Where Is The Finish?

How much work do my students need to do to show competency?

Partners asking this question want to know what a student must specifically do to fulfill our requirements and receive academic credit. This question is understandable.  After all, it is difficult to hit a mark that you don’t clearly see. At the same time, however, the question is problematic. Students who ask it may subconsciously make a finish line out of a minimum bar. Partners who focus on it may not use the Antioch School to maximize the development of their students.

Here is a better question:

What work will help my students to become really competent?

Asked this way, attention is drawn to the overall equipping agenda you have for your leaders. This question also better reflects our vision for what an Antioch School program can accomplish in your church or ministry. Ideally, we want to see you use elements of the Antioch School training as launch points for a range of needed development. And, while we want students to gain cultural currency, we hope they look beyond degree completion alone and pursue what they need to be effective in ministry.

With this in mind, let me describe ways to leverage our resources for larger gains than just meeting minimum requirements.

  • Pull out the SIMA Motivated Abilities Pattern often (not just for the annual reflection), and use it to help students understand both fruitfulness and frustration within their ministry responsibilities. In the future your students will have better judgment in the use of their gifts.
  • Use the Personal Development Plan to build lifelong habits of assessment, prayerful planning, and adjustment in your students.  Such habits will be critical for these emerging leaders as their ministry responsibility and the demands that go with it expand.
  • Students can show core competency without doing every project in a Leadership Series course. However, all the projects are valuable.  Some of them call for reflection and introspection. Use those projects to help students grasp the importance of the concepts that they are learning and to internalize those principles at a conviction level.
  • Use the Ministry Practicums to teach students when they are most teachable – in the midst of the realities of ministry. Add to their learning objectives mid-stream if you see that it would be strategic for shaping the student.
  • Help your students to see that doing the range of projects within the courses will lead to an extremely useful body of work. In the future, portions of their work may be developed into resources used to instruct others. In addition, doing the work will help them develop the clarity and critical understanding they will need to shepherd others around Christ’s teaching.
  • With the Teaching Practicums, challenge the students to master the New Testament concepts so completely that they can readily, in a variety of contexts, entrust those principles to others.
  • Use the Ministry Strategy Plans to either create or adjust actual ministry plans for your church.  Help your students to develop the skill of putting biblical principles into action.

This post has emphasized our experience that when leaders focus on comprehensively equipping their students, those students end up with ample material which show competency.  I want to end, though, where we started. The initial question is an honest one.  Let me give you four resources that will help students to assemble a portfolio that demonstrates competency and will be granted academic credit from the Antioch School.

  1. Students should use our Student Competency Assessment Guide to self-assess their own work before posting to their portfolio.  This guide contains the rubric we use for evaluating every competency set within an Antioch School degree program.
  2. Students should use the additional manuals on this same webpage to create effective practicums, personal development plans, and SIMA reflections.
  3. If you are a leader directing a program, register for our e-Workshop entitled Assessment of Leadership Series Courses. This will help you understand the range of evidence your students can post to demonstrate they have achieved the course competencies. This workshop will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2013, but you can register now at the Antioch School Web Conferencing Center.
  4. Contact us directly with remaining questions. We ultimately want to help you and your students to be successful. We welcome the opportunity to assist you as you equip a new generation of leaders for Christ’s church.