Master Plan for the Establishment of the Spiritual Officers Academy

  • 02.01.2016

Master Plan for the Establishment of the Spiritual Officers Academy

(Prepared by Dr. Young Ihl Chang, Director)



I. Overview & Motivations


1) There are many proverbial sayings that emphasize the value and importance of education, such as the following: “Education is a long range plan for hundreds of years.” “People’s future depends on education just like flowers depend on gardening.” “Education creates people’s path like a little water-stream flows and makes a path.”

We might not have to cite these kinds of proverbs to emphasize the importance of education. No one will deny the fact that the future of churches, nations, and the whole world depends on "True (Committed) Education". Developed countries often have more great universities, and the nation that has more excellent talents based on Biblical Education, such as the Jewish nation, will be regarded as a leading country of the world. Our nation, South Korea is expected to reunite with North Korea, and (as predicted by the Church leaders) to become the second Israel as a spiritual leader of a new era in human history. Despite this prophecy, there are deficiencies in the education system, which fails to cultivate qualified leaders. It is more urgent than ever to provide appropriate knowledge, personal characteristics, and spirituality through true education.

2) The crisis of Korean churches in South Korea, as well as that of Western churches, originates from church leaders. They declare themselves as spiritual coaches, but fail to have true spiritual lives. Their lives are no different from people out in the world, as they seek the pleasures and riches of the world. This problem apparently seems to be the result of deficiencies in biblical and committed education.

The tragedy in today's Korean churches can be compared to Samson’s downfall, after his hair was cut, the comparison of which hurts us all. To overcome such a crisis, the plan is to establish a "Spiritual Officers Academy." This plan is for the training of cadets of the spiritual elites, armed with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. This is similar to the establishment of a Military Academy, created for the purpose of an elite officer training for national security. Who would object to such a plan?

3) Jesus demonstrated “Committed/True Education” when he selected and trained a small picked unit of disciples as spiritual officers. To purify a lake filled with muddy water, one needs only one clear stream. Jesus spread the Gospel in a world of darkness and desperation by making disciples out of twelve, mostly fishermen of Galilee, at the border of Israel. Apart from a couple of Catholic and Anglican theology schools, it is difficult to find a monastry-like mentoring system which is composed of communal living and learning. Now is the time for Christian Churches to make their mark on the world just like Jesus’ ‘Galilee Academy.’

4) Statistics show that the expansion of current Korean churches is stagnating, and they have fallen behind Buddhism and Catholicism in spiritual leadership. What does this mean? This mainly shows that pastors are behind Catholic priests and monks in spirituality and tenacity training. It is difficult to expect spiritual and tenacity education in the current theological seminaries in Korea and probably in the USA.

It is no longer a secret in Korea that seminary students are cheating and attending school by proxy. There is also a policy that cheating students cannot be expelled, though penalized for six months. It is difficult to expect the graduation of righteous spiritual officers under the faculty members, who are mostly criticized as infected with wordly way of life and mindset. It is common knowledge that fertilized eggs from free-range chickens in a rural farm are more valuable to ecological preservation than the hundreds of billions of wind eggs produced to infinity in a poultry farm.

In January 2014, a shocking report indicated that nowadays only 1% of college students attend churches. For youngsters are mostly disappointed of the wayward and immoral behaviours of the religious leaders and refuse to come to the churches. Korea needs, more than ever, strong spiritual leaders to overcome this crisis.

5) The M. Div. (Master of Divinity) Program in most of the Theological Seminaries in South Korea and in the US obliges students in three years’ period to take more than 8 courses such as Old Testament Theology, New Testament Theology, Church History, Systematic Theology, Christian Education, Christian Ethics, Church Music, Missiology, Homiletics, and Christian Counseling, etc. Students lack time in handling all the given reports and homeworks of the various courses for the limited period of time. This M. Div. program is focused mostly on the intellectual education, and students learn a lot about the Bible and write a number of reports about it, but they have no time to experience the joy and power of God's Word through reading the whole Bible itself. And even though students learn about prayers, they cannot afford to pray because of their busy schedules. Thus, there is no way for students to know the grace and power of the prayer through real practices of the prayer. As we know, evangelists and pastors of the early church concentrated on reading and preaching the Word of God, and especially on praying(Acts 6:4), and they prayed at least three times a day or more. In case of the apostle Paul, after he met the Lord on the way to Damascus (Gal. 1:17-18), he spent three years at the Arabian wilderness to experience the power of the Holy Spirit through praying and meditating the Word of God. The same essential course should be provided to today’s pastoral cadidates, before they are ordained as a pastor or leaders of any church.

6) Ahead of the upcoming reunification of Korea, one of the priorities of Korean churches is to promote unity of the Protestant denominations (Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, etc.). We know that the Lee(李) Dynasty of Korea(15~19 century) experienced shame and humiliations inflicted by Japan because of the conflicts that opposed among themselves. The current Korean churches are facing the same shame and humiliations inflicted by non-Christians because of the devil who is trying to disrupt the unity and cooperation between the churches. The presence of demons was confirmed during the preparation of the WCC 10th General Meeting(2013) held in Busan. The devil’s mission to disrupt unity is like "Cyrus' strategy," in which he had disrupted the flow of the upper Euphrates River into the city by creating 100 canals in which the water would flow. The Bible states: “And if a man prevails against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken”(Ecc. 4:12).

Up until recent years, Korean churches had experienced tremendous power and miracles of God when they united ecumenically. In particular, the following can be examples of synergy effects: First, the gathering of one million Inter-denominational Christians in Yeoeudo in 1974; secondly, NCCK's stand at the forefront of oil removal operations when Oil spilled in Tae-an Peninsula; thirdly, ecumenical cooperation for the establishment of Agape-hope-prison. As a duet or chorus would be much more beautiful and inspiring than a solo, so would all the churches on earth transcending denominations and uniting in the love of Christ make up a beautiful harmony. This is the perfect will of Trinity God, and we must remember that it is the sincere wish of our Lord to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane right before he was arrested. And this is the main motivation of the establishment of the inter-denominational ‘Spiritual Officers Academy(SOA).’

When (about 40) member churches of the board of trustees regardless of denomination send 24 candidates, who will live, work, and study together, to SOA every other year, then within 10 years we anticipate more than 100 picked troops of spiritual officers would be produced. In other words, we expect 24 spiritual officers (12 majoring in the Old Testament and 12 in the New Testament) to graduate from the program every two years. These graduates will lead their denominations with love and support from one another because they will be disciplined and have a strong connection with one another. This will result in the unity of Korean churches. We still remember two spiritual leaders of Korean Church, Rev. Kyoung-Jik Hahn(Presbyterian) and Rev. Jin-Kyoung Cheong(Wesleyan), who received the honor to transcend denominations, and who show us the positive results of working together. It is especially necessary to look back to the establishment of the interdenominational church institute by Rev. Kyoung-Jik Hahn.


II. Objectives

This 2 year post-graduate  Master of Art in Theological Studies(MATS) program is an internship, designed for pastoral candidates, who will be invited to the U.S.A. and trained (in an isolated prayer garden) as spiritual warriors. This training will instill spiritual characteristics and knowledge.


By the end of this internship, students will:

1) Become leaders, acknowledged by God (II Corinthians 10:18) and respected by people (Romans 14:18), with a balance of sacrificial service, prayer, and divine word.

2) Become leaders, filled with the Holy Spirit like Apostle Paul (Acts13:9), armed with a strong spirit of martyrdom (Acts 20:24; 21:13 ), ready to discard everything except the Lord, and willing to preach the gospel to the ends of times, like Apostle Paul.

3) Become leaders, who practice honesty, poverty, and chastity in front of God and man (I Timothy 1:19).

4) Become leaders, who are ready to serve others with humility as servants for the kingdom of God, at a lower position anywhere and anytime (I Corinthians 9: 19-22).

5) Become leaders, who strive for excellence.

6) Become leaders, who refrain from blaming and complaining, but who provide positive encouragement and praise, and who are obedient to God (Romans 14:10; Corinthians 10:10).

7) Become leaders who focus on the crown of righteousness like the early church saints(2Tim. 4:7-8)

8) Become leaders who have the spirit of patriotism like Moses, Samuel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Esther, and Paul.

9) Become leaders who reject humanism and communism, but focus on God-centered mindset focusing on "Only Jesus!”

10) Become leaders who have a gentle and humble personality, who can serve and respect their parents, teachers, and seniors.


III. Teaching Methods

1) As a two year mentoring system, faculty and students will be living on campus together. However, on the weekend, they will have an internship at predetermined local churches.

2) Students will be awarded a full scholarship, and they will serve not only in Korea, but also all over the world after graduation.

3) Students will focus only on two majors, New testament and Old testament studies, and will be taught by two full time professors selected regardless of their denominations.

4) The requirement for selecting professors include:

a) Be between 45 and 75 years of age.

b) Hold a doctoral degree with more than 10 years of proven teaching experience in his field.

c) Have at least 10 years of experience in morning prayer.

d) Must have read the whole Bible more than 30 times.

e) Must have more than 7 consecutive days of experience in fasting.


5) The number of teaching positions will be equally divided among Korean and American professors.

6) More than 50% of each subject (Hebrew and Greek Bible readings and method of Biblical exegeses, special lectures) will be offered in English in order to better prepare for Global leadership.

7) Required courses for the spiritual formation should include memorizing the Biblical verses, fasting, evangelism, and missionary work (at least 3.5 months). Once a semester, students will be required to participate in an event consisting of meeting the community and spreading the gospel. This event should be carefully designed in order not to turn people away from the Gospel.

8) Professors and students will be required to perform agricultural work on a pre-determined piece of land at least 3 hours a day.

9) Graduation is based on the successful completion of the program and of professors’ evaluation. After the completion of the two-year program, graduation may be postponed or students may be withdrawn based on the evaluation of two professors, including a mentor.


IV. Imposed Tasks to reach the objectives

1) Students(prior to graduation) and professors(prior to employment) are required to pledge Martyrdom for Jesus Christ.

2) Prior to graduation, students must have read the Bible more than 30 times, memorized more than 2 thousand verses, and prayed more than three hours a day, and performed more than two hours of labor work a day (including farming).

3) Students are required to copy the Old and New Testaments for two years, and their work will be preserved in the library.

4) Students and the faculty are required to fast by skipping daily lunch, and fast for at least three consecutive days at the end of each year.

5) Students are required to keep a daily journal containing thankful prayer written before bedtime.

6) Students and faculty are required to evangelize 3 or more people before graduation.

7) Students are required to perform blood donation once a year.

8) Students are required to participate in overseas mission training for at least 3.5 months.


V. Student Selection Criteria

In order to be selected, students must:

1) obtain a score of 60 on the TOEFL or 700 on TOEIC.

2) have a degree above bachelor degree at an accredited college or university.

3) be committed to the postgraduate educational purposes and martyrdom.

4) have a recommendation from the members of the board of trustees of SOA.

5) Maximum admission Capacity: 6 students for the New Testament and 6 for the Old Testament every year.

6) After graduation, students will be ordained as pastors and hired as adjunct pastors at the church of recommending pastors for at least two years.


VI. Duties and Responsibilities of Board of Trustees

1) Board Members should be respected leaders transcending denominations.

2) Board Members should acknowledge and agree on the mission of the program.

3) The number of members could be between thirty and forty.

4) Each member’s church should recommend a student and should ordain him as an adjunct pastor after their completion of training in SOA.

5) The Chairman of the Board of Trustees should donate at least $20,000.00 a year.


VII. Management, Operations, and Other

1) Establish an Advisory Council for the operation and development of Spiritual Officers Academy

2) Hire three staff members under the Director(unpaid) for the operation of Academy: Executive Secretary, a cook, a Driver

3) Location of the campus: 900 Jackson Trail Road, Winder, GA 30680


VIII. Daily Schedule (Monday–Friday)


(First  Semester)                               (2nd Semester)             (3rd Semester)

5:005:30 Wake up!

5:30-6:30 Morning Service

6:30-8:00 Individual Prayer

8:00-9:30 Breakfast                                                                                 

9:30-12:00 Regular Classes (OT/NT Theology, OT/NT Exegesis; Hebrew, Greek)

12:00-13:30 Transcribing the Bible

13:30-16:00 Labor Work(Mon. Thurs) and Prayer(Tues. Wed. Fri.)

17:00-19:00 Dinner, Relax

19:00-21:30 Reading the Bible

22:00 - Sleep & Rest


(4th Semester)

3.5 months Mission Apprenticeship in 3rd World Countries


                                      Total for MATS: 60 credit hours