Veritas College International has developed the theory and practice of Integrated Leadership Development (ILD) to equip believers, ministry leaders and church leaders for ministry.
Integrated Leadership Development provides a way of training to serve the church in the twenty first century. We believe training should be faithful to biblical principles and be relevant to the needs of a changing church in a changing society. Veritas is committed to the ongoing development of ILD to ensure it remains biblical and relevant.
Although the characteristics of ILD will be listed under separate headings, these are all related and may overlap.
The characteristics of ILD
1. Integrated into the life of the church
1.1 Training in the context of church life
With the tremendous training needs in the church in our time, ILD is an appeal to the local church to take up its responsibility in this regard. Training should be an integral part of the life and ministry of the church. The apostle Paul understood this by following a strategy that integrated evangelism, the establishing of churches and the development of leaders:
He preached the gospel and led people to God.
- Establishing churches
He organised the believers into the community of the church, leading them to spiritual maturity and to impact the world in all areas of life.
- Leadership development
He discipled the believers into leadership ensuring that they were well equipped for ministry.
Paul in turn encouraged these churches to evangelise, establish churches and train leaders locally and in other places.
ILD could be done by a single local church or by a number of local churches working together. Organisations, theological seminaries and Bible colleges could function as resource centres and consultants for them.
ILD that takes place in the context of the church has many advantages:
- It has an immediate impact on all the activities of the church.
- It links the leaders or potential leaders who are trained strongly to their churches and they are not alienated from them.
- It is time efficient as the learned skills and knowledge are used immediately in the church.
- It is relevant to the needs of the church and is practically applied.
- It is a continual process of leadership development and discipleship that secures the future of the church as church leadership is passed on from generation to generation.
- It covers all the areas of the life of the participant (not only the intellectual) and therefore produces mature disciples.
- It helps more believers to be involved in ministry.
1.2 Promoting the objectives for church growth
ILD helps the church to reach its objectives and fulfil its calling in the world. The objective of ILD is not to encourage the individual to obtain knowledge for its own sake, but to equip the church to fulfil its part in God’s purpose with the world (Missio Dei). The success of ILD thus has to be measured by its influence on the life and ministry of the church.
The starting point for ILD is to formulate good objectives for the life and ministry of the church. These objectives must be biblical and relevant to the situation of the local church. As the training proceeds, it should be evaluated against the following recommended objectives:
- Understanding the biblical message of salvation and identification with Christ.
- Discovering and using relevant ways of leading people to Christ.
- Building up the church as a body and its individual members in spiritual maturity.
- Continuously evaluating and improving the ministry of the church and its individual members to ensure it is biblical as well as relevant.
- Having an impact on all areas of society by showing Christ's love to the world in word and deed.
- Ensuring that the way in which the church and its individual members view the world and all relationships is biblical and has an influence on the worldview of society.
- Promoting the church and the individual member’s ability and responsibility to do theology (understanding and applying the message of the Bible).
- The church taking up its responsibility to train and disciple its leaders and members.
- The church encouraging new leaders to take more responsibility in the church so that more people can be involved in ministry.
- Committing to the Great Commission of evangelising, establishing churches and developing leaders locally and in other cultures.
1.3 Equipping all believers to serve God
More and more churches all over the world have leaders who are not formally trained. This provides wonderful and exciting opportunities to equip church members so that all of them can be active in serving the Lord in the church and also in their families, in society, and in their jobs.
1.4 Effective in all parts of the world
Major changes have taken place in the spread of Christianity during the last century. The majority of Christians are no longer found in Western Europe and Northern America but in dynamically growing churches in other parts of the world (also called the Majority World). These churches are also experiencing a shift towards more members ministering in the church. Many of the countries where the church is growing do not have strong economies and it is financially impossible for them to provide residential facilities to meet their growing needs for theological education.
Because ILD is part-time and takes place in the context of the life and ministry of the local church, it can be adapted to the facilities and resources of the local church and can be run in the humblest setting.
2. Promoting the development of an integrated person
2.1 Training for all areas of life
ILD should not be seen as training people only for ministry in the church, but should also impact all areas of life. Many church members face challenges to provide financially for themselves and their families. They may also face ethical issues when they do business or work in their professions or jobs.
As ILD teaches how to do theology (see 3.1), the participants are equipped and encouraged to interpret the Bible themselves and to apply it to the different areas of their lives. The more relevant to everyday living the training is, the more successful it will be. This is applicable to all areas of productivity that could fall into one or more of the following seven main categories:
- wage work (receiving a fixed salary)
- fee work (receiving payment for work done)
- earning commission (receiving payment according to success achieved)
- own business (eg farming, having a shop)
- homework (work done around the home)
- gift work (eg church and charity work)
- study work (including constantly renewing and upgrading one’s skills)
2.2 Training in the context of all relationships
ILD should also equip believers to better understand and function properly in all relationships. These can be summarised as the following:
- Relationship with God
- Relationship with others
- Relationship with nature (including all material things and money)
- Relationship with self
2.3 Equipping the whole person
ILD emphasises that knowledge, character and skills should all be developed throughout the training. As the training is integrated into the life of the church, the church members interact and keep one another accountable for growth in all areas of life.
3. Integrated theological practice
3.1 Practising inter-active theology
ILD enables participants to develop their own theological understanding (beliefs) through the inter-action of the Word with all areas of life and ministry. Although the Bible is truth, we all tend to fail in our own theology or understanding of that truth. The challenge is to have our theology inter-act with the truth of the Bible as well as the reality of all areas of life and ministry. Sometimes the reality of the world reveals the inadequacies of our theology and challenges us to re-evaluate it in the light of the Bible. This process holds to the authority of the Bible and challenges pet theologies. It helps us to apply God's truth to the needs of society.
By developing a curriculum that equips the church to find theological answers for itself, a major need is fulfilled. In missions many have been teaching that churches should be self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating, but have neglected the element of self-theologising. The latter is probably the most important one of all these 'selves'. For example how can a planted church in a disadvantaged country be self-supporting if it follows a model of ministry that can only function within a wealthy setting? In such a case the planted church should develop a self-supporting model of ministry that is relevant to the local setting and based on biblical truth.
3.2 Establishing the rightful position of the Bible
Through the process of practising theology interactively, the Bible takes its rightful place in the church. It is treated as the authoritative source and provides truth for the church in its calling to be God’s people in the midst of a changing world.
There are many exciting opportunities to provide sound scholarly approaches and methodologies of Bible interpretation to emerging generations of faithful church members. This training has to be easily accessible to the average church member by presenting and applying it in the local church setting. If we fail in that, the church will be much poorer and certainly not well-equipped to serve the Lord and to oppose false teaching.
Veritas presents an approach and methodology of Bible interpretation and application that are used by numerous churches to train their members. For this purpose we have made extensive use of the insights and methodologies brought to us by semantics and semiotics. The methodologies to analyse exposition/ exhortation, narrative and poetry as applied to the different categories of Bible books have already been thoroughly field-tested.
The inter-active practice of theology does not only take the Bible seriously, but also the cultural context. It is theology in context. As the context demands responses, answers are found from the Bible. This not only requires good exegesis of the Bible, but also a good understanding of the context.
3.4 Integrated curriculum
It is important to remember that there used to be only one discipline of theology. Under the influence of the Enlightenment in Europe (around 1700-1800) a division between theory and practice emerged. This in turn developed into the four separate disciplines of Bible, church history, systematic theology and practical theology. ILD seeks to integrate these separate disciplines through the practice of inter-active theology.
A particular subject like salvation (soteriology) will for example be covered through exegesis. The biblical answers are applied to the individual or society. How to effectively communicate them is then worked out. The way in which the church through the ages has answered its questions also needs to be taken into consideration. The answers are to be applied to the present situation to test their relevance. In this way various theological disciplines are integrated.
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