The Institute

What is The Institute?

The Institute is East Cooper’s intensive discipleship environment, where participants will be immersed in Scripture and theology, while also being taught the disciplines of the Christian life and engaging in ministry toward others.

Register

Meets Weekly

The Institute is a year-long, semester based Wednesday evening class starting September 14. Weekly classes will be a blend of lectures, small group discussion, and question and answer times. The Institute will be led by Leland Brown and Alan Wilson on Wednesday nights in the B-wing classrooms. 

FAQs

The Institute is East Cooper’s intensive discipleship environment, offered in a year-long, semester based Wednesday evening class. In this class, participants will be immersed in Scripture and theology, while also being taught the disciplines of the Christian life and engaging in ministry toward others. Weekly classes will be a blend of lectures, small group discussion, and question and answer times. The two related purposes for this class are to lay a holistic biblical/theological foundation for participants and equip them for ministry and leadership in the local church.

There are several great reasons to commit to the Institute. First, there are unique benefits to devoting a particular season of your life to spiritual growth and laying biblical and theological foundations--many people will experience special seasons of growth through the process of devoted engagement over a year long period. Second, many Christians today lack holistic biblical and theological knowledge--being unable to express central Christian beliefs or understand the big story of the Bible--partly because these are genuinely difficult things to do. A dedicated season gives one space to deeply engage these issues in the context of the fellowship of believers. Finally, some may be in seasons where it would be especially helpful to do the Institute. For example, someone who has become a Christian in the last 5 years and wants to develop a solid foundation for their Christian life, or someone considering missions, full time ministry, or desires to be a lay elder in our church’s life would be in an ideal season to commit to the Institute.

The Institute is different from other venues in our church family’s life primarily in the level of commitment required. This commitment level is an essential part of the experience of the class and itself is valuable for spiritual growth. The commitment level is expressed in several ways:

  • Registering for the Institute will cost $40, which will cover the books we will read.
  • Participants must attend 75% of meetings, or an average of 3 out of 4 weeks a month, to continue in the program. 
  • Participants will read 5-6 books throughout the program and be required to write brief critical reflections on what they read.
  • Participants will participate in practical ministry assignments, such as memorizing Scripture and meeting with other Christians for discipleship purposes.
  • Participants will be required to serve on a team in an official capacity in East Cooper’s ministry, whether on Sunday mornings or one one of our local outreach teams.  

Because of the commitment level and the nature of the Institute, we encourage participants to consider it both their class and group for the year they are involved.