This year, Sola will be forming groups to go through Surge School. The goal of the Surge School is to pursue loving God and neighbor by helping participants: (1) dig deeper into the Biblical Gospel Story, (2) learn how to live as if this Story were true on a daily basis, (3) see how God’s mission for his people is as wide as his creation, and (4) begin to explore how God may have uniquely designed them to engage with that mission. From August to April, you’ll engage these concepts by regularly walking together with a community of other people inside Sola’s family who are on the same journey, by individually interacting with a curriculum of books, articles, and activities, and by hearing from various practitioners in these fields. It’s a commitment, but it’s worth it! Please contact Rob Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Mark Thompson (email@example.com) for more information or to sign up.
There is a wonderful scene in the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones where the Spirit comes upon God’s people at Pentecost just as the resurrected Jesus had promised.
They threw open the shutter. Sunlight flooded their room, as love had flooded their hearts. And the little room was filled with happy noises. Dancing feet, singing, laughing. They unlocked the door and surged out into the streets – as if they had never been afraid.
The disciples surged out into the streets with good news. Today, we want to prepare the men and women of our churches to surge into their various vocations and neighborhoods displaying and declaring the good news in a wise and winsome way. The Surge School is a 9-month (school year) training that utilizes the following three learning environments.
Individual Study. Each student is responsible to read all the material in the books and reader. Also, each table leader is responsible to make sure each student commits to a Scripture reading plan.
Surge Tables. This is the primary learning environment for Surge. Each student sits weekly or semi-weekly at a table with 3-7 other leaders from their local church. Students discuss the reading and bring out the implications for life and leadership. Students are challenged by their table leader and others at their table to live out the implications of the gospel.
Intensives. There are 4 intensives throughout the year. These are an important classroom learning environment for Surge. We intend to feature wise practitioners who know how to communicate their subject well. Each Intensive will be at the beginning of a quarter and are designed to set up the readings.
Theological Vision of Leadership. While the Surge school is not linked with any one denomination or theological school, we do ground our leadership in a robust theology. Surge has been influenced by and is in some ways a collaboration of the thought of Mike Goheen, Chris Wright, and Tim Keller. People of all backgrounds are welcome to the table!
Theology is Application. Surge functions from John Frame’s definition of theology, “Theology is the application of God’s word by persons to every area of life.” We are convinced that theology is more but not less than content and cognitive study. Theology is life lived the way Jesus intended. Therefore, you do not have “good theology” unless you are living a life of trust and obedience.
Local Church Based. Surge is not a parachurch ministry. Surge is simply a structure that our local church elders use to work together to train leaders within the context of our local church’s family and mission.
Holistic Education. Surge is not simply the acquisition of information. It is not less than that, but it is more. Surge contains three specific learning environments in which each student must participate. Together these environments provide a context for all-of-life discipleship.
Strategic Curriculum. The Curriculum for Surge is based on a four-quarter system, in which the content of each quarter builds on the previous one and follows a big-small- big-small motif:
Quarter 1: Gospel Story – The Drama of Scripture by Mike Goheen
Quarter 2: Gospel and Heart – Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt
Quarter 3: Gospel Mission – The Mission of God’s People by Chris Wright
Quarter 4: Gospel Calling – Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller
Quarters 1 – 4: Supplement – Companion Reader by various authors
Having established a foundation in the Grand Story of the Bible (Q1), we seek to apply the gospel to our own hearts (Q2). We then ask what the specific mission of God’s people is in (Q3) before finally talking about how to faithfully lead in light of all we’ve learned in our vocations and neighborhoods (Q4). The Companion Reader includes a schedule for reading the main texts of the curriculum with your tables, as well as supplemental articles.
The curriculum is bound together by a practical application tool called the Surge Practices. These practices provide the shape and direction for our tables and our lives. Every table leader should be using these practices to conduct their surge table and every surge participant should be actively using these in their personal formation throughout each week.
The Surge Practices follow the acronym B.L.E.S.S.
Bless — Bless 3 people this week (believer, unbeliever, someone not like you)
Listen — Listen to God and listen to your world (neighbors)
Eat — Eat with 3 people this week (believer, unbeliever, someone not like you)
Speak — Speak to God in prayer and Speak to others about Jesus (make him an everyday part of your conversation)
Sabbath — Rest and recreate