The advances constitute a central learning experience in the program in which students are exposed to leaders, scholars from churches, businesses, and nonprofits, doing work that ignites their imaginations, pushs the boundaries of their thinking, and resources them to better lead in their own contexts.
Through a combination of academic seminars and field trips, students interact in-person with scholars and leaders from local churches, businesses, and faith-based nonprofit organizations engaged in significant ministry, humanitarian, community development, social justice, missional, and church planting efforts. Students also meet with their advisors and research course instructors to discuss the progress in their customized research. Finally, students and advisors present their research to the entire learning community.
Students participate in three advances during the coursework phase of the program:
- Orientation Advance (beginning of the first year of the program)
- Second Advance (beginning of the second year)
- Final Advance (beginning of the third year)
Collaborating with local institutions, George Fox Seminary hosts the advances in a variety of dynamic global venues. Past venues include:
- 2014: Cape Town, South Africa
- 2013: London, UK, in collaboration with London Institute of Contemporary Christianity and Evangelical Alliance (UK).
- 2012: Seoul, South Korea in collaboration with Presbyterian College & Seminary, Seoul, South Korea.
- 2011: Nairobi, Kenya, Addis Ababa and Mek'ele, Ethiopia, in collaboration with Africa International University, Nairobi, Children's HopeChest, Addis Ababa, and Saint Frumentius Abba Selama Kessata Birhan theological college, Mek'ele, Ethiopia.
- 2010: Oxford and London, UK, Erlangen, Germany, in collaboration with London School of Theology (LST), Ripon College, Oxford, UK, ELIA Church, Erlangen, Germany.
Future locations, tentatively scheduled:
- 2015: Hong Kong
- 2016: Aukland, New Zealand (tentative)
- 2017: Cape Town, South Africa (tentative)
All active cohorts and advisors participate in the advance. Alumni and spouses are always welcome 'at cost'.
Advances last six days and run from mid-week to mid-week. The newest cohort arrives at the host location two days early for program orientation.
Food and lodging are provided with incidentals excepted. Wireless internet connectivity is available when possible. Students, are responsible for all air travel and local transport (car rental, taxi, etc), VISAs, vaccinations, and expenses associated with guests.