Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about Contenders Discipleship Initiative? See our frequently asked questions below. You are welcome to contact us and ask us any additional questions you may have.

What is the history of Contenders Discipleship Initiative?

The Contenders Discipleship Initiative is modeled after Contenders Bible School of Machias Community Church where for several decades a local church has trained and sent out many missionary pastors. The Contenders model follows the Biblical mandate to make disciples, to equip the saints and to send those who are called into the ministry. The name comes from Jude 3 where we are urged to “Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” and Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus gives us the Great Commission ‘to making disciples of all nations’.

Should the CDI courses be taken in order?

Yes, the CDI courses are specifically sequenced and built upon the previous courses. Start with Bibliology and How to study the Bible and continue through the order as listed:

  1. Bibliology and How to Study the Bible
  2. Christian Doctrine
  3. New Testament
  4. Old Testament
  5. Church History
  6. Evangelism, Teaching and Preaching

When are the CDI courses offered?

Churches using the CDI arrange the course schedule to fit their own local circumstance. Self-study students who are not a part of a classroom can start the program at any time and proceed at their own pace.

How long will it take to go through this training?

Completion of all six CDI courses can be done in two years following a college quarter system with three courses per year. 2-hour classroom sessions held twice a week during each 10-week quarter are typical.

Completion of the CDI in three years on a semester schedule of two courses per year typically means one 3-hour classroom session per week during each 15-week semester.

Some church based CDI programs are taking one course per year with only one session per week. Whatever works for you.
Those applying for a ministry position with Village Missions need a minimum amount of practical ministry training that needs to take place with a pastor/mentor regardless of how they complete the course work. See Mentoring for Ministry.

How much outside homework is required for each course?

The amount of homework required for each course varies however a general rule of thumb is 2 hours of outside work for each hour in a classroom setting.

What additional training is required of those applying to Village Missions?

For those applying to Village Missions there is practical ministry training that needs to take place with a pastor/mentor in addition to the CDI course work. See Mentoring for Ministry.

What is a pastor/mentor?

Mentoring has been the key to success in sending missionaries into Village Missions from Contenders Bible School at Machias Community Church. Students at Machias were challenged with the call to ministry and those who responded were further encouraged and given the opportunity to develop their ministry. Those who entered full-time ministry continued to receive the support and encouragement of their mentoring pastor. This ongoing mentoring relationship is the Biblical model followed by the CDI for those called to ministry.

How does mentoring work in relationship with the CDI program?

Those who are called to full-time ministry are given guided experience in every facet of the ministry. For those called to the ministry of Village Missions this involves participation in weddings, funerals, counseling, church governance, home and hospital visitation as well as preaching and teaching experience.

For those called to minister within their local church, mentoring for ministry should provide guided experience and help in whatever facet of the ministry the individual is being called to.

Is it necessary to have a Mentor?

To meet the qualifications for ministry with Village Missions a potential candidate must have successfully completed the course work of the CDI and the additional training that comes from having a mentor. Regardless of where one gets their training, having a mentor in ministry is both Biblical and essential.

If you are interested in ministry with Village Missions and unable to find a mentor, please contact us. We may be able to arrange a mentor or arrange an internship after completion of the courses.

See Mentoring for Ministry.

Who teaches CDI courses?

Video content for courses is provided by our online instructors for use by local instructors such as a pastor or Bible study teacher in a classroom setting or for individuals pursuing self-study outside of a classroom. Resources for leading a CDI course include guidebooks for both instructors and students. Individuals pursuing self-study using the CDI should download and use the instructor’s guidebook as it contains additional course information.

If I am called to full-time Christian ministry how will I find a mentor?

It is the individual’s responsibility to seek out a mentor with ministry experience. Typically, the pastor of your church would be someone to approach first. Your mentor should be willing to help you with the CDI mentoring program as outlined in See Mentoring for Ministry.

How are courses graded and will I receive a transcript of course completion?

The Contenders Discipleship Initiative uses a Narrative Evaluation approach rather than issuing grades during a student’s course of study. An online self-evaluation is filled out at the end of each course. If you are taking CDI courses in a classroom setting your local instructor will also fill out a student evaluation for you. These evaluations become a part of your student records. When all the courses are completed these records will comprise your Narrative Evaluation. The Narrative Evaluation ‘tells the story’ of your progress through the CDI and would be submitted instead of a simple transcript when applying to a ministry organization.

May I use my Bible when taking tests?

Yes, you may. All tests are “open book” tests. Contenders is all about using any resources you have including your Bible, your notes, your text books and any online resources.

Are CDI courses free?

Yes, the courses, provided by Village Missions, are tuition-free. Video sessions and student guidebooks are available for viewing online and as downloads for each course. The only cost would be for printing the guidebooks and purchasing any text books a course might require. Check the online syllabus for required books for each course. We do ask you to pray about donating to Village Missions to help support the ongoing costs of the CDI. We will be contacting you with information about the ministry of Village Missions and the CDI.

Do I need to register to take CDI courses?

Yes. This one time registration is necessary for all local instructors and CDI students, whether in a classroom setting or as self-study. You will create a user account with a password. All course work and evaluations will be recorded in your user account by our Learning Management System.

How do I enroll in a course?

Once you have created a login account and are logged in to the CDI website, you will simply click on the ‘TAKE THIS COURSE’ button on the course page to enroll in the course. For those in a classroom setting it is important to log into the website after each class session and check off the lesson segments as completed so that you get credit for them.

Where can I find the CDI being taught in a classroom setting?

Contact us to find out if there are any church-based classes using the CDI program near your location. You may also want to talk to your pastor about starting the CDI at your church. Others may be interested in taking the CDI courses with you in a pastor led classroom.

Who can attend the CDI courses?

The CDI program is available to anyone interested in pursuing a Bible education.

I don’t attend a Village Missions church, can I still take these courses? I’m not a Village Missions pastor, can I still use the CDI my church?

Yes and Yes! The CDI is freely available to all.

Is this an accredited academic program?

No. The purpose of Contenders Discipleship Initiative is to provide a tuition-free, college-level Bible education for those who cannot go to an accredited Bible College for whatever reason.

Some CDI students will be called into full-time ministry and acceptance of the CDI is up to each organization. Successful completion of the Contenders Discipleship Initiative Courses and Mentoring program satisfies the educational requirements of Village Missions for missionary applicants but does not guarantee acceptance.The Biblical component is a rigorous but compact curriculum delivered in six courses. The Mentoring component is provided by a pastor/mentor. Successful completion of the Contenders Discipleship Initiative program satisfies the educational requirements of Village Missions for missionary applicants. The Biblical component is a rigorous but compact curriculum delivered in six courses. The Mentoring component is provided by a pastor/mentor. Successful completion of the Contenders Discipleship Initiative program satisfies the educational requirements of Village Missions for missionary applicants.

Do I receive a Certificate after completing these courses?

No. The Contenders Discipleship Initiative does not issue academic certificates or degrees. Student records for completing these courses are the responsibility of both the student and their pastor/mentor. If application is made to Village Missions or to any other ministry both the student and the pastor/mentor will need to submit the student’s Narrative Evaluation in lieu of the traditional college transcript.

Upon completing the CDI including mentorship will I be equipped to go into other full-time ministries other than Village Missions?

Graduates from Machias Community Church (upon which the Contenders Discipleship Initiative is built) have gone into other ministries including foreign missions and youth ministry. The acceptance of the CDI as qualification for service is up to each organization. Acceptance by any other organization is not guaranteed by Village Missions or the Contenders Discipleship Initiative.

Does the CDI provide a complete Bible education?

No. Contenders Discipleship Initiative is basic equipping for ministry. It is the starting point and supplies a solid foundation to continue learning while in ministry. Those who have completed the CDI and have gone into full-time ministry know what they believe, why they believe it and are equipped to minister. But they also have learned that they don’t know everything and that there is much more to learn both academically and ‘on the job.’ Today we have many excellent online educational opportunities that are both free and fee based. CDI graduates are encouraged to take advantage of these to further their education and equipping.

How can I donate to CDI?

Village Missions is a non-profit organization that is totally dependent upon the generosity of those that believe in our ministry of building healthy country churches and reaching the surrounding community for Christ. If you would like to share financially in the support of Contenders Discipleship Initiative, please donate or contact us for more details.

How does the Contenders Discipleship Initiative produce video courses?

Village Missions funded a small team to record, edit and produce the courses that comprise the Biblical Education component of the Contenders Discipleship Initiative. This was a time-intensive process and eventually involved a large team of volunteers. The initial funding used to produce these videos came from an estate gift. The continued cost of providing the CDI is made possible by generous supporters. If you would like to be a part of keeping the CDI freely available to all, please donate or contact us for more details.

Who owns the copyright to videos and all materials published on the CDI website?

Unless otherwise stated, Village Missions holds the copyright for ALL content on

Do I need permission to use Contenders Discipleship Initiative videos for ministry purposes if I am not affiliated with Village Missions?

Permission is given to use Contenders Discipleship Initiative materials for non-commercial use ONLY. Profit-making entities cannot charge a fee for access to any of the material found on the website. Additionally, works derived from the CDI materials may NOT be used for profit.

How does the Contenders Discipleship Initiative use the information collected from user registrations?

The primary purpose of user registrations is to administer the CDI and track student progress. Users are also given the option to allow Village Missions to use their experiences with the program in promotional material. Many of the student self-evaluations have contain remarkable gems of encouragement and where permission has been given, Village Missions has occasionally included them in publications. Additionally, Village Missions will periodically send out donor information and appeals to registered users.

Does the CDI accept credits from other Bible colleges?

No. The Contenders Discipleship Initiative is a unique program with a very robust, compact curriculum. Many courses contain several related subjects that are taught together and this relationship of subject matter is integral to the program. However other educational organizations can allow credit for the CDI at their discretion as long as there is no charge for these credits.

Does the CDI have a social media presence?

Yes. You can find the CDI on Facebook at