Catch up on our latest news here: TENT Newsletter Semester 1 2016
The Christ Church apprenticeship program exists to recruit, equip, and send a new generation of faithful gospel ministers into the world. The vision for the program is drawn from the apostle Paul’s word’s to his young apprentice Timothy, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). This is essentially a ministry of “passing the baton” to young men and woman with the godliness, gifting and desire for this task.
We are deeply indebted to the Australian MTS apprenticeship program for the model we currently implementing at Christ Church. The apprenticeship program at Christ Church has been supported for the last few years by an independent organization called TENT (www.tent.org.za) which seeks to raise up and train a new generation of gospel workers in the Western Cape and beyond. Their insights and resources have been invaluable to our thinking about the structure and goals of such a program and have provided a base from which to construct our own contextualized vision. It is our hope that, through our program, future gospel ministers will be scouted, shaped, sharpened, and finally sent into ministry. We have long believed that our location in Stellenbosch is ideal for such a program.
Who is it for
The apprenticeship program is aimed at those who have shown interest and ability in gospel ministry. As such, it is an opportunity for them to discover and develop their gifts in a full-time capacity in the context of the local church. The program will give the apprentice a flavour of full-time Word ministry and be a valuable stepping stone towards further theological study and ministry.
We believe that a faithful gospel minister ought to be growing in the following three areas (the three C’s).
- Christian conviction
- Christian character
- Competence in Christian ministry
In order to achieve growth in these areas, apprentices will be trained
- Through being taught
- Through involvement in Christian ministry
- Through personal discipleship
- Through practical tasks
Training through teaching
This aspect of the training will involve being taught by those already experienced and involved in fulltime Christian ministry. This area of training is intended to develop Christian conviction and to train the apprentice to think theologically about ministry. Practical skills for interpreting and communicating the Bible will be dealt with and the apprentice will be exposed to as many Bible books and genres as possible. This will involve personal work on the passage, study in commentaries and presentation of findings to a group. We will cover areas such as doctrine, hard questions, Biblical theology and worldviews with the aim of effectively communicating the message of the Bible in its original context to today’s world. We believe that far more is learnt and personally appropriated through allowing the learner to teach others, therefore much of this training will involve the learner doing their own research (being given guidance as to resources/expectations) and presenting their findings to a group which will be followed by critical discussion. This aspect of training will primarily take place at weekly meetings, but will include teaching input at weekly staff meetings. The weekly training takes place at a regional meeting of apprentices through the recently establish HOPE training course.
Training through involvement in Christian ministry
The most valuable skills for ministry are learnt through practical experience. To this end apprentices will be exposed to as much practical ministry as possible. This area is aimed particularly at developing the apprentice’s competence in Christian ministry. Through this involvement they may also discern where their own strengths and weaknesses lie. This area will include running small group Bible studies, one-on-one Bible reading and running various other ministries. Constructive feedback will be given on various occasions, but most notably at the weekly staff meetings.
Training through personal discipleship
The apprentice will meet regularly with an older Christian mentor with whom he or she can discuss ministry as well as personal issues. Here, once again, the apprentice will be given feedback on their ministry and perhaps helped with various ministry tasks at hand. The mentor will be responsible for overseeing both the apprentice’s spiritual growth as well as their growth in ministry.
Training through practical tasks
In order for successful ministry to happen, certain structures and administration needs to be in place. This area will grow the apprentice in ability to organize events (e.g. camps, various courses) as well as develop interpersonal skills for working with team members. This aspect of the training also allows apprentices to see what practical organization needs to be handled on a day to day basis for the task of gospel ministry. It is also aimed at developing the servant hearted attitude which must accompany any gospel minister.
How do I apply?
If you are interested in becoming a part of our program, we’d love to hear from you. Please fill in an online application form here and we will get back to you as soon as possible or contact JP at 021 887 2669 for more information.
How can I support the program?
We are always in need of financial support for apprentices who give up a year or two to consider where they are gifted for ministry. You can in the first place support our program financially through TENT (Timothy Evangelical Network Trust), an organization that supports apprenticeship work in the Western Cape and beyond. Find out more about TENT on the website www.tent.org.za. You may either donate a once-off amount or give at regular intervals as you are able. In the latter case please inform us of your decision that we can account for it in our budgeting. If you are unable to give financially we would appreciate your regular prayer for the program along the following lines
- Wisdom and guidance for JP Harper as he develops the program
- That God would instill a desire for the task of Word ministry in young men and woman
- That the apprentices would grow in gospel character
- That the apprentices would grow in knowledge of God’s Word and of God’s world and in their competence to communicate that Word to the world.