What is Immerse at Northview Community Church?
Immerse is a Master of Divinity program through Northwest Baptist Seminary and in conjunction with Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (both of the ACTS consortium at Trinity Western University) that focuses on context-based learning.
The context of ministry (Northview Community Church) provides the environment for learning rather than the traditional classroom. This program has been developed in such a way that students will develop the convictional knowledge, skillful competence, and Christ-like character required to be life-long learners and servant-leaders for the Body of Christ. With three mentors and the goal of ‘observed mastery’, students will be equipped for ministry through ‘competency-based education’.
- Mentors: Three with each student (Pastoral, Academic, Network)
- Mastery Model: Students are coached toward ‘observed mastery’ of the 27 Ministry Leadership Outcomes (MLOs) including developing convictional knowledge, Christ-like character, and skillful competence.
The Northview Immerse Program is composed of 27 MLOs that are divided into 9 Triads that integrate Northview’s Mission Statement (Love God, Love the Church, Love the World). Each of these three emphases of Northview are further divided into three areas: Mission, Mode, and Manner:
- Love God: Transforming by the Word
- Love the Church (One Another): Leading and Serving
- Love the World: Engaging Cultures and Peoples
These three aspects of love are further expanded in each of the three aspects of the Immerse Model:
- Mission (Acts of Intention)
- Mode (Spheres of Influence)
- Manner (Ways of Being)
Woven throughout each of the 27 Ministry Leadership Outcomes are three foundational elements: convictional knowledge, Christ-like character, and skillful competence. These elements form a triad that mirrors the educational process. Skills for ministry stem from character. Both character and skill require a basic foundation of knowledge. Always dependent upon God, a mind transformed with Truth (Rom. 12:2) fuels Christ-like character. That character overflows to skillful action. For example, students need to know the biblical story-line as well as key biblical texts. Convictional knowledge (and understanding) of God, of His world, of others, and one’s self are vital for all MLOs. Similarly, Spirit-driven character exemplified by the fruit of the Spirit and a life that accords with sound doctrine provides the tenor for the entire program. The integrative competency to consistently develop and progressively demonstrate these foundational elements in life and in ministry (including prayerfully speaking God’s word to others in a variety of ways) culminates in the themes being woven together.
LEAD is a clarifying acronym of the educational integration of this competency-based model:
L – Learn (about) (convictional knowledge)
E – Embrace (with heart) (Christ-like character)
A – Apply (in life) (skillful competence in general)
D – Disciple (others) (skillful competence in leading others) -> Mastery Observed
With the foundational elements in place, the MLOs can focus more distinctly on specific knowledge, character, and skill that are characteristic of effective pastoral ministry leaders. Moreover, ‘love’ unites this program and is viewed multi-facetedly. It is a noun that is a characteristic and a verb that compels action. Since ‘God is love’ (love as a noun) and the universe is ultimately about Him and His Glory, God loves (love as verb) to work toward His own fame. He invites us to play our part as supporting (and secondary) cast. The strength of Northview’s Immerse Program is that it combines an apprenticeship with formal theological study where students: learn to integrate word, life and ministry practices; are tested in character where their real self will be displayed; learn that ministry is about people not just programs; learn ministry in the world of ministry; think strategically and creatively about ministry; and become trainers of others so that their ministry is multiplied (Marshall & Payne, 2009).
Northview’s ‘DNA’ is rooted in the Mennonite Brethren, Anabaptist tradition, and is prominent in its central message of following Jesus Christ, individually and collectively. We have developed a strong affinity for much of the theology and praxis represented by the Gospel Coalition (D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, David Platt, John Piper, Rosaria Butterfield, etc.), largely due to the centrality of God’s written Word (the Bible) leading toward trusting, obeying, and loving God’s Resurrected Word (Jesus). While bolstering this affinity, we also learn much from different Christian traditions throughout history and across cultures. This program is rooted in Scripture. Therefore, students will incorporate Scripture as the central basis upon which they build. Students will master the appropriate tools for constructing structures to support effective life and ministry. By doing this it is expected that students will determine the passages of Scripture that are applicable to the given situation (MLOs/ODAs) and will evaluate everything (including other readings) through the lens of Scripture.
For more information about applying for the Northview Immerse Program, please contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.