TEAM Mobile Seminary:
“Great Commission Church Planting through providing national pastors in Latin America with tools for them to train their faithful countrymen”(2 Timothy 2:2)
The Plan: Assist pastors in Spanish-speaking Latin America who wish to train their own people. The plan will help national pastors accomplish the training of their countrymen without the need of multiple resident full-time missionaries, and without limiting the training to nationals who travel to the U.S. to acquire their training.
Why? Pastors throughout Latin America understand the need to train men and women in their churches who have sensed the call to the ministry; however, many of these pastors do not know where to begin.
How? Through working with these national pastors as a TEAM to provide the steps to
- Train the trainers (or, equip the pastors to be teachers) by
- Equipping the coordinator (the key pastor who can work as facilitator for the group training) to
- Access the theological education available (through visiting pastors, teachers, missionaries; and the online courses, programs and tools) and
- Manage the resources to create a theological and ministerial institution directed to serve the local churches (by helping the pastors with sample curricula, scope and sequence, pedagogical aids and guidance).
Can you spell this out to me in two paragraphs?
I will travel to areas of Latin America where I have been contacted by pastors from “sister” ministries asking for assistance in theological training (for themselves, their young people, or both). The trips will last approximately one week. On the trips I will travel with a pastor or teacher in the U.S. who will provide a sample block course corresponding to his proficiency, and provide guidance and input from his ministry experience. I will serve as interpreter, trainer, assessor and facilitator of the TEAM program.
After assessing the needs of the ministry that we visit, I will offer options for the national pastors that correspond to the level of training they wish to obtain, with a plan that provides steps towards those goals regarding further theological training for themselves and for those in their churches who are called to full-time ministry. Upon returning to the U.S., I will continue to provide follow-up that the pastors desire, to facilitate the fulfillment of the direction they believe the Lord is leading them. At this point, if a follow-up visit is necessary, I will plan another visit with another interested pastor in the United States.
Context for the creation of TEAM Mobile Seminary
Since arriving on the field of Mexico in 2001, it had been our ministry philosophy as a family to train those who will in turn train others. When my wife Opal arrived on the field, apart from her teaching responsibilities at the college, she was asked to play the piano for one of the churches in town, as well as play for many events in the college and in different churches. As time progressed, many of Opal’s students became the pianists in the different churches in town that worked with Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary. One girl that Opal taught for several years began taking piano classes with Opal as a teenager. The girl became a young lady who entered the college, became a student teacher, graduated, and became the ladies’ dorm supervisor as well as the head of the music department.
My experience at the college was similar to Opal’s. In my second year at the college I became the financial administrator, and then was able to train a graduate of the college to take that role. After being at the college for five years, I created and developed the academic dean position. Six years after that I began to train a former student who eventually took over the academic dean position. The postgraduate department grew to where we separated the undergraduate programs from the graduate program. I then created and developed the seminary dean position while adding the Master’s degree in Teaching Bible program to the already-existing Master of Ministry program. I later added the Doctorate in Practical Theology/Doctor of Ministry program.
The Internet has paved the way for a unique application regarding 2 Timothy 2:2. We have uploaded over thirty of the recorded Master of Ministry courses as online courses for pastors throughout Latin America who can take advantage of these previously inaccessible materials. The Master’s degree in Teaching Bible was geared from its beginning to be a program that could be accessed online with the assistance of a local coordinator (as a group, or cohort).
The advancement of the programs at Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary, the completion of the 50th anniversary of the college, and the level of spiritual, academic, and theological maturity in the faculty who were former students of ours led us to discern the Lord’s leading regarding turning over our responsibilities, and following Him to take what we’ve learned and accomplished in God’s grace, applying them in a broader scale, so that we can be of help to others in Latin America for the expansion of the Lord’s kingdom.