Teachers Service Team Addresses Needs

The ICOC Cooperation Service Teams report on their activities so that everyone can know what God is doing through these efforts and pray for them. This is the latest report from the Teachers Service Team.

I. October 5th. Meeting began with a dinner and then a time of sharing and prayer. The next morning we got to work on our agenda.

II. October 6th. Morning Session. The first item up for discussion was an evaluation of the purpose and direction of the Teachers Service Team. This session was led by Steve Staten who had the members of the team reflect on the vision, mission, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the team. This was an excellent exercise.

What did we conclude from the exercise? Here are some observations:

Common Observations:
Depth of Relationships
Strong collaboration
Biblical depth

Common Observations:
Lack of resources (funding, dedicated time)
Lack of support/respect for teachers/teaching
Lack of diversity among teachers
Perception that teaching is not actionable, practical

Common Observations:
Clear Curriculum for DBA
Web Based Tools
Generate a common fund
Increase unity and influence among elders and evangelists

Common Observations:
Increasing biblical illiteracy
Post Modernism
Lack of younger teachers
Poor relationships with evangelists

Distribution of individual observations placed a greater emphasis upon:

  1. Growing biblical illiteracy (a curriculum need for both evangelists and perhaps also for all members)
    Postmodernism gaining greater influence
    Increasing lack of biblical knowledge
    Lack of doctrinal conviction
    Anti-educational trend among younger generation
  2. Working Relationship with Evangelists and Elders (forge better relationships with church leadership)
    Establish proper forum for Teachers concerns
    Understand Pragmatic pressures
    Encourage a model for collaboration
    Solicit how we can greater serve

Agreed that Steve Staten would begin to draft a mission statement for the service team based upon on morning discussion.

III. October 6th. Afternoon session. Began a discussion on how to handle “difficult issues” that rise within our fellowship of churches. We began this discussion with our paper on the role and qualifications of the teacher. We have begun the process with our discussion of what it means to “love your enemy.” Observations from this discussion:

  1. Scriptural grounds for handling these difficult issues.
  2. Defining Terms. What is the difference between a disputable matter, a doctrinal matter, a debatable issue, a conscience issue, a matter of fellowship, an issue of opinion that doesn’t threaten fellowship, or a weightier matter? How do you differentiate between a matter of doctrine and a matter of opinion? Can we find some good categories for different types of disputes?
  3. Process model for the issue. A group of evangelists, elders, and teachers (a) studies the topic biblically, (b) discusses the topic thoroughly, (c) carries the discussion to a wider circle of peer review which includes the ICOC delegates, and (d) makes suggestions and recommendations for the local leadership of congregations on these issues.
    Conclusion: Gordon Ferguson will begin to draft a paper for the group to work on concerning the process of how to handle debatable, weighty, and disputable issues.
  • There is a need to pull elders and evangelists in earlier on these discussions. We need their wisdom, experience, knowledge, and perspective. These matters warrant a collaborative approach.
  • How do we define a disputable matter? Perhaps it’s better to designate them as debatable matters or weightier matters on which good brothers disagree.
  • Applicability is also a very key issue on these matters. How do you apply it? Each local leadership will need to make its own application. Even if a church totally agrees, it must still determine its own local application.
  • A guiding principle of the restoration movement was: “In matters of faith unity, in matters of opinion liberty, in all things charity.” We also recognize the great number of splits within restoration churches. Thus, this is an important issue.
  • We need a process for how to handle these matters. First, how do we identify one of these matters? Second, what’s the process for tackling the matter? We suggested that we write a paper on this issue. This paper will explore:

IV. Next item: How do we foster better relationships with elders and evangelists?

Discussion Points:

We can ask how we can best serve them and complement their respective objectives.
If just one of us is perceived as rogue and the rest of us sit on our hands, then this immediately breeds mistrust toward the teachers.
We can become more proactive as a service team. Can we be more on the offense trying to make something positive happen in the church? Look for a way we can serve the evangelists and elders in the ministry.

Conclusion: As teachers we need to make it a point to talk to as many elders and evangelists committee team members as possible and ask what more we could be doing. Build those relationships.

Provide a resource to the preachers that can help them make their midweek’s, sermons, or even Sunday school more effective and less stressful to develop. It should include presenter notes, interactive lessons, discussions, perhaps bible talks, PPT slides.

V. October 6th. Evening session.

  1. Status Report on Unified Curriculum. It is up for vote before the delegates in Nov. Has been revised to extend to three years and add more practical ministry components. Next step will be determining the administrative team who will be in charge of it. Then we’ll decide on the particular curriculum with course requirements.
  2. Status of Adding Sisters to Group. We asked for names from the Women’s Service Team but haven’t received any names. We recognize that the wives of the other two teams usually work in closer concert with each other. Our women would be added because women teach women. We need to continue to evaluate this important item.
  3. Possible Additions to Teachers Team. Right now the group is 14, quite large, but evangelists’ group is 18 (difficult to work through with agility). Perhaps we could expand the group if we create functioning sub committee that filter the participation of members.
  4. 2012 Jubilee. Part of the ILC will include similar tracts like the ALC.
    Sub-committee will work on this: Kinnard, Koha, Jacoby, Ferguson, and Staten.
  5. Conference in 2013 for Teachers (Revive the International Teachers Seminar). Douglas has spearheaded this in the past. Doug can still administer this conference. Perhaps Ephesus will be the spot! Try for April or May for this trip
  6. SK and SS met with Harding School of Theology. Meet with Dr. Huffard. 5 guys from Chicago area completing M Div and D Min soon. They are offering 6 courses at a very low rate… $600 per class.
  7. Discussed the Saturday Teachers Track at the ALC in Boston.

VI. October 7th. Morning session. Subcommittee Reports.

  1. “Love Your Enemy” subcommittee. It’s been a good challenge to work through this issue. All of us involved have learned a great deal from each other. There has been enthusiastic give and take. There has movement on some of our positions. Some have asked us to define what type of issue are we dealing with here: disputable, debatable, doctrinal, or weightier. Is it a matter of opinion or of fellowship? Much more to discuss. Want to include elders and evangelists in the discussion. Wish we had included them earlier. It is clear that we must “love our enemies,” but defining how to do that is the difficulty. We have scheduled more WebEx meetings to discuss this, and we want to include elders and evangelists on that discussion.
  2. Disciples Bible Academy. Discussed previously.
  3. Congregational Training. Can we develop a curriculum for the members of our churches? We need to solicit ideas from evangelists on this. Then we’ll talk again.
  4. Kingdom Kids Curriculum. Youth and Family service is devoted to this topic.
  5. Technology Committee. We do need to develop more tools.
  6. Accreditation Program. Steve Kinnard, Douglas Jacoby, and Glenn Giles will begin teaching at Lincoln next year. DJ and others taught Church History at ICMC and five received credit for the course. 27 hours of class can be for full credit (3 hours).
  7. Conferences. We’ll restart the International Teachers Seminar in 2013 perhaps in Turkey
  8. 2020 Vision. We can fold this into our mission statement. It could lead to a written document. 10 years from now, what will be the major contribution of this group? We quickly need to identify next generation of teachers.
  9. Teacher Development. No new material presented.
  10. New Subcommittee: Disciples Study Bible. Steve Kinnard and Douglas Jacoby. Goal: to develop a study Bible for the people of our movement of churches by the teachers/leaders of our movement.

Next meeting will be March 19-21 in Miami. At this time we will have a combined meeting with the evangelists and elders. We need to present a process for handling difficult/debatable issues at this meeting. We also need to present some ideas from our discussion on “love your enemy.”

Steve Kinnard, New York, New York, chair
Ed Anton, Hampton Roads, Virginia
Gordon Ferguson, Phoenix, Arizona
Steve Brown, McAllen, Texas
Doug Jacoby, Atlanta, Georgia
Tom Jones, Nashville, Tennessee
Steve Staten, Chicago, Illinois
Joey Harris, Augusta, Georgia
Rolan Monje, Manila, Philippines
Arturo Elizarraras, Mexico City, Mexico
Valdur Koha, Boston, Massachusetts
Reese Neyland, Los Angeles, California
Glenn Giles, Denver, Colorado