The name “Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development” was carefully chosen. Each main word has tremendous significance.
Our approach to theological education is rooted in the Antioch tradition, which was the dominant expression of how to do church and develop leaders in the first three centuries of the Church. Roland Allen refers to this as “the way of Christ and His Apostles” (in Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?). It means that we affirm the biblical pattern known as the Pauline Cycle of evangelizing strategic cities, establishing local churches, and entrusting the churches to faithful men. We recognize Paul’s letters as establishing tools to use in the process of building strong churches. “The teaching” or “sound doctrine” is not cold, abstract theological knowledge, but woven naturally into Paul’s letters, which address the family and community situations of churches. Lastly, theological education itself is seen as fundamentally church-based according to the model of Paul and Timothy, whereby leaders develop through real ministry experiences and mentoring in the context of churches.
When most people think about school, they think of campuses, classrooms, credits, exams, etc. However, these are the common attributes of the schooling paradigm, not necessarily school itself. It is the cultural currency of the academic credentials granted by these institutions that distinguish them from other institutions that also provide training and development. The Antioch School is not a school in terms of the schooling paradigm, but it is a school because it grants academic credentials through distance education programs.
The most exciting things that God is doing in the world today are closely connected with grassroots church-planting movements. Churches and missions in North America and around the world have church planting at the forefront of their ministry strategies. We think this is in keeping with the Antioch tradition and the way of Christ and His Apostles. Therefore, the Antioch School has positioned itself to serve the needs of churches, networks, and church-planting movements that recognize the priority of church planting, not just church renewal. However, the Antioch School is not just for church planters, but to help all church leaders align with the core concept of the Great Commission.
Many church-planting movements have not seen lasting fruit because the churches were not firmly established. The key to building strong churches that endure for generations and impact culture is the development of strong leaders who are rooted in the gospel and the teaching of the Apostles. The Antioch School combines leadership development with academic credentials, for existing and emerging leaders who need the discipline and cultural currency of an academic program to accomplish their ministry objectives.