It is my privilege to introduce to you the Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development, the result of more than a 30-year journey.
In the early 1970s we began to construct processes within our own local church to equip our pastoral and mission leaders. After more than a decade of working this out, not only in our own setting but also in national and international settings, I became convinced that the formal theological education system needed to become secondary to a system that put local churches back at the center of assessment and recognition for preparedness for ministry leadership. Over the subsequent two decades, with assistance from leaders in theological education and non-formal education like Dr. Ted Ward and Dr. Walter Kaiser, we began to engage in the global conversation surrounding theological education and called for radical change at every level of theological education and missions. What became increasingly clear to us over these 30 years was the need to provide a bridge from the old paradigm of formal theological education to the new, emerging paradigm of church-based theological education. In 2002 I approached Steve Kemp, then Vice President at Moody Bible Institute, to join our executive staff to help us develop that bridge. After almost five years of work and preparation, we announced the Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development—a thoroughly church-based theological education process that possesses many of the positive aspects of the formal education system.
In this exciting time in church history, our prayer is that God will use the Antioch School to impact the future of theological education—raising up a new generation of church planters in North America and accelerating church-planting movements worldwide, as the gospel explodes in the Global South.
Jeff Reed, President
The Antioch School is "a school without the schooling paradigm." I like that the word "Antioch" comes first in our name because the endeavor is firmly rooted in the Antioch tradition of church-based theological education and the spontaneous expansion of the gospel. Yet, academic degrees are an important form of cultural currency in most of the world. The Antioch School maintains high standards of achievement represented by academic credentials but is a totally different way to approach ministry training. It is not just another nontraditional version of formal theological education institutions. The central context of student development in Antioch School programs is the work of the Holy Spirit in local churches, church networks, and church-planting movements. Learning occurs in-service and in the context of genuine communities of faith with wise leaders. The quality of degrees is assured by rigorous competency assessment. We recognize academic credentials for what they are but not as a replacement for church credentials, which may include academic credentials as a subset. It is an incredible privilege to lead such a strategic instrument as the Antioch School to accelerate church-planting movements worldwide by training leaders in "the way of Christ and His Apostles."
Stephen Kemp, Academic Dean