Core discipleship curriculum

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New members join the Collaboratory every year. It is important that we continually orient incoming members to the Christian faith commitments of the Collaboratory and Messiah College. We accomplish this by cycling through a comprehensive discipleship curriculum every four years.

  • Some elements of the curriculum are included every semester because they are at the core of our identity. It is important that new members are acquainted with these soon after joining, and that continuing members hear them regularly. (Core Identity Themes)
  • The mission, vision, and core values of the Collaboratory, along with the attributes of an approved worker form the rotating curriculum. Because it is not possible to adequately teach all of these in one year, they are arranged in a four year cycle. (Rotating Themes)

If the curriculum recurred annually chapels would soon become repetitive for returning members. However, if certain themes are not highlighted frequently, a generation of members may pass through the Collaboratory without becoming acquainted with some of our most important themes.

By using a system with with annual and quadra-annual elements:

  1. All members will encounter new material each year
  2. All members encounter our core identity each year
  3. Everyone who is a member for all four years will experience the full discipleship curriculum


  • Each year has a theme
  • Each semester features three chapels that cover these topics:
    1. Sustainable excellence
    2. Authentic service
    3. Integrating Career and Faith
  • Each year features a discussion panel made up of Collaboratory alumni
  • Each year features a set of chapels that focus on a portion of Scripture; this is designed with the goal of increasing Biblical literacy in mind
  • As the schedule permits, recognized Christian leaders may be invited to speak on a topic of their choice

Yearly Theme Rotation
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Vision Attributes of an approved worker Mission Core values

Core identity themes

Sustainable excellence

Sustainable excellence is achieved when we are committed to, focused on, and passionate about succeeding in the work we do, and in the well-being of our members. It applies to people and to teams, and it begs the question, "What is the difference between how we as Christians define 'excellence' and how the world defines 'excellence'?" We live in an age of distraction, when people are pushed to participate in many things and to exaggerate accomplishments. The risk for many is that we will dabble in much, but fail to make a real difference in anything. Others excel in everything, but sacrifice shalom for over-achievement. Sustainable excellence listens to God's call and focuses, it goes deep, does not shy from sacrifice, but lives in the peace that Jesus promised his disciples.

Speaker topics may include:

  • Sustainable excellence and sabbath
  • Sustainable excellence and integrity
  • Sustainable excellence and (over)commitment
  • Sustainable excellence and sacrifice
  • Sustainable excellence and making a difference
  • Sustainable excellence and teams
  • Sustainable excellence and vocation

Authentic service

Authentic service is expressed by valuing and caring for people as image-bearers of God, and is at the heart of the Collaboratory's work. The ability to appreciate and love others begins with humility, never with the mere privilege of having something to give away. The one who would serve embraces study and reflection as bookends to action, and thereby over time gains deep understanding and respect. We learn before we do because we recognize that God is at work in every heart and need, long before us; we seek to join him. To act without learning how God is already at work, is to risk doing more harm than good. As a people aspiring to authentic service, we also reflect on our own deep need and serve in anticipation that through service we also will be served by the people and communities we set out to help. The authentic service chapels are one avenue employed to increase Collaboratory members' understanding about those we aspire to serve, and reflect on who we are and what God is teaching us through our actions.

Speaker topics may include:

  • Service and humility
  • Service and partnership
  • Service and teams
  • Service and being served
  • Service and community

Integrating faith and career

Integrating our faith with our career is an important motivation for the work of the Collaboratory. This integration manifests itself in many different forms. It is our desire to help members begin considering their path after graduation, be it work for a company, in government, missions and development, or even outside of industries explored here. Chapels on this topic offer creative insight into how Christians must steward what God has put into their hands through various career endeavors, and provide members with resources to learn more about what kind of career they are called to pursue.

Speaker topics may include:

  • Serving Christ in entrepreneurship
  • Serving Christ in industry
  • Serving Christ in government
  • Serving Christ in missions and development
  • Serving Christ in the Church
  • Serving Christ through excellence
  • Serving Christ through influence
  • Serving Christ through witness
  • Serving Christ through generosity
  • Serving Christ through service to others

Rotating chapel themes


Increasing hope and transforming lives through education, collaboration, innovation and service.

Speaker topics may include:

  • Hope
  • Transformation
  • Education
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Service (a core identity topic)
  • Sacrifice
  • Humility


  • To foster justice, empower the poor, promote peace, and care for the earth through applications of our academic and professional disciplines.
  • To increase the academic and professional abilities of participants, their vocational vision for lifelong servant-leadership, and their courage to act on convictions.

Speaker topics may include:

  • Fostering justice
  • Empowering the poor
  • Promoting peace
  • Caring for the earth
  • Professional excellence
  • Vocational vision
  • Servant-leadership
  • Courage to live out Christian faith

Core values

  • Sharing the Gospel of Jesus in life, deed and word so that others may come to know him.
  • Fostering lifelong commitment to Christian vocation and service through peer and advisor mentoring and discipleship to Christ.
  • Integrating work and Christian faith by making wise use of workplace gifts and abilities to serve disadvantaged people around the world and to care for creation.
  • Demonstrating God's love through imaginative problem solving that meets human need while valuing local culture.
  • Nurturing long-term partnerships with the organizations and communities we serve, to gain deep understanding and achieve sustainable results.

Speaker topics may include:

  • Sharing the gospel- in word
  • Sharing the gospel- in deed
  • Servant Leadership-Internal attitude
  • Servant Leadership-External expression
  • Life-long commitment to Christian vocation and service
  • Mentoring and discipleship
  • Faith and poverty
  • Faith and creation
  • Avoiding paternalism and dependency
  • Valuing/understanding culture
  • Mutual Transformation
  • Holy imagination
  • Demonstrating God’s love through creative applications of disciplines
  • Worthy dream

Collaboratory Bible Study (Scripture Focused Chapel Services)

Purpose: The primary purpose of the Bible study is to increase Biblical literacy

  • It is very important that speakers relate the passage to the work of the Collaboratory. In order to do this well, the speaker must be very familiar with the Collaboratory, so we strongly favor Collaboratory members and advisors to lead the Bible studies.
  • The Bible study should be comprised of 6 chapels

Collaboratory Panel Chapel

Purpose: The panel chapel should help members understand the value of being in the Collaboratory, answer questions about life after school, and assess the differences between working in industry and service organizations by allowing them to hear from other Collaboratory members who have gone ahead of them and have real, firsthand experience.

  • The panel's make up should be diverse
    • combination of people working in industry and people working in ministries
    • Engineers and non-engineers
    • Men and women
    • Recent and not recent graduates
  • Questions for the panel should be provided to them at least a week in advance so they have time to consider their answers before showing up for chapel
  • Questions should cover a wide variety of topics
  • Examples of previous questions

Note: Panel speakers should be invited to dinner before chapel

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