Capstone Curriculum

Eight Overall Objectives:

  • To ground emerging urban leaders in the Gospel of Christ, enabling them to know the basics of conversion and their own calling to salvation and leadership
  • To root our students in the indispensability of the Church to serve as both agent and locus of the Kingdom, and for them to serve the church practically and specifically in the local assembly
  • To equip urban leaders with the necessary skills to study, apply, teach, preach, and minister the Word of God in the urban context, applying their learning in their own personal lives and church ministries
  • To challenge urban leaders to regularly memorize select portions of Scripture, and to develop the discipline of review to retain and utilize texts both devotionally and in ministry
  • To establish urban leaders in a Christ-centered vision of Scripture, and equip them in a Nicene Creed-based, biblical theology that is congruent with the historic orthodox faith of the Great Tradition
  • To provide a biblical foundation for both understanding and practicing Christian leadership in the context of the Church, with a special emphasis and appreciation for spiritual formation in urban communities, especially among the poor
  • To train urban leaders to evangelize, disciple, plant, pastor, and minister within evangelical urban churches which will be spiritually vital, culturally conducive, and aggressively reproductive within the various people groups needing Christ in the city
  • To encourage urban leaders to find practical, meaningful ways to promote justice and demonstrate mercy with the broken and needy in urban communities, and to discover ways to display hospitality, generosity, and compassion in the places where they live and minister

Module (Course) Descriptions:

Each course is usually taught in eight two-hour lessons, usually one lesson per week. (The curriculum is flexible, so other convenient arrangements can be used—fewer weeks and longer classes, more weeks and shorter classes.)

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Biblical Studies

Conversion and Calling

Without question, the most dynamic spiritual force in the Church is the Spirit-inspired and illumined Word of God, the Holy Scriptures. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we affirm our deep belief in the creative, convicting, converting, and calling power of the Word of God. To understand the wonderful blessing of conversion and calling, we will need to critically evaluate the place of the Word of God in the Church.

Bible Interpretation

According to the clear testimony of the Scriptures themselves, God equips His representatives through the Spirit-breathed Word of God, the Scriptures. Everyone God calls into the ministry must determine to discipline himself so as to master its contents, submit to its injunctions, and teach its truths. Like a workman (or work-woman!) they must strive to handle the Word of truth accurately, and so be approved of the Lord in their study (2 Tim. 2.15).

Old Testament Witness to Christ

The Spirit-breathed Scriptures are anchored in the witness of Jesus of Nazareth. He and He alone provides unity, continuity, and coherence to both the Old and New Testaments, and no one can claim a holistic or accurate view of the Bible without Him being central in all phases of exegesis. He is the Bible’s theme (John 5.39-40). In this module we trace some of the significant markers of the OT’s witness to Messiah, and see how those markers provide us with a strong handle on the meaning of the entirety of Scripture.

New Testament Witness to Christ

There can be no question that the most critical and important subject to master in the life of a Christian leader is the actual person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. No other subject is as significant or controversial as the meaning of His life and ministry. This module is designed to introduce students to a “life of Jesus” survey that concentrates on the historical accounts in the Gospels, beginning at the announcement of His birth to His ascension after His death at Calvary. No other study can yield a greater intellectual and spiritual harvest than a concentrated focus upon the historical facts surrounding Jesus’ life, ministry, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus of Nazareth is Messiah and Lord of all!

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Theology and Ethics

The Kingdom of God

Of all the subjects preached and taught by Jesus of Nazareth, none are as significant and controversial as the subject of the Kingdom of God. Both conservative and liberal scholars agree that Jesus’ favorite subject, the one He preached and taught upon most often, is the Kingdom of God. It was His salvation message, master plan, and heart theology. Sadly, the modern Church seems to pay little attention to what Jesus considered to be most important in His prophetic and Messianic ministry. Our hope is that the student's heart will be gripped by the kingdom story - the King and His Kingdom - and see its importance in the life of personal discipleship and ministry.

God the Father

The study of the person of our God, the Father Almighty, is one of the most important and richest of all studies in the Word of God. It affects every part of our discipleship, worship, and ministry; truly, as our Lord Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent,” (John 17.3).

God the Son

The identity of the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth is arguably the most critical subject in all Christian reflection and ministry. Indeed, it is impossible to minister in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ if that ministry is based upon false and ignoble views of whom he was (and is), what his life signified, and what we are to make of him today. Everything is at stake in our right conception of his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return. This module highlights his majestic person and deeds, and mastering the biblical material on him is the task of all responsible discipleship and ministry.

God the Holy Spirit

There are few theological truths in the history of the Church that have sparked as much controversy, disagreement, and schism as the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. From ancient disagreements about Trinity and “procession” to modern disagreements about the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit, there is much that have caused sincere, godly believers to conflict about this important truth. Despite its history of conflict, however, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit lies at the very heart of the way that we understand who God is and how we experience his living presence in our midst.

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Christian Ministry

Theology of the Church

The Church of God in Jesus Christ is one of the most refreshing and important themes of all the Scriptures. Jesus of Nazareth, through his death, burial, and resurrection, has been exalted as head over his new people, those called to represent him in the earth and bear witness of his already/not yet Kingdom. To understand the Church’s role in God’s kingdom program is critical to every facet of personal and corporate discipleship; there is no discipleship or salvation apart from God’s saving action in the Church. Grasping what God is doing in and through his people empowers God’s leader to represent him with wisdom and honor. The Church is foreshadowed in God's exalted purpose to bring glory to himself by saving a new humanity through his covenant with Abraham. Through its worship, witness, and good works, the Church through the ages displays the unity, holiness, universality, and apostolicity of its communion. In the Church, God displays his kingdom life and shares his offer of grace to the world.

Foundations of Christian Leadership

The leaders of the Church of God are his precious gifts to his people throughout the ages. The evidence that Jesus loves his people dearly is that he has granted unto them apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip his people to represent the Kingdom of God in this fallen and soon-to end world (Eph. 4.9-16). This module highlights the various roles and offices associated with this high and important task in the Kingdom of God.

Practicing Christian Leadership

Perhaps nothing is more critical in the health of a Christian congregation than the practice of effective Christian leadership. God has raised up gifted men and women to care for his people, to exercise oversight that heals and blesses in the midst of his church. Truly, those called to lead demonstrate their devotion to the Savior by practicing a kind of leadership that both honors and glorifies our Lord and edifies and builds up his people.

The Equipping Ministry

The ministry of the Word of God lies at the heart of the equipping ministry. Paul tells the Ephesians that God has given the Church apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers in order that they might equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Eph. 4.11-12). There is no precedent for seeing a church as having a single minister: truly, all believers in Christ are ministers of the grace of God, and pastors are assigned to equip them. As believers we hold to the universal priesthood of believers (1 Pet. 2.8-9), in the universal ministry of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12.1-11), and the universal functioning of the members of the body of Christ (Romans 12.3-8).

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Urban Mission

Foundations for Christian Mission

The theme of mission has not received the kind of focus and attention in our urban churches that it should. Having been seen largely as a work across the ocean in far flung corners of the world, we have failed to give it the kind of critical analysis that it deserves. From one vantage point, the entirety of the Christian faith could be seen as a response of mission, the call to go to the nations and proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and King of the reign of God. The NT is a collection of missionary documents given to churches that were founded by the apostles, the original missionaries of the Christian faith. God himself is the original missionary, coming to the world in Christ and reconciling it to himself (2 Cor. 5.18-21). Indeed, Christianity is mission.

Evangelism and Spiritual Warfare

Evangelism is proclaiming and demonstrating to the world that God has visited the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and that this visitation is now accompanied by liberation from the devil and from the effects of sin! To evangelize is to prophesy deliverance in Messiah Jesus.

Focus on Reproduction

As 21st century disciples of Jesus in the cities of America, we desire to be fruitful in the work of God–ministering to the lost, and advancing the Kingdom of Christ (John 15.8,16). God has commanded that we bear abundant lasting fruit in our generation, taking the Good News of Christ’s love to the very ends of the earth. The mandate is valid till the return of Christ; we are called to evangelize the lost, equip the redeemed, and empower new generations to become salt and light in the communities where they live and work.

Doing Justice and Loving Mercy

As disciples of Christ in the city, we are responsible to display the life of the Kingdom to Come in the midst of our churches, and through our lifestyles and ministries of compassion to others. This module, Doing Justice and Loving Mercy: Compassion Ministries, highlights the ways in which we both conceive and practice justice and righteousness in the body of Christ and in the world. As ambassadors of Christ, it is critical that we understand the richness of the biblical insights around this subject, as well as explore the possible ways in which we as believers and Christian ministers can demonstrate the love and justice of the Kingdom where we live.

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Course Components

Each course in the Capstone Curriculum includes an academic component, a reading and writing component, and a ministry component. All of these are explained more fully in the workbook or syllabus for each course.

Academic Component

In each lesson students will watch and listen to a half hour lecture and follow it in their workbooks. Students will make notes and after the video presentation will discuss major factors and raise questions with the mentor.

Students will be quizzed on the content of the workbook and video lecture three times throughout the course and have a final exam covering all the content of the course.

Reading and Writing Component

Response Papers
Two or three books are required reading throughout the course. The syllabus will identify the pages/chapters to be read each week.

Students will write response papers on their readings in each book throughout the course. If there are two books, for example, and there are three segments to each book, that means students will write six response papers during the course. These will consist of the students sense of what the author is saying and what they think is most important and why. Response papers are only one or two pages in length.

Exegetical Paper
Five or six key passages of Scripture for each course. Students are to select one and must write a five-page report explaining what the passage meant in its original setting, what enduring principles there are that ought to be applied today, and what the application of those principles in the student’s life would look like today.

Ministry Component

Each student, toward the end of each course, must take some feature of the course and, with the approval of his or her pastor, use it with others in his or her church or ministry led by the church. This could be in a Bible study, Sunday School Class, discipling relationship, outreach effort, etc. Students will then write a one page Ministry Project Report to summarize their ministry, how it was received, and what they learned from the experience.

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Certificates and Accreditation

Certificate for Christian Ministry Leadership

Students who complete the 16 Capstone courses successfully will be awarded the Certificate in Christian Ministry Leadership Studies. Students may accumulate credit for their Capstone courses from any official TUM sites around the world. Official records from each site are required. Graduation from the Captstone program is typically held in the local church of the graduating student.

Credit From Partner Institutions

While TUMI courses are not accredited, and will never be accredited, in view of our admission standards, mentor qualifications, and other institutional requirements, our courses are recognized to have solid academic value by several accredited and professional institutions that do grant our students credit for completing TUMI courses. Lancaster Bible College, Nyack College, Tabor College, Fuller Theological Seminary, and The North American Reformed Seminary all give degree completion or other forms of credit for successful completion of Capstone courses. Check with the institution of interest for their details and requirements.

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