In collaboration with Sacred Roots

Equipping leaders to thrive in ministry

Our Mission

The Sacred Roots Thriving in Ministry Project exists to equip and empower urban, rural, and incarcerated congregational leaders in under-resourced ministry contexts.

What to expect

Practices of the Ancient Church will challenge students to consider the practices, apologetics, theology, and conciliar nature of the church in her first two centuries. The course focuses on ancient writings that solidified apostolic traditions contained in the New Testament and combatted the emerging threats of the many forms of Gnosticism as well as other heresies. Students will see the emergence of a conciliar theology that was held everywhere, by everyone, for all time, especially manifesting in the doctrine of Christ. Additionally, students will identify a historical thread that ties Christianity of the 21st century back to the Christianity of the late 1st to 2nd centuries.

By the time you complete this learning experience, you will have:

  • Critically examined the ancient Christian texts written from the late 1st to 2nd centuries

  • Developed the intellectual habits and virtues of doing theology in community with the early church as an interlocutor

  • Compared and contrasted the prevailing cultural issues of the late 1st to 2nd centuries with the 21st century

  • Deepened an understanding of the rootedness of Christianity and of the Christian’s heritage in 2000 years of history

  • Appreciated the conciliar expression of the church that unified the bride of Christ around His vision and mission

What's inside the course:

  1. 1
    • Welcome to this Ephesiology Master Class

    • How to use this course player

    • Course Description and Objectives

    • Before we begin...

    • Thrive, Don't Just Survive - Rev. Dr. Hank Voss

    • Spiritual Classics and Mission - Rev. Bob Engel

    • Learn more about our degree programs

    • Introducing the mxAcademy

  2. 2
    • Soul Work and Soul Care

    • Cohort Resources

    • Six Steps to Becoming a Sacred Roots Cohort Leader

    • Become a Cohort Leader

  3. 3
    • Instructions

    • Learning Tasks - for grad students

    • Rubric for Asynchronous Discussion Participation

    • Course Bibliography

    • Resources for Academic Research

    • Writing & Style Guides

    • Synthetic Studies - Template

    • Introductory Questions - Template

  4. 4
    • Setting the Framework for the Study of Movements in History

    • Dating the Apostolic Fathers

    • Map of the Writings of the Apostolic Fathers

    • Movement Identity and the Apostolic Fathers

    • Major Issues in the Ancient Church

    • The Early Church and Counterfeiting Jesus

    • Theological Education in the Second Century

    • 10 Characteristics of Leadership in the Apostolic Fathers

    • The Use of ποιμην in Early Christian History

    • Lives of the Twelve Caesars

    • Fragmentation of Christianity

  5. 5
    • What to expect in this session

    • Get Your Copy of the Book

    • Themes in the Writings of the Apostolic Fathers

    • An Introduction to an Early Christian Letter

    • From Rome to Corinth

    • Discussion of 1 Clement

    • Ignatius of Antioch

    • To Ephesus

    • Discussion of Ignatius' letter to Ephesus

    • To Magnesia

    • Discussion of Ignatius' letter to Magnesia

    • To Tralles

    • Discussion of Ignatius' letter to Tralles

    • To Philadelphia

    • Discussion of Ignatius' letter to Philadelphia

    • To Rome

    • Discussion of Ignatius' letter to Rome

    • To Smyrna

    • Discussion of Ignatius' letter to Smyrna

    • To Polycarp

    • Discussion of Ignatius' letter to Polycarp

    • Polycarp of Smyrna

    • To Philippi

    • Discussion of Polycarp's letter to Philippi

  6. 6
    • What to expect in this session

    • Didache

    • Didache

    • Discussion of Didache

    • Epistle of Barnabas

    • Barnabas

    • Discussion of Barnabas

    • Letter to Diognetus

    • To Diognetus

    • Discussion of Diognetus

  7. 7
    • Before you go...

    • Want to go further? Here's what's next.

  8. 8
    • Reading, Reflections, and Class Lessons

    • Introductory Questions

    • Participation

    • Book Review

    • Research Project

    • Synthetic Studies

The benefits of this course include:

  • More than twelve hours of on-demand video

  • Articles and blogs written by your instructor

  • Accessible 24/7 from your phone, tablet, or computer

  • A roadmap to help you navigate your way through the early church writings

  • Personal reflection questions to help you digest and apply the content

  • Discussion forums to do theology in a community with others taking the class

Welcome to the Practices of the Ancient Church

an introduction to the class

Meet your instructor

Professor of Missiological Theology

Michael T. Cooper

Dr. Cooper earned a PhD in Intercultural Studies with a focus on religious movements and a minor in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He currently serves as a missiologist for a missions agency where he focuses on missiological research and equipping missionaries for effective cultural engagement. He has thirty years of missions experience, including ten years as a pioneer church planter in Romania after the fall of communism and has equipped church planters and leaders in Africa, Europe, North America, South America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. He is a guest faculty at Torch Trinity Graduate University, adjunct faculty at Mission India Theological Seminary, Asia Graduate School of Theology Nepal, and Ebenezer Bible College in Katmandu, and affiliate faculty at Kairos University. He has written and contributed to more than 30 books and academic articles and has presented conference lectures at the London School of Economics, University of Bordeaux, Loyola University, Baylor University, and many others. His recent book, Ephesiology: A Study of the Ephesian Movement is a best seller at William Carey Publishing.