from Mexican, Central American, and South American churches and some Latin ministries in the US. In 2021, several people from this group enrolled in the Spanish Master’s program in Biblical Studies at the Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology and completed their first course. Plans are in place for more classes to assist them in their studies in 2022.
The Midwest Teachers Circle and the Boston Church’s Teaching Ministry are just two examples of Teachers’ groups that devoted a great deal of time and energy this year to provide opportunities for teaching and discussion on the topic of gender roles in the church.
The Race Relations Task Force
This task force began 2021 by hosting the Racial Justice in the Church Workshop on February 6th and 13th, 2021, which ran concurrently with Black History Month. The success of RJIC was more than we could have imagined. The aim was to provide biblical teaching, principles, and practices in navigating the subject of race and race relations in the church. We had over 400 registrations per session. Many shared their watershed moments and enlightenment as they listened and learned.
Taskforce facilitators guided those who attended. Workshop participants experienced the teaching of relevant scriptures and their application, interactive discussions on racial bias, breakout sessions, videos, an e-workbook designed to include all eight sessions, suggested reading, and a survey.
The task force continues to pray about racial justice, to devote ourselves to ongoing personal study of biblical justice, and to meet regularly to explore the next steps of our charter. We look to the Holy Spirit to lead us to the steps that need to be taken over the coming months and years to help achieve this worthy goal of racial justice, which will make a difference in the lives of the children, youth, and families in our churches.
Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology
The Rocky Mountain School of Ministry and Theology (RMSMT), directed by Dr. Glenn Giles and the eldership of the Denver Church, added three new programs in the fall semester of 2021: a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation, a Certificate in Spiritual Formation, and the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies program in Spanish with 27 students from the US, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central, and South America.
The RMSMT has now graduated 12 ICOC leaders from master’s degree programs. Two of these graduates have gone on to do doctoral studies at other universities. We anticipate five more students graduating this summer 2022 at the WDS in Orlando. This summer (2022) we anticipate graduating our first student with a master’s degree in Christian Counseling program. We now have about 140 students registered to take courses from 33 countries! Sixty percent of these students are from Developing or Majority World nations.
Teachers Service Team website, www.teachicoc.org
Volunteers mostly located in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia who love the teaching ministry met and worked throughout 2021 on reimagining, updating, and migrating the Teachers Service Team website to a new host platform. The new site will launch during January 2022 and will continue to develop and improve while providing a central depository of ICOC Teaching Ministries’ development, new and information, and for ICOC Teachers and their work. The site is aimed both at scholars and ministers as well as the average disciple who simply loves deeper biblical teaching.