The CEC School of Ministry, located at the Cathedral Church of the Intercessor in Malverne NY, became a satellite of The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI), a division of World Impact, about 4 yrs ago. The Patriarch commissioned Fr Brett Crompton and me to visit TUMI in Wichita, KS with the intention of using material from their Capstone Curriculum to train our lay leaders in Christian Ministry. Our desire was not to start a new seminary but to equip disciples and raise up effective leaders in the Church and in their communities.
After discussing our desires with Rev. Dr. Don Davis, the executive director of TUMI and his staff, we were authorized a program that would lead to a “Delta Leadership” certificate, which would be awarded after the successful completion of 9 of the 16 Capstone curriculum modules that were designated for us by TUMI. (This certificate would also entitle the graduate with some college credit at participating Christian Universities).
The modules included, “The Kingdom of God”, The Theology of the Church”, “Biblical Interpretation”, “God the Father”, Evangelism and Spiritual Warfare”, The OT Witness to Christ and His Kingdom”, “The NT Witness to Christ and His Kingdom”, “Doing Justice and Loving Mercy” and “Practicing Christian Leadership”.
The certificate also required a prerequisite course called “Fight the Good Fight of Faith.”
All in all, we offered three modules a year after the prerequisite. Therefore the certificate course took just over 3 yrs to complete, and on June 23rd, 2019 we conferred certificates on our first graduating class of 11 students. (see photo)
Although TUMI requires a minimum number of classroom hours per module, the scheduling is up to the individual site. Each of our modules lasted nine weeks. We met for 1hr and 45mins each week for eight weeks and then for about 1hr on the 9th week to take the final quiz and hand in any remaining assignment that were due. One module was offered after Labor Day (USA) and ended by Thanksgiving (USA), another was offered after New Years and ended before Holy Week, and our last one was started after Easter and ended by the last week of June.
This program was not a Bible study, as you will see from the curriculum, but a school that required a real commitment from anyone involved. In order to receive the “Delta Leadership” certificate one had to do the required homework, attend classes, view video’s, participate in the classroom discussions, memorize some Scriptures, do assigned outside readings, take quizzes, answer a few essay questions and do two projects, an exegetical project and a ministry project. As you can see, it was quite a commitment but it would pay dividends for the Church as well as for the students themselves. To a person, they said the work and the experience have changed their lives and their walk with the Lord, as well as their love for His Word and would recommend it to anyone who wants a deeper relationship with the Living God.
The Ministry Projects may seem like an afterthought, but it was here where the rubber met the road. We have seen most of our ministries, from the Evangelism team, Sunday school ministry, Ushers and Greeters ministry to our Good Samaritan ministry fortified, as well as other ministries started, such as Grief Share and our Nursing Home ministry, all a product of the students doing their ministry projects. Aside from all this, many students took the opportunity to share the Gospel and the Kingdom with loved ones simply by asking them to help in doing their project for school! (Which most were more than willing to do).
As is true almost everywhere in our society these days, the time that is required to meet these demands is not always available to most, considering family, work, commuting, never mind eating and sleeping! Therefore, not long into the program, we initiated a second option for participating in the classes. We call it the Intercessor stream. This preference includes all the demands of the TUMI stream except that there is less Scripture memory, less outside reading, no essay questions and no exegetical project, (except when studying the “Biblical Interpretation” module). This program offers a Leadership certificate which is authorized by the Intercessor staff and has affixed to it the seal of the Cathedral. Included in the photo are the first two graduates from our Intercessor stream of the School of Ministry.
We are now considering adding another way to train more of the congregation in this material by offering it with fewer modules and without the required outside readings. This would not be a certificate course but would hopefully permit some others, who have limited time, to participate in such valuable Christian discipleship training.
As was initially noted by the Patriarch years ago, that is, that this material is very much in line with the beliefs of the ICCEC, (TUMI is very much three streams in their theology), but it is also true that some areas do require clarification where it differs. Those places I thought were obvious, and the differences were discussed in detail.
So congratulations to our graduates and we hope that their example will be an encouragement to all of you.
If you would like more information about our School of Ministry, you can reach me, Fr Jim Connolly, at (516) 225-3621 or go right to the TUMI website itself, at tumi.org.