The mission of the Apprentice Institute is to provide educational experiences in the area of Christian spirituality, develop resources for individual and church renewal, and engage in research to advance the field of Christian formation.
In keeping step with our mission, the Apprentice Experience is an 18-month journey in discipleship intended for anyone who wants to go further in their study of Christian spiritual formation.
Participants will join a “Community,” which exists to provide a covenant environment and a rich learning atmosphere through ecumenical dialogue, interaction and practices.
Certification in Christian Spiritual Formation (CSF) will provide participants with opportunities for personal spiritual growth, a closer relationship with God, and additional catalysts for improving discipleship and leadership in the local church.
Key Dates and Information for Community 4
- November 6-10, 2017
Gathering 1 / Spiritual Life Center – Wichita, KS
- March 19-23, 2018
Gathering 2 / Spiritual Life Center – Wichita, KS
- October 23-27, 2018
Gathering 3 / Apprentice Gathering, National Conference – Wichita, KS
- May 12-16, 2019
Gathering 4 / Spiritual Life Center – Wichita, KS
The curriculum for the Apprentice Experience is based on James Bryan Smith’s model for Christian Formation. His triangle of transformation consists of the three main angles how people are formed, and ultimately transformed: narrative, exercises, and community.
The curriculum for the four gatherings will take a deeper look into these important issues. For example, Gathering One will examine the role of narrative in our spiritual lives, looking particularly at Jesus’ narratives about God, personal identity, and the Kingdom of God.
These gatherings will have an academic dimension to them, but equally important is the experiential aspect—hence the title, the Apprentice Experience.
We will be practicing the classic spiritual exercises, alone and in groups, and meeting together to process how God is shaping us through these practices.
Master Teachers for the Apprentice Experience include James Bryan Smith, Scot McKnight, Curt Thompson, Shane Claiborne, Keith Matthews, Jan Johnson, John Carroll, Matt Johnson and Myrna Craig.
Dr. James Bryan Smith
Dr. James Bryan Smith (MDiv, Yale University Divinity School; DMin, Fuller Seminary) is the Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith is currently a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is the author of eight books, most notably The Apprentice Series (InterVarsity Press), which continue to shape the work of the Apprentice Institute.
Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. He earned his B.A. degree from Grand Rapids Baptist College (now known as Cornerstone University), an M.A. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham.
Curt Thompson, M.D., is a psychiatrist in private practice in Falls Church, Virginia and the founder of Being Known, LLC, an organization that develops resources to educate and train leaders about the intersection between interpersonal neurobiology, Christian spiritual formation, and vocational creativity. Curt is the author of Anatomy of the Soul and The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves. He graduated from Wright State University School of Medicine, completed his psychiatric residency at Temple University Hospital, and is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Curt has specific expertise in the field of interpersonal neurobiology and how it reflects important tenants of Christian faith, providing opportunities to comprehend and experience that same faith in fresh trustworthy ways.
Shane Claiborne graduated from Eastern University and did graduate work at Princeton Seminary. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Eastern. As a peacemaker, his journeys have taken him to some of the most troubled regions of the world – from Rwanda to the West Bank – and he’s been on peace delegations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Shane is the visionary leader of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. He and his wife, Katie Jo, launched the Simple Way community in 1995. Shane writes and travels extensively; his foci are peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. Some of his books include: Jesus for President, The Irresistible Revolution, and Common Prayer.
Dr. Keith Matthews is Chair of the Graduate Ministry Department and Professor of Spiritual Formation and Contemporary Culture at Azusa Pacific University’s Graduate School of Theology. He is also an ordained pastor, church consultant, and retreat speaker. As a “teacher to pastors,” Keith’s expertise is in Christian Formation and Leadership, along with Contemporary Cultural issues in ministry. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary where he taught with Dr. Dallas Willard in Fuller’s Doctor of Ministry Program. He has written articles for Sojourners Magazine, Conversations Journal and Christianity Today, as well as designed and co-authored Dallas Willard’s Study Guide to The Divine Conspiracy, and The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation. Keith was also a Co-Editor and Author of The Dictionary of Everyday Theology and Culture. Keith is married to Christa and has three grown children, Cori, Kyle and Kate, and resides in Southern California.
Jan Johnson is the author of twenty books (including Abundant Simplicity and Invitation to the Jesus Life) and truckloads of Bible studies. Jan speaks frequently at events and is an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and Denver Seminary. She has been a spiritual director for 20 years and holds a D. Min. in Ignatian Spirituality and Spiritual Direction. She lives with her husband in Simi Valley, California (JanJohnson.org)
John oversees the Apprentice Experience, an 18-month certification experience in Christian Spiritual Formation for clergy and laity. With a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, John brings a unique blend of experience (11 years in corporate recruiting, 4 years in local church) to the Apprentice Institute. John is happily married to his wife, Amber, and together they have two children, Aidan and Amelia. In his free time, John enjoys reading, watching football and spending time with family and friends.