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Why does CAPA exist?

There are many different ways to answer this question, but I’ll approach it from a perspective especially useful for educational ministry. The concept of a “Graduate Profile” is employed by many schools to help define the desired characteristics of a student when they have completed the program of study. Ideally, this type of profile serves multiple purposes:

  • Captures the mission and core values of the school by describing the ideal graduate
  • Provides guidance for the planning of curriculum, which seeks to grow these characteristics through its curriculum
  • Establishes a criteria for evaluation of students, faculty, and the academic program

Last year, our core group of pastors met to create a profile for the ideal church leader, because that is why CAPA exists: to train faithful and capable men to lead in the local church. We spent time working in smaller groups, establishing categories, discussing terms, and establishing rationale. The final product (always with an eye to review and revision) was meant to provide a helpful standard for CAPA to work towards in the lives of its students. Here’s what the group came up with:

This leadership profile is meant to provide a general picture of the characteristics of a faithful leader in the church. A profile cannot capture everything, nor is it one-size-fits-all- but it is meant to provide a helpful standard that we would shoot for, by God’s grace and power.

CATEGORY 1- THE CHARACTER OF THE MAN:BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS OF CHARACTER AND FAITHFULNESS, DEMONSTRATED OVER TIME AND AFFIRMED BY THE LEADERS AND CONGREGATION OF A LOCAL CHURCH.

  • Holiness: pursuing biblical obedience in all of life (Sexual Purity, Financial Integrity, etc)
  • Humility: repents and reconciles quickly, willing to accept correction, open to learn and grow, not self-willed
  • Integrity: stands by his word, honest, the same person in public and private
  • Courage: willing to stand for God’s truth and speak God’s truth, not mastered by a fear of man
  • Reliable: takes responsibility, can be counted on, shows up and follows through
  • Steadfast and Resilient: stable in various circumstances, not easily swayed or upset, temperate with reactions to adversity, able to withstand criticism
  • Discerning: makes good decisions, thinks through implications, gives wise-counsel, self-reflective

CATEGORY 2- KNOWLEDGE:UNDERSTANDING BIBLICAL TRUTH AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR LIFE

  • Biblical Doctrine: growing understanding of the various areas of systematic theology
  • Biblical knowledge: understands the story of Scripture, sections and books, themes and threads of the redemptive story
  • Gospel: has a working knowledge of biblical truth, especially around the good news of Jesus Christ and its implications for life
  • Practical Theology: ability to apply biblical truth to various parts of life- church, family, social issues, work, etc.
  • Apologetics: understanding of competing worldviews, ability to defend the faith against false teaching

CATEGORY 3- ATTITUDES AND VALUES: CORE CONVICTIONS THAT GUARD AND GUIDE THE BODY OF CHRIST, DEMONSTRATING GROWING MATURITY IN CHRIST

  • Love for the Church: values and sacrifices for the local church through membership, service, and leadership
  • High View of Scripture: holds the inspired and inerrant Word as authoritative and sufficient for all of life and ministry
  • Expository Preaching: appreciates and pursues the faithful exposition of God’s Word
  • Servant: models Christ-like service and sacrifice for others, not domineering, not authoritarian
  • Family: honors parents, loves his wife well, disciples his children biblically, if single interacting with the opposite sex appropriately
  • Spiritual Disciplines: consistently practices personal and corporate habits of grace
  • Submission/Loyalty to Leaders: willing to support and submit to church leaders even through difficult trials
  • Stewardship and Generosity: exemplary in their use of time, money, and abilities to care for their family and serve others
  • Friendship: has deep relationships with other believers that provide encouragement and accountability.
  • Team Leadership: values leading with others, seeks the input of others, willing to submit to fellow-leaders
  • Hard Work: disciplined to put in the time and effort necessary for excellence in their various pursuits and responsibilities

CATEGORY 4- SKILLS: ABILITIES AND COMPETENCIES ESSENTIAL TO LEADING AND SHEPHERDING THE FLOCK

  • Study: interprets Scripture faithfully for personal devotion and teaching in the church
  • Discipleship: desires and is able to guide and encourage believers to maturity in Christ
  • Teaching: plans and delivers in various teaching contexts for the church
  • Preaching: able to deliver an expository sermon that edifies the body
  • Counseling: provides heart-focused, biblical counseling for members of the body
  • Communication: listens well, speaks and writes with clarity, good in conversation
  • Conflict Resolution: pursues biblical reconciliation personally and has the ability to guide others
  • Critical Thinking: insightful, analytical, able to recognize nuance
  • Administration: organized, competent with scheduling, planning, finances, and communication

As a school, we realize our limitations in helping students towards these characteristics. First, we recognize that God, through the gracious work of the Holy Spirit, is the one who will bear fruit in the lives of our graduates. We will do our best to plant seeds and water, but it is always God who gives the growth. CAPA will always seek to be a faithful instrument that God would use to equip pastors, giving credit for any resulting good to the Lord. Second, training for church leadership must be inextricably linked to the local church. CAPA will have a unique opportunity for input into the life of the student, but many of these characteristics can only be developed and practiced in the context of the local church. We can prepare the student with skills for teaching, and even provide chances to practice, but it is at church that they will. We can teach about the importance of team leadership and humility, but the church will more fully see these qualities evidenced in the student’s life. The school will provide one means of evaluation, but the more important affirmation will come from the local church (both its Elders and congregation). The church ordains men to ministry, not the training institution. This will require students to be active, serving members in their churches while they study.

This entry may not give a complete answer to the question: “Why does CAPA exist?” But it gives a glimpse into what CAPA is pursuing and the work we seek to do for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. To Him be all the glory!