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.
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 – Iron Man 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 – Iron Man Groups (Option B)
Format - The Forge will be offered in two formats: Formal and Informal leadership training. The formal track requires regular attendance and one hour of outside work per week. This work will consist of regular textbook reading, brief quizzes over that reading and accountability from the pastoral staff to help guide you to completion. The purpose for this track is to help you get as much as possible out of this study so that you can excel in these areas of foundational knowledge required for spiritual leadership within the church. The formal track is aimed at earning a certificate of completion that affirms your accomplishment in mastering this material. The informal track is being offered to men who desire to only attend on Friday mornings and do not have the ability to keep up with the weekly work load of the formal track.
Over the summer, there will be no formal track or assignments due in order to make accommodation for travel/vacation schedules. We’ll resume our standard format in the fall when we resume our study of theology. We will continue on with our Ironman Group fellowship times through the summer.
Cost – The only cost for The Forge is related text books. 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.
Please contact us at TheForge@ncc-stl.org with any questions about this ministry.