I. PERSONAL DISCIPLESHIP COURSE. This course is designed to help the participant arrive at a decision to be an authentic disciple of Jesus Christ, “Radical” in the original sense of being, “at root,” a true follower.
- The Call to Be a Disciple. At the end of the session, the participant will be able to understand a key distinction between being a Christian “by name only” and being a true disciple, and to appreciate Christ’s personal call to him or her.
- The Key Disciplines of a Disciple. At the end of the session, the participant will have discovered the meaning and value of spiritual disciplines. He or she will understand the importance of having inward disciplines as a disciple, and learn how these disciplines can bring about inner transformation in their life.
- Christian Stewardship and Servanthood. At the end of this session, the participant will be able to understand the meaning and value of stewardship and its relationship to leadership. He or she will be motivated to take up the challenge of effective stewardship, and embrace servanthood as constitutive of a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Overcoming Obstacles to Personal Growth. At the end of the session, the participant will have a greater awareness of the battles we fight as followers of Christ. Rather than passively accepting obstacles, one will want to stand firm against them in order to live a more victorious life of discipleship.
II. DISCIPLE MAKING GROUPS. This course will discuss what we need to be and to do if we are to disciple and mentor those who with a new (or renewed) commitment to Jesus Christ. The perspective is not simply one-on-one disciple-forming (or “pastoring”), but the role of a group in making disciples of its members. The key result is to form strong disciples at the service of the Church.
- Why Make Disciples? This session makes a strong case for the need to “make disciples,” as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19. At the end of the session, the participant will be able to articulate why disciplining others is part of God’s plan to renew humanity, and will be able to grasp the concrete steps needed to make sure discipleship happens in a group. The next sessions deal with particular kinds of “disciple-making” groups.
- Prayer Groups Alive. A prayer group is any group in which people come together regularly to pray, intercede, receive some spiritual input, and share their faith with one another. This session, however, focuses on charismatic prayer groups, and how to make such groups grow and flourish.
- Faith Sharing Groups. A faith-sharing group is a small group in which people come together regularly to share their faith with one another. Because they are smaller, the members can develop stronger relationships with one another. The session will include advice and tips for creative faith sharing.
- Bible Study Groups. This is a workshop on how to start, structure and sustain Bible study groups, the goal of which is to help people grow in understanding, appreciating and praying the Sacred Scriptures. Thus, Bible study groups become small communities of faith capable of sharing with others the meaning of God’s Word.
III. DEFENSE OF THE GOSPEL. This is a course on Christian Apologetics. It tackles four topics which are relevant today, especially for young people. It makes a case for faith, for Christianity, for the Church, and for trusting God amidst suffering.
- Does God Exist? At the end of this session, the participant will be able to articulate some of the classic proofs of God’s existence, as well as contemporary approaches to this basic yet perennial question.
- Why is Christ Unique? At the end of the session, the participant will be able to explain the “case for Christ”: why it is reasonable and, indeed, incumbent upon a person to accept the Christian claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Saviour of the human race.
- Why is there Suffering? Another perennial question, this classic problem of theodicy will be examined anew in the face of unrelenting pain and suffering in today’s world. It has been said that the “suffering of innocents” is the Devil’s “best argument” against God: how is a Christian to face this challenge?
- Why Do We Need the Church? It is commonly heard today: “I accept Jesus Christ, but I don’t need the Church.” Is this true? Is the community of disciples, the “universal sacrament of salvation” (according to the Second Vatican Council) simply an optional extra? How can Christians, especially Catholics, make a “case for the Church”?
IV. PREACHING AND TEACHING. This course will provide the participant practical guidelines and tips on how best to prepare engaging and impactful presentations.
- Developing a Talk. At the end of this session, the participant will have learned how to write a talk “from scratch.” The goal is to develop an outline for a well-focused talk, with effective use of Scripture, personal experiences, and other appropriate anecdotes and explanations.
- Practicum on Developing a Talk. This entire session will be devoted to giving every participant time to write out a new talk, with comments and feedback from the trainer.
- Giving a Talk. At the end of the session, the participant will have learned how to deliver a talk with confidence and spiritual authority, in a way that would have the desired impact on the listeners. The trainer will speak from his or her experience of having given numerous talks in diverse situations.
- Practicum on Giving a Talk. As in the previous practicum, this session will give every participant a chance to actually deliver a talk, with comments and feedback from the trainer.
V. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING. The course focuses on the various dimensions of identifying and developing effective Christian Lay Leaders.
- The Need for Lay Leaders: A Framework for Raising Leaders. At the end of the session, the participant will be convinced of the need to multiply our work through the formation of disciples into workers who can both evangelize and make disciples. Additionally, the participant will learn how to develop men and women leaders who, as mature disciples with Christ-like character, can effectively and competently oversee and direct the life and mission of a Christian community.
- Spotting and Mentoring Leaders. At the end of the session, the participant will have understood the necessity of having a program of leadership succession. He or she will know what to look for in potential leaders, where to look for them, and how to mentor and train them to actually serve as effective leaders.
- Developing Evangelistic Pastoral Workers. At the end of the session, the participant will have learned and understood the attributes that pastoral workers need, and the key working principles needed, in order to effectively evangelize and work with people towards Christian discipleship and growth.
- Stewardship of Influence and Affluence. At the end of this session, the participant will have understood the key terms (stewardship, influence, affluence) as God-given opportunities for serving the Kingdom even more effectively. He or she will learn how to make full use of their influence and affluence in their ministry and mission.
VI. BASIC EVANGELIZATION TRAINING. The Harvest Institute offers two short courses on evangelization. This basic course, a prerequisite to the next, more advanced course, will impart basic skills in order that one might be able to respond to Jesus’ “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Biblical Mandate to Evangelize. At the end of the session, the participant will have learned and understood what the Bible says about evangelization (the reasons why we should evangelize). He or she will be motivated to cultivate a passionate desire and zealous commitment to evangelize.
- Biblical and Contemporary Methods of Evangelizing. At the end of this session, the participant will be able to articulate the process of evangelization in today’s world with its new realities and challenges. In the face of the latter, the session offers methods and models of evangelization gleaned from Scripture and contemporary Christian evangelistic ministry that “work.”
- Workshop on Sharing the Gospel. At the end of this session, the participant will be able to verbally present the Gospel message to various kinds of people in various settings. But first, he or she will need to know: What is the Gospel? The session is practical, enabling the participant to share in a matter of a few minutes.
- Workshop on Giving One’s Personal Testimony. At the end of the session, the participant will be able to deliver his or her personal testimony (story of one’s journey of faith and discipleship in Christ) to people in various settings. The session is practical enabling the participant to share in a matter of a few minutes.
VII. ADVANCED EVANGELISM TRAINING. This course builds on the previous, basic course, focuses on evangelization methods beyond person-to-person situations, and enables the participant to evangelize big audiences as well as focused groups.
- The Path of Evangelism. As a preliminary overview, this session will enable the participant to identify the stages in the path of evangelization, from the initial contact to the point of decision to be a disciple. He or she will be able to articulate the critical decision points on the road to discipleship, thereby knowing how to accompany an individual on this road.
- Organizing Evangelistic Events. At the end of this session, the participant will be able to plan, organize and hold events designed to reach out to and evangelize especially those who, either have never seriously heard the saving Gospel, or have never effectively been given a choice to follow Jesus Christ. The presentation will consider “market targeting” as preliminary to making plans, moving on to “pre-event preparations,” holding the event proper, and “post-event essentials.”
- Use of Social Media in Evangelization. At the end of the session, the participant will be able to use the various avenues in social media to evangelize and share the Good News. He or she will have learned how to create simple yet powerful and effective multi-media presentations, leading to a commitment to be a social media evangelizer.
- Evangelizing the Workplace, Family, Parish, or Youth. (Note: the specific target audience will be specified by the group requesting this course.) At the end of this session, the participant will know and be able to use the principles behind evangelizing specific groups such as the employees in a secular workplace, or members of one’s family, the parish or the youth. He or she will be able to devise a plan to effectively evangelize and share the Gospel to such specific groups.
VIII. LOVING AND LIVING THE WORD OF GOD. This course will deepen the participant’s love of Scripture and, even more importantly, of God himself. As St. Jerome has put it: Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ himself. The various presentations are both motivational and practical, encouraging one to make Scripture reading, study and life-application a joyful commitment.
- Overview of the word of God. An introduction of Sacred Scripture according to the understanding and approach of the Catholic Church. At the end of the session, the participant will be even more convinced of the importance of reading the Word of God.
- Bible Sharing Methods. Bible-sharing emphasizes the prayerful reading of Scripture together. It does not require much preparation, and does not entail in-depth studying of the Bible. This session will give some very practical ways of easily organizing and running small-group Bible reading and sharing sessions.
- Bible Study Methods. At the end of the session, the participant will be familiar with, and able to use, the foundational steps of the well-known “The Joy of Discovery Method in Bible Study” by the renowned Bible teacher, (Ms. Oletta Wald). Other Bible study methods (by Pastor Rick Warren of The Purpose-Driven Life fame) will also be presented.
- The Bible and the Church. At the end of the session, the participant will appreciate even more the place of Scripture in the life of the Church. He or she will be even more convinced of the need to put the Bible in its rightful, central place in any community of missionary disciples.