On Sept. 29, Founders of LEGACY School of Discipleship Francois and Wendy Fineburg visited Samford University to share their testimony and discuss their ministry at the Greek Speaker event.
Francois and Wendy met while they both were working at a Franciscan monastery in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas. Originally from South Africa, Francois came to the U.S. in 1998 to work at the monastery and follow his dream of founding a school.
During the talk, Francois admitted that he didn’t understand how his work at the monastery would help him accomplish his goal.
“I knew that I knew that I knew that God had spoken to me and that I should go to the middle of nowhere in Arkansas and that I should go to a Franciscan monastery and weed their gardens for a year,” Francois said. “And that really troubled me. I was so ready to be used by God, but I had to seek first and steep myself in the reality of God.”
Meanwhile, Francois’s future-wife, Wendy, was following a pre-med track at Auburn University and had decided to take a gap year. While waiting on a potential placement at a medical clinic in South America, Wendy stayed at the Franciscan monastery at the same time as Francois.
“What I love so much about having met my husband in a Franciscan monastery is that you can imagine it was the last thing I expected to have happened to me when I pulled my car into the driveway in Northwest Arkansas,” Wendy said.
Together, the Fineburgs launched the LEGACY School of Discipleship in 2007, originally teaching out of a coffee shop. As the program grew to its current model of 20 students dedicating a full semester to discipleship instruction, more space was needed to accommodate the ministry.
The property that houses the current LEGACY campus was gifted to the Fineburgs in 2013 after a family invited them to visit Lake Martin. A man that they had met on only one prior occasion asked Francois to share more about the Legacy Discipleship School.
“This man was so impressed, and touched, and moved with Wendy and I’s simple vision that there and then he gave us this enormous property on Lake Martin with a brand new, furnished lake house,” Francois said. “Just right there on the spot. Here’s your property. Build a campus.”
Since 2013, the 40-acre campus has come to have two student dormitories, a staff house, and a lodge. While enrolled, students will engage in a variety of learning opportunities that span from attending more traditional classes taught by Francois, engaging in community groups and taking practical electives such as woodworking.
Co-dean of the LEGACY School of Discipleship Catherine Creighton described how the unique school setting influences the learning environment.
“The learning environment is one of a home. The environment of the class is a living room. There are no classroom desks here or projectors,” Creighton said. “It is simply a community of believers in pursuit of how to create a rhythm with Jesus in the mundane of life — cleaning dishes, in conflict with a friend, or taking notes in class.”
Although the curriculum at the LEGACY School of Discipleship is religiously-centered, the school accepts all types of students in their 20s, regardless of whether or not they majored in ministry.
“You do not have to be majoring or have majored in ministry to apply. We are looking for students who are deeply hungry for more of Jesus Christ. That is the only requirement,” Creighton said.
In many ways, LEGACY School of Discipleship is unconventional, but Creighton claims that this is exactly why LEGACY is such an impactful experience.
“LEGACY is not a traditional school. You don’t come to LEGACY to be a minister, or go into ministry. You don’t come to LEGACY to receive a degree. You come to LEGACY to unplug from the distractions and endless list of your day-to-day life obligations to exclusively focus on your relationship with Jesus Christ,” Creighton explained. “Our students finish their time at LEGACY and are ready to enjoy God in their everyday life, all the while, living out their God-purpose and God-influence through their careers and personal family lives.”
For more information about the LEGACY School of Discipleship, visit their website, legacyencounter.org.
Arts and Life Editor