Synergy Leadership
"To Know Christ and Make Him Known"

Mentoring servant-leaders to love God's worth, live out God's Word in community, and to liberate God's world through the ministry of the local church.

Synergy Leadership, Port Elizabeth, Republic of South Africa

GAP Year

The year between high school and university or between high school and the working environment is critical in the lives of young adults. Those who plan to go to university discover that their faith is challenged on the secular campus. Those who plan to enter the working environment usually either struggle to find work or if they do find work, they find that they are not equipped to live as a believer in the secular environment. Those who grow up in townships (African community) are faced with strong temptations. The combined result of not having a job and growing up in the township is that many of these young adults become involved in crime, sexual immorality, and gangs.

We would like to offer these young adults the opportunity of living on the campsite for a year of intense spiritual formation and theological education. Our philosophy of education is based on a number of key interrelated Biblical concepts. We hope to inculcate the skill of theological reflection and action along these five dimensions.

1. LEITOURGIA -- WORSHIP -- The focus in on developing one's understanding and practice of worship in the life of the believer and in the community of faith. Celebration of the triune God and identity formation in the life of the believer will be emphasized. The goal is to develop a Biblical Theology of worship to inform practice.

2. KERYGMA and DIDACHE-- PROCLAMATION and TEACHING -- The focus is on God's self-revelation through the prophets and through Jesus Christ and our communication of the truth in a variety of contexts. The goal is to develop a Biblical Theology of preaching and teaching the truth.

3. PAIDEIA -- SPIRITUAL FORMATION -- The focus is on a Biblical understanding of spiritual formation in the life of the believer within the context of the community of faith. The dynamics of spirituality in the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community contexts will be explored. Paradigms of spiritual growth will be developed and evaluated. The goal is to develop a Biblical Theology of spirituality and conformity to the image of Christ and to describe its practice in terms of the spiritual disciplines.

4. KOINONIA -- COMMUNITY LIFE -- The focus is on the leading and development of community groups and communities of faith. Paradigms of leadership will be developed and evaluated. The role of community in the spiritual formation of believers will be explored. The matrix of faith, practice, and the dynamics of community will be explored. We need to rediscover the biblical imperative of a community based approach to sanctification. This paradigm is close to African spirituality encapsulated in the concept of “ubuntu.” Ubuntu could be explained by the phrase, “a person is a person through people.” It is within the community of believers that the Spirit of God employs the Word of God to conform us to the image of the Son of God! The goal is to develop a Bibical Theology of community.

5. DIAKONIA -- MISSIONAL SERVICE -- The focus is on the missional nature of the church in relation to the world. The church will have to examine its role in and relationship to the world. The interaction between the community of faith and culture will be explored. The mission of God in regard to the world will be examined. Paradigms of holistic ministry to the world will be developed and evaluated. The process of developing new communities of faith (church plants) will be emphasized. The goal is to develop a Biblical Theology of God's Mission and how that is expressed in contemporary culture.

Theological reflection will be conducted along these five interrelated dimensions. These dimensions are pictured below.

These courses would focus on developing a Biblical worldview and would emphasize the core Biblical concepts of the grid pictured above. Some of the courses include the following:

gap year

These courses will be taught from an academic perspective but will be undergirded by a strong personal application. The spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, fasting, Bible memory, meditation, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, and celebration will be emphasized.

Bible colleges and seminaries have long realized that sometimes theological education is not accompanied by a spiritual transformation in the character of the student. One cannot assume that mere exposure to and study of the word of God in an academic environment guarantees spiritual growth.

More recently, seminaries have instituted community based spiritual formation groups. Accountability is at the core of this kind of learning, spiritually vibrant community.

Those who teach in the classroom would nurture these young men and women in the faith. We want the leadership to model Biblical Christianity. The leadership is expected to mentor these individuals both in the classroom and outside the classroom. Students will participate in small groups led by faculty members.

These courses would constitute the first year of theological study for a degree. We are the process of identifying a partner institution that would accept the credits on a recognition of prior learning (RPL) basis. This would allow the students to continue studying toward a Bachelor of Theology degree.