Ministry Training Academy

The Ministry Training Academy of the International Churches of Christ


ICOC Ministry Training Academy Guidelines 

July 1, 2013

The ICOC Ministry Training Academy (MTA) board met on August 7-8, 2012 and March 29, 2013 to discuss plans for developing ICOC MTA guidelines for academies that will train future evangelists and women ministry leaders in our churches.  While ministry leaders will develop training academies for their respective regions, this basic unified curriculum ensures consistent, effective training for future evangelists and women's ministry leaders throughout the world.

What is the function of the ICOC MTA board? The ICOC MTA board has three goals: 

1. To promote standards of excellence and provide curriculum resources for the MTAs. 

2. To help the MTAs successfully implement the curriculum. 

3. To issue approved certificates upon the completion of the program. 

The board decided upon the following mission statement for the Ministry Training Academy: 

To train, equip, and inspire future evangelists and women ministry leaders with biblical knowledge, spiritual development, and leadership skills for effective ministry in the local church. 

In order to fulfill this mission, we have developed a 12-course program in three areas of study: Biblical Knowledge, Spiritual Development, and Ministry Leadership. 

Each course in the program will require at least 12 hours of classroom study, as well as outside reading, and the completion of a paper, test, or project. If an academy wants to go beyond these minimum required goals, it may do so. For example, an academy may decide to add material to fit their cultural context.  However, each academy must meet the minimum required goals in order to graduate students from their program. 

In the area of course development, the MTA board will select men and women instructors with expertise in the specific area of study to develop each course.  

Certificate Requirements 

In order to graduate, MTA students must pass/complete 12 core classes. Once these ICOC MTA guidelines have been met, each student will receive a certificate issued by the ICOC MTA board. [Note: Individual academies may wish to require course work that extends beyond the required 12 core courses. As long as the 12 core courses are completed, any additional coursework is encouraged.] 

            Along with the 12 core courses, each student is required to participate in the MTA Discipling Plan that runs throughout the whole program. 

The MTA Discipling Plan 

Jesus’ example shows us that we learn not only in the classroom, but also by walking with someone who is out ahead of us in the journey. The MTA Discipling Plan is a practicum that will offer each student hands-on training provided by a personal discipler/mentor who will offer assistance in three areas: Knowing, Doing, and Being.  This plan promotes ongoing discipling and accountability throughout the time a student is working toward his or her MTA certificate that we believe will maximize and personalize their growth in knowledge, character, and leadership. 

 Here is how the plan works: Each ministry candidate sits with his or her advisor at the beginning of each semester; and, working together, they develop specific and personal goals for spiritual and leadership growth.  The student then continues to meet with his or her discipler throughout the semester to receive further evaluation, guidance, and encouragement as they seek to attain their goals. 


The following is a list of the core courses with a brief description of each course: 

I.  Biblical Knowledge.  Core Classes:  

(1) New Testament Survey 

This course is a survey of the history, literature, and content of the New Testament, with an emphasis on historical background, geography, and culture of New Testament times.  The course also looks at the major theological themes of each NT book and God's plan of redemption throughout the NT.   

(2) Old Testament Survey 

This course is a survey of the entire Old Testament in the context of its history, geography, and culture.  The course also looks at the major theological themes of each OT book and God's plan of redemption throughout the OT.   

(3) Biblical Exegesis I - Principles of Exegesis

This course will acquaint students with the basic principles and practices of biblical exegesis, learning how to use critical resource tools, and moving from biblical text to life application. 

(4) Biblical Exegesis II - Application 

This course offers the student the opportunity to use the tools learned in Biblical Exegesis I by exploring a book of the Bible in a verse-by-verse exegetical manner. 

(5) Church History and Doctrine 

This class traces the history of the Christian Church from 70 ad to the modern age with special attention given to turning points that affect Christian doctrines and church polity. 

(6) Christ and Culture

The world is rife with varying worldviews, philosophies, religions, and denominations. How do we discern between truth and error? How do we answer questions raised by these different types of thinking? How do we help others navigate these treacherous waters? Christ is the answer. 

II.  Spiritual Development.  Core Classes:

(7) Spiritual Disciplines and Character Development

In order to effectively lead others, we must first be in vital communion with God. This class will teach us how to powerfully walk with the Lord in prayer, meditation, personal Bible study, and other vital spiritual disciplines.  The course will also focus on how God transforms us and produces his character in us as we faithfully walk with him.     

(8) Marriage and Family 

As leaders, our relationships with our spouses and children form the foundation upon which we stand. In this class we will learn how to build families that reflect the highest examples of godliness, love, and spirituality. 

III.  Ministry Leadership.  Core Classes:

(9) Biblical Preaching and Teaching

This class teaches the student how to develop powerful and practical sermons and classes from the biblical text based upon proven exegetical principles. 

(10) The Power of Discipleship/Principles of Biblical Counseling 

The student will learn the importance of healthy, biblical discipling relationships. The class focuses on both the practical aspects of being discipled as well as how to disciple others. This course illuminates the power of the Bible to help people grow, mature, and change.   It focuses on how we may help people, by applying Scriptural principles to overcome obstacles and barriers to their ongoing maturity in Christ. 

(11) The Making of a Disciple 

This class is an in depth exploration how to study the Bible with people.  This class goes well beyond the basics of First Principles.

(12) Ministry Leadership and Church Building 

This class focuses on the practical aspects of leading a dynamic and effective ministry. It will include Biblical teaching about the structure and function of the church, team-building principles, biblical roles, church discipline, and best practices of men and women working together in the ministry. 

The Plan

Our plan is to delegate each course to competent men and women who have experience, knowledge, and expertise for that area of study. These men and women will then develop a syllabus for the course which will include: course objectives, lesson plans, suggested reading, a comprehensive test over the reading material, and ideas for term papers or projects. In some cases, women may develop particular courses for women.  For example, the course on spiritual disciplines and character development may lend itself to women teachers developing a course for women on that subject.  The board of the ICOC MTA will review each course syllabus and give its approval. 

We also want to develop videos that record the twelve hours of classroom teaching for each course so that they can be distributed to MTAs across the world. Certain academies might fly an instructor in to teach the course instead of using the videos. If so, the videos will be available for supplemental learning.  If an academy is unable to bring in an on site instructor, then the videos will provide the required classroom teaching hours needed for the course.  

We want to designate a team of people to work on each course. Each team should be aware of the fact that we are an international movement of churches and space should be given within each course for the development of lessons at the individual academies that might speak to needs within their local setting.  For example, the course on church history should be developed with the understanding that an academy in Russia might want to spend more time discussing the history of the Russian Orthodox church than would an academy in Australia. Of course, an academy may add classroom hours to a class to teach more on a topic. For example, an academy might decide to spend eighteen hours of classroom time on church history instead of 12. 

The completion of the 12 core courses plus the MTA Discipling Plan satisfies the requirements to receive a certificate from the ICOC MTA board. Individual academies may wish to go beyond these 12 courses and require their students to take other courses. This will be left to the discretion of the director of each academy. A list of suggested electives follows. Many of these will be developed into courses by the ICOC MTA board as both supplemental courses and continuing education courses.  

Future Plans

The initial plan described in this document targets the training of aspiring evangelists and women ministry leaders. In the future, the board intends to develop courses that will target the continuing education needs for people who have been serving for a number of years as evangelists, women ministry leaders, elders, and teachers. The board aims to develop coursework that allows students to be certified in specialties like apologetics, missions, youth and family ministry, and the teaching ministry. 


The ICOC MTA board looks forward to working with ICOC Ministry Training Academies across the world to facilitate the training of prospective evangelists and women ministry leaders who will serve in the ministry.  We believe this is a vital step towards building the kind of knowledgeable, effective and spiritual leadership that will powerfully lead our churches forward in the 21st century.

G. Steve Kinnard, chair 

Ed Anton 

Douglas Arthur 

Ron Brumley 

John Brush 

Mike Fontenot 

Tess Fontenot 

Valdur Koha

Sam Laing

John Louis 

Karen Louis 

Robin Williams


Possible Electives:

Life and Ministry of Jesus: Class sessions will provide an inspiring and thorough study of the person, character, leadership, and impact of Jesus. 

Holy Spirit: Classes will focus upon a comprehensive study of the person, power, ministry, and gifts of the Holy Spirit with a critical analysis of today's charismatic movement. 

Women of the Bible: This course will cover life lessons from significant women in the Bible. 

Biblical Theology: This course will provide a systematic approach to examining major themes throughout the Bible. 

Ethics: This class will discuss pressing issues of the day that cause leaders to ask, “What in the world do I do with this situation?” The class will use biblical principles to examine a variety of difficult topics. Also, the student will learn how to best approach, address, and grapple with the complexities of debatable matters. 

Apologetics: This course introduces the student to the study of Christian evidences. The student will learn how to put together convincing presentations for unbelievers, and make apologetics a part of his or her own personal ministry. 

The Disciplined Life: Spiritual leadership requires that we lead a life that is mature, Spirit-led, and self-disciplined. From the management of our emotions, thoughts, and words to the organization of our daily schedule, the goal of this class is to learn how to discipline ourselves before we seek to lead others. 

Personal Purity & Integrity: It is the enemy from within rather than the adversary from without that challenges us most. Therefore we must not only know God and his word, we must also know ourselves, including our weaknesses and flaws, so that we may live lives of purity and righteousness from the inside out. 

Building the Church at Every Level: The student will learn practical lessons on how to build an effective ministry across a broad spectrum of life stages. 

Financial Peace: This course shares guidelines to help the student manage his or her finances in a righteous manner. 

The Church: Biblical teaching about the structure and function of the church, including team building principles, church discipline, various biblical roles, and best practices of men and women working together in the ministry. 

Missions: This class focuses on powerful principles from past and present mission plantings.