IBS Core Courses Required For Cru Staff

Foundational for your biblical and theological development are the eleven core courses offered through the Institute of Biblical Studies (IBS). These eleven courses are designed to equip you for a lifetime of ministry. The “first year” courses are completed during New Staff Training. (NST) The remaining eight courses can be completed in two summers (taking four classes each summer). To find specific offerings of IBS courses, see IBS  Venues

Core Course Descriptions

First Year (NST)

Intro to Christian Theology
Good theology is vital to the life and health of the church.  Theology helps us answer questions like, ‘What is God like?’ ‘How does God speak to us?’ ‘Why did God create the world?’  ‘What does it mean to be human?’ ‘What’s wrong in the world?’ ‘Who is Jesus Christ and what did he do for us?’ ‘What is the good news of the gospel?’  ‘Who is the Holy Spirit?’ ‘What is a church?’ ‘How will God’s story end?’  This course will introduce you to the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith (God, Bible, creation, fall, Christ, Holy Spirit, salvation, Christian growth, Church and future things) affirmed in the Cru Statement of Faith.  Not only will you gain a deeper understanding of these doctrines but you will also discover how these doctrines should practically shape our lives and ministries.

Bible Study Methods
Using the book of Ephesians as a guide, you will learn the skills necessary to open the Scriptures for yourself. You will do this working in small groups along with a coach, so you can get the practical help you need to handle the word accurately.

Intro to Mission
Our God is a missionary God.  From Genesis to Revelation, God is working to create a community of redeemed people from every tribe, tongue and nation for his glory.  This class will help you better understand God’s mission (missio Dei) and the vital role his church is called to play in advancing his kingdom.  We will explore cross-cultural mission from four perspectives.  First, we will look at what Scripture says about the mission of God (biblical/theological perspective).  Second, we will trace the global history of Christian mission from the first century to the twenty-first century (historical perspective).  Third, we will examine culture and how we can more effectively communicate the gospel cross-culturally (cultural perspective).  Finally, we will explore how Cru fits into the global story of missions and how we, as Cru missionaries, can participate in God’s mission to gather a redeemed people from every nation for his glory (strategic perspective).

*Note: In 2016, Intro to Mission officially replaced New Testament Survey as a required course. However, if you joined staff before 2016, your old requirement is still valid and you do not need to take Intro to Mission. If you have taken NT Survey previously, you are eligible to take ITM instead of one of the following courses: Global Church History or Apologetics.

Second Year

God/Bible/Holy Spirit
In his classic book The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer explains, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. . . .  For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God himself, and the portentous fact about any man is not what he may at a given time say or do but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.”  This course offers an opportunity to broaden and deepen your understanding of the God whom we love and worship. To this end, we will explore Christian teaching regarding the nature and attributes of God, the persons of the Trinity, the inspiration and authority of Scripture, and the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  You will better understand how one God has revealed himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  You will gain greater confidence in Scripture as the inspired, truthful, authoritative, sufficient and powerful Word of God.  You will discover how the Holy Spirit enables you to grow in conformity to the image of Christ and empowers God’s people to bear witness about Christ to the ends of the earth.  We will examine these doctrines as they are taught in Scripture and confessed by the church so that we may better live to the glory of the triune God.

Biblical Interpretation
Poetry. Letters. Stories. Laws. Prophecy. Faithfully interpreting God’s Word requires understanding the various literary forms through which God has revealed himself, applying sound hermeneutical principles, and connecting every passage to God’s redemptive message throughout the Scriptures. Building on the foundation of Bible Study Methods, this course will introduce you to an interpretive process that will enable you to understand God’s Word and encounter the living God more profoundly. You will have the opportunity to learn this process working in small groups with the aid of a mentor who will guide you to handle the treasures of God’s Word faithfully and meaningfully.

Biblical Communication
Communicating biblical truth requires a profound understanding of God’s Word and an ability to relate God’s Word to your audience so they may be transformed by the Author. Building upon the Biblical Interpretation class, experienced communicators will help you become a worshipping communicator and develop audience-sensitive skills that guarantee your message finds relevant, true-to-life application. Through lecture and workshops this course will equip you lead the emerging generations to conviction and repentance of their sin and to growing belief and adoration of Christ.

Old Testament Survey
This course will explore the message of Old Testament books and how their messages work together to form a revelation that points to Christ. At the end of this course, you will have a number of tools to help you apply the Old Testament to Christian living today.

Third Year

This course will equip you to respond to the basic objections to Christianity that are encountered in evangelism. Topics include postmodernism, the existence of God, religious pluralism, the fate of the unevangelized, the problem of evil, historical reliability of the Bible, the New Age movement, and the resurrection.

Humanity / Christ / Salvation
What is the gospel?  Few questions are more fundamental to our personal lives and organizational calling than this.  Although we spend a lot of time and energy strategizing how to introduce men and women to the gospel, we often spend little time reflecting on the gospel itself.  Furthermore, we often live as if the gospel is only for “lost” people and not also for those of us who have been “found.”  In this class we will explore historic Christian teaching regarding the doctrine of humanity, the person and work of Christ, and the doctrine of salvation.  Together these doctrines shape our understanding of the gospel.  We will explore the basis of salvation in the Father’s sovereign plan; the accomplishment of salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and the application of salvation to God’s children by the Holy Spirit.  We will examine these doctrines as they are taught in Scripture and confessed by the church so that we may better live to the glory of the triune God 

Christian Worldview and Ethics
Following Jesus in our contemporary context is complex. We face decisions and questions that require thoughtful reflection, Scriptural study, and concrete action in our personal, ecclesial, and public lives. As people involved with Cru, we also care about presenting the good news of the gospel as some of these same questions press in on our culture. Does Christian faith have anything meaningful to offer cultural questions about race, sexuality, politics, environmental concerns, human trafficking, economic justice, etc.?  This is a foundational course in Christian world view and ethics that is designed to help us follow Christ faithfully and develop as Christian ministers. In this course we will study different methods of ethical reasoning, authority of Scripture, moral formation, and moral norms; and we apply these principles to contemporary issues of economic, racial, and ecological justice; as well as sanctity of life, sexual faithfulness, and politics, with a special attention to global and pluralistic contexts of Christian ministry today.

Global Church History
This course will trace the global expansion of Christianity from its beginnings to the present era.  Attention will be paid to the theological, cultural, sociological, and missiological dimensions of the worldwide Christian movement as it developed and spread throughout history.  In addition to exploring European and American Christian history, the course will also investigate African, Asian, and Latin American varieties of Christianity, which are currently enjoying resurgence in the global south.