Convergence is the process of intentionally bringing together multiple aspects of pastoral training into alignment, so as to increase their combined impact on the men being trained and the local churches they serve. There is a convergence of three interrelated purposes, of three learning processes, and of three levels of participation. In addition, there is an overarching convergence of purpose, process, and participation.
Convergence of Purpose
Within the Convergence program, there is an alignment and combining of three purposes:
We believe that healthy churches are led by healthy pastors and elders. It is the intention of Convergence that men participating will be personally transformed through the power of the gospel, the application of biblical truth, and through vulnerable relationships. We expect there to be noticeable life change and character development in each apprentice over the three years of the Convergence program.
Therefore, much of the training will be directed to press hard on the personal lives of the apprentices. Before they can lead others, they must first learn to lead themselves. Convergence will also provide the mentors with tools (questions, assessment forms, etc) to assist the mentor in evaluating and guiding the apprentice in personal and professional growth.
(Romans 12:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 2:11-14; Galatians 5:16-24)
Ministry Strategy and Skill Development
Ministry is not simply theoretical ideas of what might happen in a church. There are practical skills that require competency in order to be performed properly and fruitfully. These skills include relational skills, organizational skills, and communication skills.
Therefore, much of what will be studied and discussed will involve the development of understanding and application of various ministry strategies and necessary skills for an effective pastoral ministry. The application of these ministry strategies and skills will vary with each apprentice because of their particular ministry context and their vocational aspirations.
(Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 5:1-5)
Local Church Leadership Multiplication
The goal is not simply to train men, but to train men who function well as leaders in their local church. Also, healthy leadership is one that reproduces itself in the lives of others and proactively raises up next generation leaders within the local church.
Therefore, Convergence focuses on the development of leadership within and for the local church environment. It also orients, equips, and encourages the apprentices to determine how they will actively invest in other men in their local church.
(Acts 13:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:1-2; Hebrews 13:7)
Convergence of Process
Within the Convergence program, there is an alignment and combining of three learning processes:
Christianity is not just a philosophical or moral system of thought. Instead, it is rooted in historical accounts and intentional proclamation of truth. There are facts, stories, truths, and principles that are to be understood and applied to our lives today.
Therefore, in this training, there is specific biblical "information" that is to be learned. It is expected that participants will do both broad and in−depth studies as necessary to become proficient teachers of biblical truth.
(Titus 1:9, 2:1; 2 Timothy 3:14-17)
Knowing information "about" something is not enough. It is at best incomplete knowledge. For example, a person can know a lot "about" pianos but not be able to play even the simplest song. It is a recognized principle of education and training that personal experience gained by participation in something is a fundamental means of learning, whether it is sports, music, science, or theology.
Therefore, in this training, there are various assignments that require the participants to "do" something with the knowledge that they have gained via the cognitive learning. These assignments are not intended to be "busy work" but are intended to provide a means for the participant to gain experiential knowledge to add to the cognitive learning.
(Matthew 7:24-27; John 8:31-32; James 1:22-25, 2:14-26)
Learning new information and gaining personal experience are both essential but by themselves they may only provide a limited insight or lack a broader perspective. Including other people in the learning experience provides the opportunity to gain deeper insight and greater perspective.
Therefore, in this training, there are various assignments that require participants to interact with other people. This may be through group discussion or may include performing tasks with others. A big part of the interactive learning takes place both in the cohort intensives and through the apprentice's participation in ministry within their local church. In addition, an important aspect of the training is the consistent input of a mentor in the life and ministry of the apprentice.
(Philippians 3:17; 2 Timothy 3:14; Colossians 3:16)
Convergence of Participation
Within the Convergence program, there is an alignment and combining of three levels of participation:
It is our goal to provide guidance and skills so that the apprentice's become disciplined learners and develop the lifelong habits conducive to personal study that has both depth and breadth.
Therefore, there is a substantial amount of reading and listening (podcasts) that the apprentice will be responsible to do on their own. Much of this personal study is assigned before the apprentice comes to a corresponding cohort intensive. In this way the "information" is front loaded into the apprentice and the time in the intensive is focused on digesting the material through directed questioning, discussion, evaluation, and presentations. The stress is not simply learning more facts but is on understanding the implications and applications of the material studied in both the apprentice's life and ministry.
(1 Timothy 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 2:15; Titus 2:7-8; Hebrews 5:11-14)
Ministry Involvement and Mentoring in the Local Church
The overall objective of Convergence is that men be educated and equipped for effective ministry within the local church. This cannot be done if these men are isolated from active involvement in the local church. The ministry in the local church is the environment in which the ministry skills are developed and in which personal character is forged. Knowledge can be evaluated and clarified as it is applied to real life and ministry situations.
The mentoring component enables a more mature man to observe the apprentice in the context of ministry and life. The mentor can then speak into the apprentice so as to provide personal guidance, accountability, and encouragement.
(Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 4:16-17; Philippians 4:9)
The cohort intensive is when all of the apprentices participating in Convergence meet together for three days. This is meant to be a time of "intense" interaction between the professor and the apprentices and between the apprentices themselves.
Another key element in the intensive's learning experience is the diversity of the apprentices themselves. The apprentices participating in the cohort have diversity of personal experience, spiritual growth, and cultural context of the local church there are involved in. Apprentices come from urban, suburban, and rural areas. Some are part of recent church plants, while others are part of an established congregation with a long heritage. There may be lead pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors, worship pastors, and some who have not distinguished their pastoral calling yet.
(Acts 11:25-26; 19:8-10; Proverbs 11:14; 15:22)