What is the Emmaus Church Institute?
The Emmaus Church Institute (ECI) is our effort to equip men and women to live God-centered lives through growing in their knowledge of God, imitation of Christ, and fellowship of the Spirit. ECI is devoted to theologically shaping and forming Christians into Christ by the Spirit through the grace of the Father.
Why does the Emmaus Church Institute exist?
The Westminster Confession of Faith says the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. In the same vein, the late J. I. Packer asks the questions, “What are we made for? What aim should we set ourselves in life?” The answer to both is to know God. This is what ECI is after. We desire that Christians are continually reoriented to what is true: God and all things in relation to God.
Being a Christian, that is being a citizen of the beloved Son’s kingdom, is intrinsically self-less. To use Peter’s words, growing up into salvation (1 Peter 2:2) is not about self-actualization or self-help, it is about being trained to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions for the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:12). ECI is not after what God may provide for us; rather, ECI is after God who is good for us because he is goodness and blessedness.
Theology, then, is not just for the scholar or pastor, but for everyone. So, we pray with the apostle Paul that you would be “filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him.” (Col. 1:9-10) We pray with David that you would “taste and see that the Lord is good,” for by hiding in God as our refuge, we lack no good thing.
How does the Emmaus Church Institute exist?
Our goal is to aide Christians in their desire to grow in the knowledge of God, imitation of Christ, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We believe that the local church is God’s gift of grace for his people to see God at the highest and true end. And the local church is where this happens. ECI accomplishes the goal of Christian formation through a variety of environments aimed at thinking rightly about God and all things in relation to God. Thus, the Emmaus Church Institute encapsulates all the labors of discipleship.
There are three spheres that compose ECI: Classes and Seminars, the Year-Long Cohort, and the Training and Residency Programs. All three of these spheres will be composed of three essential categories to the Christian life: Theology, Bible, and Habits.
- The first sphere, classes and seminars, will be composed of 1) men’s and women’s bible studies. These will occur throughout the year, with special events designed for fellowship. The first sphere will also contain 2) Sunday morning classes on some biblical or theological topic. Typically, these will be in 8-week increments. There is no registration necessary for these classes. Finally, the first sphere will contain 3) one-day seminars. These will typically last 4-6 hours on a particular topic such as the Kingdom of God, Christian worldview, or How to Read Your Bible.
- The second sphere is the year-long cohort. In this sphere, we are asking for a commitment of intensive discipleship for one year. Each cohort will consist of 5-8 people walking through the three categories of Theology, Bible, and Habits. There will be a total of six books, and each cohort will meet once a month to work through the required readings. Cohort members will have June, July, and December off. The goal of the year-long cohort is to equip Christians to be imitators of God and disciple-makers in the local church.
- The third sphere contains the Training and Residency Programs. Here the Pastoral Residency and GO School consist. If you desire pastoral ministry or the life of a missionary, then this sphere is for you. We believe that the ECI enables Emmaus to fulfill her mission, and this third sphere equips and sends out leaders of Christ’s church.