In October 2014, The People’s Seminary will pilot its first cohort Certificate in Transformational Ministry at the Margins. This 18-month course of study isdesigned for Christian pastoral workers called to pioneer holistic ministry among the poor and marginalized.
The foundation of the certificate is Tierra Nueva’s more than 30 years of ministry and reflection. Its objective is to train ministry leaders, missionaries, theology students, and pastors in transformational ministry that includes Word, Spirit, and Street categories. The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology is considering co-sponsoring this non-accredited certificate.
Four 4-day courses will be offered over 18 months and will be limited to 35 participants who will journey together from start to finish as a learning community. Classes will take place between Wednesday evening and Saturday evening in sixteen 1½-hour sessions. Courses will be followed by distance-learning activities and practical hands-on assignments. Each on-site course will include daily worship and personal ministry, lectures, discussion, and group meals.
Tierra Nueva will host the course at its ministry center building in Burlington, Washington, an hour north of Seattle. New Earth Refuge in Mount Vernon will provide lodging for up to 20 participants during the on-site sessions. A separate cohort based in the United Kingdom will begin at All Saints Woodford Wells Church in London in January 2015. Partnerships for cohorts in Paris, Seoul and Bangkok are also being pursued.
Participants will gain:
- Comprehensive understanding of biblical and spiritual foundations for transformational ministry and mission.
- Understanding of identify as child of God and citizen of the Kingdom of God —in contrast to national, ethnic, or class identity.
- Clarification of personal calling.
- Ability to hear and see God’s direction and voice for oneself, others, church, and society.
- Exposure to effective ways to bring people to Jesus.
- Understanding of the place of advocacy and peacemaking in missions.
- Experience in prophetic evangelism.
- Ability to pray for physical and inner healing and deliverance.
- Understanding of addiction, recovery, and relapse prevention.
- Ability to prepare and lead dialogical Bible studies.
|Tierra Nueva, Burlington||All Saints Woodford Wells, London|
|Course 1||October 8–11, 2014||January 14–17, 2015|
|Course 2||April 15–18, 2015||September 9–12, 2015 (to be confirmed)|
|Course 3||October 7–10, 2015||January 13–16, 2016 (to be confirmed)|
|Course 4||April 6–9, 2016||September 14–17, 2016 (to be confirmed)|
Course 1: Identity and mission—God’s identity and mission and yours
God’s mission from the beginning to save the world includes humans made in God’s image. This course explores God’s identity and mission and ours, journeying from the Old Testament through the New, setting a theology of the Kingdom of God and human empowerment on firm Scriptural foundations. Baptismal identity grounds effective ministry as we enter into Jesus’ death and are resurrected to new life—filled with the Spirit, adopted by grace as beloved sons and daughters of the Father, and recruited, equipped and empowered to engage in Jesus’ ministry until his return. Participants will be invited to clarify personal callings and be exposed to some best practices regarding starting or sustaining ministries.
Course 2: Healing and holistic liberation—Biblical foundations and practices
People engaged in ministry encounter spiritual and structural obstacles to personal and social transformation. Deepen your theology of holistic liberation and learn hands-on approaches to physical and inner healing, recovery from drugs and alcohol, and personal deliverance and other kinds of prayer ministry.
Course 3: The place of advocacy, justice, and peacemaking in mission
Participants will develop a biblical perspective on prophetic ministry that includes “social prophetic” practices—such as advocacy on behalf of the marginalized, non-violence, peace-making, and resistance to the powers—together with “charismatic prophetic” practices, such as hearing and communicating words of knowledge for encouragement and healing, “prophetic evangelism,” and spiritual warfare. Participants will be exposed to effective ministry approaches regarding contemporary mission challenges such as ministry to the incarcerated, the homeless, undocumented immigrants, gang members, people in prostitution, subsistence farmers, and people in need of meaningful work.
Course 4: Preparing and leading transformational Bible studies
We will explore tried and tested approaches to preparing and leading Bible studies with people who feel excluded from the church and society and rejected by God. The barriers that keep today’s most obvious “sinners” from believing the gospel can be addressed by confronting negative images of God, engaging people’s participation, making use of the gifts of the Spirit, confronting oppressive structures, learning to interpret difficult texts for good news, and inviting appropriate responses such as confession, forgiveness, healing, and restorative justice.
Distance learning between course sessions
Reading will be required before the first course and between each of the following three courses. Two distance-learning lectures per month will be available on The People’s Seminary website. Integration groups of 3–4 participants will be organized by interest or region for online interaction once a month. Mentors will assist each integration group in meeting the learning objectives.
$1,600 (includes lodging at New Earth Refuge and light breakfast, coffee and snacks). Costs will be slightly higher for those who stay in local hotels. (UK prices yet to be determined)
Bob Ekblad and his associates will teach and guide the cohort. Instructors from Tierra Nueva, The Seattle School, or partner ministries in the UK and elsewhere will be brought in to teach various segments of the courses.
Bob Ekblad’s primary experience comes from more than thirty years of reading the Bible with people who often consider themselves “damned”—Central American peasants, Mexican migrant farm workers, inmates in Washington state jails, drug dealers, and gang members. Bob’s role as full-time director of Tierra Nueva and The People’s Seminary includes teaching Prayer and Old Testament at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and Missions at UK-based Westminster Theological Centre. In addition, Bob and his wife, Gracie, teach and minister to groups around the world who are working with the poor. They desire to share approaches to ministry that are grounded in Scripture and authentic spiritual practices.
Download the application from http://www.tierra-nueva.org/peoples-seminary. Send completed applications for USA and UK cohorts to:
The People’s Seminary
Attn: CTMM application
PO Box 410
Burlington, WA 98233
Check our website at http://www.tierra-nueva.org/peoples-seminary or contact Anne Park at
Note: Be on the lookout for upcoming announcement for September deliverance course with Gilles Boucomont and Bob and Gracie Ekblad “Towards a New Theology and Practice of Liberation,” at All Saints Woodford Wells, London, Sept 10-13, 2014.