The programming of The Call can be summarized by the acronym TREK:
T raining/Spiritual Formation
"A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher." Luke 6:40
The foremost requirement of a Christian leader is that they are radically following Christ--seeking to live His transforming grace and truth in every arena of life and living in such a way as to invite, encourage, and equip others to follow along. In this regard, a Christian leader is a lead-follower that is, they are following Christ out front and leading others to follow Christ.
This emphasis can be summarized by saying: I am following hard after Christ; Come with me.
As leaders, we need to be heading in the right direction ourselves. For that reason the first concern of the Call is to train young men and women toward spiritual depth and Christ-likeness. This is accomplished through shared accountability, study of scripture, and pursuit of holiness.
Training occurs primarily within the Cohort through personal spiritual disciplines, small group discipleship, retreats, and mentorships.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12
If we are radically following Christ and inviting others to join us, there is a relationship inherently present in the very fact of two people journeying the same path. It is impossible to follow Christ and not be in relationship with others. When we are called into Christ, we are called into His body, the Church.
It is in the community of faith that we are formed and found-out, where we learn to truly live the life of Christ that lives in us. We are called to love—and the Call seeks to gather participants into genuine relationships where Jesus’ command is expressed in thought, word and deed.
The Call participants share meals, do road trips, miss sleep, share ideas, explore, disagree, make up, grow, and love one another with the love of the Father for the Son in the Spirit. Now that’s relationship.
"Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." John 21:16
We’re following hard after Christ—so what do we do about those around us? Jesus told Peter it means that we help others to follow Him, too—we “shepherd His sheep.” The Call knows the only way to learn to shepherd is to do it.
Jesus sent the twelve out, then the seventy. He gave His disciples the chance to try what He had been teaching them. It’s no different now. In order for Christian leaders to truly discern God’s call, or to prepare for that call, they must be given the opportunity to lead ministry.
All participants in the Call are expected to become active in the leadership of campus ministry through the Center of Religious Life and/or in a local church. Ashland University has a large and active chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes as well as a weekly student worship gathering called The Well.
For seniors who are interested, an internship in a local church is available as a culmination of the Call experience. The Center of Religious Life offers opportunities to participate in and lead small groups, mission trips, and ministries with a variety of emphases.
Participants in the Call are encouraged to make the most of every opportunity to experience ministry in any of these venues. Students should make the effort to experience increasing leadership responsibility in the Network through their junior year.
"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:31-32
The transforming power of God’s word is unleashed by His Spirit when it is understood, internalized, and taught effectively. The Call seeks to equip its participants with the tools needed to be life-long students of the Bible, “handling accurately the word of truth.”
For instruction, reflection, illumination, or practice, the Bible is the Spirit’s primary mode of God’s self-revelation. Therefore the Call works in conjunction with Ashland University’s Religion Department to engage the minds of participants to think biblically and theologically about all matters of life, and to communicate the truth of God in relevant ways to others.