August 7, 2015
10 Reasons to Attend Vineyard Institute (What’s the Point of Theological Education?)
I’ve been involved in theological education and leadership training for two decades – first, in the formation of VLI (Vineyard Leadership Institute), and now, as a board member of Vineyard Institute. Vineyard Institute (VI) is an entirely new international training school which equips people to be better disciples, lay leaders, church planters, pastors, and missionaries. VI has a course that will fit your level of church involvement and your budget.
Why have I been involved in theological education for 20 years? Why am I excited about VI? What do I think VI might do for you?
Here are 10 reasons that I think you should strongly consider attending Vineyard Institute:
- To enhance your love of God. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12.30). Loving God, in other words, involves our being (our heart and soul), our knowing (our mind), and our doing (our strength). Vineyard Institute is specifically designed to enhance your “being” through a spiritual formation program, your “knowing” through courses in theology, church history, and ethics, and your “doing” through skills training.
- To train you to lead. If you think great leaders are born and not made, think again! Vineyard Institute leadership training courses use various teaching approaches and models to emphasize the point that with some hard work we all have it in us to be much better leaders than we currently are.
- To deepen your spiritual life. Being a Christian is not just about beliefs and values, it is about what a person does with what they believe. VI is designed to assist you to deepen your experience of God and to transform your life as the fruit of that experience.
- To strengthen your grasp of the Bible and theology. This point will take a little time to unpack. There are many folks today who believe that theology is irrelevant, or even injurious to living a vibrant Christian life. Many imagine an on-fire Christian whose passion for God and for evangelism is quenched by learning theology.
There are many reasons to study theology. If we care about evangelism, knowing theology will help us understand and communicate the gospel message which alone saves people. Knowing theology will rescue the church from erroneous teaching that can arise within the church, or outside the church from quasi-Christian movements. Knowing theology will help us respond to the popular philosophies of our day and to thoughtfully engage cultural trends that we encounter.
Knowing theology will build the foundation upon which we can consider ethical issues, both personal and social, that confront society. Finally, knowing theology can help us to worship God better. The deeper our knowledge is of God, the more we will want to worship him.
- To help you clarify God’s call on your life. As you take various courses from Vineyard Institute, God will give you clarity concerning what you were made for. You will increasingly discover your own spiritual gifts and the things you want to spend your life on.
- To give you access to expert theologians and practitioners. Self-guided learning is great, but it sure helps to have someone who is a step ahead of us, who can answer our questions, guide us to the right resources, explain in one class what would take us years to discover on our own, and model for us practices that will enhance our own ministries.
- To obtain a quality education in an accessible, affordable way. Many people are emerging from college and from seminary with crushing debt which blocks their opportunities to respond to God’s call whatever it may be. Each Vineyard Institute course is one-third the cost of a typical community college course. We charge $150 for each course. To take the courses, a person never needs to leave their homes and their churches or move to another place. VI offers its program through what is known as hybrid Hybrid education combines the accessibility of distance/online teaching with student-to-student and student-to-mentor interaction, creating a learning experience similar to residential programs. Research has shown that learning outcomes from hybrid education are equal to, if not better, than purely residential programs.
- To learn together with your peers. The Christian life is not just Jesus and me, it is Jesus and me in the community of God’s people. When we learn with others, we grow so much more than when we learn alone. Through listening to others, through discussion, arguments, bumping up against one another, and working together we become better Christians and better Christian leaders.
- To teach you valuable skills. VI is designed to teach the skills you need to lead effectively including learning how to teach and preach, learning how to church plant, learning how to counsel, learning how to evangelize, and learning how to heal the sick – just to name a few of the courses VI offers. No one naturally knows how to do any of these things. We need training. VI provides that training!
- To build a foundation for the rest of your life. It is often said that you can’t fire a cannon out of a canoe. The more fire power you have, and the more influence you want to exert, the bigger and deeper your foundation needs to be. VI is designed to give you a foundation so that you may maximize your potential in Christ.
Sign up now for the fall quarter that begins September 14, 2015. Applications are being accepted through August 24. You may get more information about VI and register by checking out our website at usa.vineyardinstitute.org. If you have additional questions, you can contact Rob Kasper at email@example.com, or 614-259-5314.