The Three Program Objectives of Aquila Institute
As a competency-based educational program, the Aquila Institute is not concerned with anything except the development of the individual into the kind of person that will succeed in marketplace missions, church planting, and pastoral ministry. The primary focus of the program is intentional, Bible-based, and contextually-located discipleship not information transfer. To accomplish this task, we have designed the Aquila Institute into the following structure.
There are 21 learning outcomes. Each learning outcome has its own competencies that must be demonstrated consistently in order to advance within the program. (Note: The numbers do not reflect a sequential ordering of the apprentice’s progression. Instead, with few exceptions, apprentices are free to choose the Learning Outcome that interest them.)
Numbers 1 (Cornerstone) and 21 (Capstone) are bookends of the program offering an introduction and overview of the program (Cornerstone) and a conclusion and summary (Capstone).
In addition to these bookends to the program are 19 further Learning Outcomes divided into three Program Objectives (Kingdom, Character, and Context). There is inevitable (and deliberate) overlap between these categories, and they serve to establish the main focus of apprentice development.
These Program Objectives are as follows:
Being Kingdom Minded – All of Christ’s disciples are to preach the same gospel message that Christ himself preached, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Christ’s followers are to pray that God’s kingdom would come, that his reign and rule would expand on earth, and that his lordship would advance. God’s people are to be kingdom minded. Yet the kingdom is an already/not yet reality. It is here, but not fully. Yet, the kingdom is growing. Although they intentionally blur the lines between Bible, Theology, and Ministry, the learning outcomes in this program objective are focused primarily on equipping the apprentice to inhabit the kingdom and work to see God’s kingdom advance. In the words of Paul, some plant the seed, some water, but God causes the growth.
Plant – Like the seed that the sower scattered, the Gospel of the kingdom must be planted. These learning outcomes focus on the planting of the Gospel, the foundational elements of a gospel-centered ministry.
Water – These learning outcomes emphasize the theology and ministry practices that God uses to water the seed of the Gospel, to give nourishment that results in growth.
Grow – God causes the growth; He is the foundation of His church. How he accomplishes this growth is the concern of these learning outcomes.
Growing in Godly Character – Our theology is on display more by how we live than be what we say. That is why any biblical/theological training for ministry must direct a significant amount of energy on character formation.
Root – A good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit. The learning outcomes in this program objective are concerned with shaping a godly character.
Fruit – Good fruit can only come from a good tree. But the fruit that one sees in his/her life is an important indicator of one’s theology. For that reason, these learning outcomes focus not only on nourishing the growth of good fruit, but also on discerning the health of the spiritual roots on the basis of the fruit that is growing.
Serving in Context – In an increasingly shrinking world, a growing awareness of contextual Gospel ministry is essential. This is perhaps especially true for international churches. Therefore, Aquila apprentices are trained to read their surroundings and adapt, to cherish the diversity of God’s creation, communicate effectively to an international context, and understand the history of the church in Europe.
People – Contextual ministry is not only about where one is but also about who one is serving. These learning outcomes work to develop a deeper grasp of the personal side of contextual ministry.
Place – To be most effective both the marketplace missionary and the traditional pastor must both understand their place; they must understand where they live and how they can use their God-given gifts and talents to advance the kingdom of God. These learning outcomes help the Aquila apprentice to make these important decisions and grow in their ability to thrive where he/she has been planted.