As an equipping ministry of New Community Church, The Forge exists to assist men in forming the essential qualities of life that are required to lead faithfully as a man, husband, father, employee, and church member. Regardless of giftedness or personality, every man is called to lead. While the application of that leadership may vary in scope from man to man, this expectation was established at the time of creation and is still man’s mandate today (Gen 1:26-27, I Tim. 2:13, Eph 5:31).
Considering that responsibility, the intention of this program is to strengthen you to meet the challenge. We are seeking to prepare you to stand strong in the heat of spiritual battle, to lead well through the fire of trials and to contend earnestly for the faith amidst the temptations of a deceitful generation. This mission is stated in a consolidated form in I Cor. 16:13-14:
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
If you would faithfully accomplish this goal, the indispensable attributes of conviction and character must be deeply rooted in your life. Because conviction must be developed and character must be shaped, intentional, focused attention is required. As seen in 2 Timothy 2:2 discipleship requires that church leadership intentionally be engaged in the work of purposefully “entrusting (the truth) to faithful men,” who in turn “will be able to teach others also.” This work presupposes that a faithful man is one who knows the truth (conviction) and whose life has been ordered faithfully according to that truth (character).
This is the mission of The Forge: to engage in the work of forming leaders with a steeled conviction and godly character. It is our fervent desire to assist you in knowing what you believe to be true about God (that is conviction) and in the application of that truth to your life (this is character). We’re calling the men of the church to aspire to God’s standard for a man: that you would know the truth and intentionally apply it to every area of your life. Only as men become proficient in the truth and its application to life will they be enabled to lead effectively. This ministry aims to accelerate that process.
To help formulate your convictions, we intend to progressively work through the separate disciplines of systematic theology. Designed as a four-year certificate program, the intention of each unit is to help you grow in your understanding of what the Scriptures teach as being true about God. Though a four-year theological study may appear to be an intimidating prospect, we are intentionally crafting these courses to be accessible at an entry level. This program is designed for you, and it is our desire to help you progress from your current level of understanding to the next level of growth and development. You may join the course rotation (or pause if necessary) during any term but must complete all nine courses to earn the certificate of completion. This program is intended to equip you with the following capabilities:
- Articulate what you believe
- Understand why you believe it
- Apply what you believe to life
- Defend what you believe from Scripture
Each term (11 weeks in fall and spring) will focus on a separate discipline within systematic theology. Fundamental questions that will be addressed in each course are provided on the program map.
Fall 2021 – Hermeneutics – The principles of how to accurately interpret Scripture
- How does the author’s intent impact my understanding of truth?
- What steps do I take to understand what the Bible means?
- How do I properly interpret poetry vs. prophecy vs. prose?
- How do I use context to gain further insight into the text?
- How do I put all the pieces together to draw biblical conclusions from the text
In addition to theological instruction, The Forge also aims to help strengthen your character. It is our desire that you would be actively pursuing a lifestyle that meets the qualifications for leadership found in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. To encourage this growth in spiritual maturity, participants in the study will meet either before or after the lecture time for personal accountability in the spiritual disciplines. For your character to be well formed, you must consistently engage in the work of prayer, Bible reading, discipleship and accountability. It’s part of the purpose for this ministry to provide a platform whereby you can engage in meaningful relationships that are crucial for personal growth in godliness.
Time Requirements - The Forge meets on Friday mornings at 6:30 AM for instruction in systematic theology. Each meeting requires approximately one hour of preparatory work ahead of time during the week so that you are prepared to participate in the group discussion. If your work schedule or personal obligations require the occasional missed class, lectures will be livestreamed and captured so that you can watch later at your convenience.
Scheduling - To provide you with flexibility for your work schedules, growth groups will be structured to meet either before or after the lecture. Thus, you can choose whether to be involved from 6:00-7:30 AM or from 6:30-8:00 AM depending on the demands of your schedule. The schedule for each meeting time would therefore look like the following:
- 6:00-6:30 – Growth Groups (Option A)
- 6:30-7:15 – Theological instruction (Options A&B)
- 7:15-7:30 – Q&A (Options A&B)
- 7:30-8:00 – Growth Groups (Option B)
Fall 2021 Dates – (Hermeneutics)
- September 17 – Introduction
- September 24 – The Conviction of Hermeneutics
- October 1 – What are We Looking For?
- October 8 – Principles of Interpretation
- October 15 – The Importance of Authorial Intent
- October 22 – NCC Men’s Retreat Break
- October 29 – The Golden Chain of Communication
- November 5 – The Importance of Genre
- November 12 – The Importance of Context
- November 19 – Discovering the Importance of Content
- November 26 – Thanksgiving Break
- December 3 – The Importance of Synthesis and Interpretation
- December 10 – Discovering Appropriate Application
Cost – The only cost for The Forge is related to teaching materials. Each term will come with a different textbook that will be required for study, and you will be responsible for the minimal cost necessary to acquire your own textbook for personal study. Financial assistance is available if necessary.
Curriculum – The Fall 2021 curriculum will be utilizing material furnished by the Institute for Church Leadership platform. Future courses will be written by the staff of New Community Church.
Please contact us at TheForge@ncc-stl.org with any questions about this ministry.