In 2017, International Youth and Discipleship leaders were approached by a few flagship churches that were seeking partnership in developing a new way to train young men and women that have recognized their call to ministry and have a desire to invest a season of their life in intense leadership development in the context of a thriving local church. After months of collaboration that included developing a strategic partnership with Lee University, the “Regional Schools of Leadership” platform was birthed earlier this year.
By David C. Blair
The timing of this request hit at a “Kairos moment” as our General Overseer, Dr. Tim Hill, was sharing his desire to equip and empower the next generation of leaders with the International Youth and Discipleship leadership team.
First, the “Jeremiah Generation Initiative” is a call to action that seeks to identify and empower young leaders in our denomination. This powerful initiative was birthed in the heart of the general overseer and the International Executive Committee.
Second, was the birth of Jeremiah Generation’s “Regional Schools of Leadership” (RSOL) as a new wave of training ministry leaders for the Church of God. This format meets a need for a new and innovative platform for equipping leaders to face the challenges of engaging a culture that has written off religion and the local church. RSOL promotes that Jesus is the hope of the world, and we want to train up a generation of leaders to take the Gospel to the world through the local church. To help accomplish this, students spend 8-12 hours a week in a variety of ministry roles, being mentored and discipled by inspirational pastors and leaders.
Several key departments have joined together to create a unique model that integrates the following: practical hands-on ministry experience in a thriving church context, academic advancement through our partnership with Lee University Online, and ministry licensure credentialing. The academic component is a hybrid structure that Lee University President Dr. Paul Conn and Vice President Dr. Mark Walker created utilizing Lee’s online ministry degree platform as well as select course offerings through the Church of God Department of Education’s School of Ministry that converts to Lee University credit. Students that take the full load of academics are eligible to apply for Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.
Youth and Discipleship is grateful for the trust Church of God Leadership has given to design and develop additional components to the Jeremiah Generation Initiative in order to widen the scope and train more leaders for Kingdom greatness.
The following five regional locations have been established thus far with more under consideration: Twin Rivers School of Leadership- St. Louis, MO (https://www.trschoolofleadership.com);
CityLife U- Tamp, FL (http://citylifechurch.cc/citylifeu); United School of Ministry- Columbus, OH (https://unitedsom.org); Lifeline U- Princeton, WV
(https://golifelinechurch.com/lifelineu); Influencers College- Atlanta, GA (www.Influencers.college).
Local churches that would like more information on launching a Jeremiah Generation School of Leadership contact Mark Swank, [email protected] or call 423-478-7225.