The theological framework for the training for pastoral ministry through the Convergence program is intentional and balanced. It is deeply rooted in Biblical Theology and the realities of pastoral ministry.
The topics covered during the intensives will be developed and applied using this theological framework.
This theological framework is diagramed and described below.
The overarching storyline (theme) of the whole Bible can be summarized as "The Story of God". A theological term for this is Theography. This comes from the word Theo, which means God, and the word graphy, which means writing.
Theography emphasizes that God Himself is the overarching story (theme) of the Biblical writings.
The story of God encompasses all other stories. Not just the stories that are told in the Bible, but all stories of all peoples, nations, civilizations, and cultures that have ever been or will ever be. All these corporate stories are included in the flow of God's story. Nothing is outside the scope or power of what God is doing, whether they recognize this or not. (See Genesis 17:1-14; Psalm 33:10; Acts 14:15-17; 17:22-31; Philippians 2:9-11)
The story of God also encompasses the stories of each individual. Everyone's life story is included in the flow of God's story. No one's life is outside the scope or power of what God is doing − whether or not he or she recognizes it. (See Job 12:10; Psalm 33:13-15; 139:13; Luke 12:7; 17:22-31; 2 Timothy 2:19)
Therefore, the foundation for all theology and ministry is who God is and what He has done, is doing, and will do. "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36)
The "gospel" is not just important, it is absolutely essential. If there is no gospel message of Jesus Christ, there is no Christianity. The gospel is the exclusive message of the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 1:1-18; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5). This gospel of Jesus Christ is "of first importance" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), and the only grounds for any boasting (Galatians 6:14).
The gospel provides our new identity (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:8-10), is the transforming power in our lives (Galatians 2:20; Titus 2:11-14), and enables us to live in a way that reflects the truth of God (Galatians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 1 Timothy 1:8-11).
Therefore, the context of all theology and ministry is who Jesus Christ is and what He has done, is doing, and will do. (See Luke 24:44-49; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
The "I" / "We" Reality and Tension
Fruitful ministry is done with the understanding of the existence of two important and concurrent realities of our Christian lives; a) "who I am as a person called by God" and b) "who we are as a people commissioned by God". These realities can be considered two sides on a continuous reality of our lives. The different characteristics and dynamics of these realities coexist in "tension" by providing alternative perspectives and forces influencing our lives and ministry. The horizontal line (X axis) in the diagram above depicts the tension between these two important realities.
One side in tension is who "I" am as an individual as "a person called by God". This is a holy calling (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:9) to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30). This calling is recognition of the gospel, its impact on my life, and the call on my life to live in step with the truth of the gospel (Galatians 2:14; Philippians 1:27). This calling includes the understanding that we should actively progress in our walk with Christ (Colossians 2:6-7). This call also includes the personal drawing and enablement of God towards specific roles and responsibilities within life and ministry (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 7:17; Galatians 1:15-16; Ephesians 4:11-12).
The other side in tension is who "we" are as "a people commissioned by God" to be a gospel community on mission. The calling we have as individuals is personal but it is not private. Together we have a joint calling (Ephesians 4:1-6) and are called out of darkness to be a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession (1 Peter 2:9). We are a people who have been given the great commission of making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) in the power of God (Acts 1:8). We are the body of Christ and everyone is important and nobody is expendable (1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:11-16).
Therefore, theology and ministry must be developed within the reality and tension of "who I am as a person called by God" and "who we are as a people commissioned by God".
The "Strength" / "Weakness" Reality and Tension
Fruitful ministry is also done with the understanding of an existence of two other important and concurrent realities of our Christian lives; a) that we function with "strength of character" and b) we live with a "vulnerability of weakness". These realities can be considered two sides on a continuous reality of our lives. The different characteristics and dynamics of these realities coexist in "tension" by providing alternative perspectives and forces influencing our lives and ministry. The vertical line (Y axis) in the diagram above depicts the tension between these two important realities.
One side in tension is our "strength of character". As Christians, we have been born again to be new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our new identity is "in Christ" so that we are accepted (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:24), secure (Romans 8:31-39; John 10:28-29), and significant (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:20). We have "strength of character" because we are being transformed by the gospel to live self−controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age (Titus 2:11-14; Romans 8:26-30; 2 Peter 1:3-11). Also, the Spirit of God actively lives in us and is producing His fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:16-26). This strength of character is both personal (1 Timothy 4:7) and corporate (1 Peter 2:9).
The other side in tension is that we continue to struggle with a "vulnerability of weakness." We must recognize our struggles with the ongoing battle of sin (Romans 7:13-25; Galatians 517; 1 John 1:8-9). Christians who are not honest with God, themselves, and others about the sin in their lives are deceiving themselves and denying God's word (1 John 1:8-10). Understanding the depth of our own sin against God and the immense value of his forgiveness significantly impacts our ability to forgive others (Matthew 18:21-35; Colossians 3:12-13) and enables us to be instruments of reconciliation with others (Matthew 18:15-20; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21). This vulnerability of weakness is both personal (1 Peter 2:11; 1 Timothy 6:3-5) and corporate (1 Corinthians 1:10-12; 3:1-4; Romans 13:13-14).
In order to live a healthy and effective life as a Christian and to function effectively as a leader, it is to be our goal to live in the "radical center" of the Y Axis (indicated by the dot in the center). We need to learn to function in the reality of our strength and our weakness. We are getting stronger with God's help, yet, at the same time, we will gain a greater understanding of the weakness we have from the extent and depth of our sin. Both are true. Both impact our lives.
A paradox of the Christian faith is that in our honesty about our brokenness and weakness we actually gain God's strength. Paul shared with the Corinthians his struggles and how God gave him the strength to endure (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Although he does not identify his struggles as specific sin, Paul formulates a principle of Christ, who told Paul; "My (Christ's) grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I (Paul) will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9) Our brokenness is a conduit for the grace and strength of God in us and through us to others. (The relationship between weakness and power / strength is a theme in 1 and 2 Corinthians. See 1 Corinthians 1:15, 1:27, 2:3,5, 15:43; 2 Corinthians 12:9, 13:3, 13:4, 13:9)
Applying the Theological Framework
As each topic in the scope and sequence of the Convergence program is covered, it will be developed within the context of this theological framework. This framework will guide not only content but also the way the content is applied to life and ministry.
Spheres of Leadership
In addition to the Theological Framework, the apprentices will be routinely asked to think through and apply the topics covered using a grid of the five spheres of leadership. (© 2010 Royce Curtis)
(1 Timothy 4:7, 16; 2 Timothy 1:6-7, 2:15; Titus 2:7-8)
Lead People Close to You (family, friends, neighbors, etc)
(Ephesians 5:25-33, 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:4-5; Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 3:7; Luke 10:25-37; Deuteronomy 6)
Lead People Combined with You (ministry teams, staff, small groups, etc)
(Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; 1 Peter 4:10-11)
Lead the Crowds Around You
(Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 2:12, 5:3; 1 Timothy 4:12)
(2 Timothy 2:1-2; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:17-38; Titus 2:7)