Initial Question: Why is TEAM Mobile Seminary important?
Answer: 2 Timothy 2:2 is an application of the Great Commission. We have the responsibility to take what we have learned and pour that into the lives of others. Rather than seeing nationals plant churches as the final step in the indigenous process, the baton is passed completely when nationals adequately and efficiently train theologically their countrymen. (2 Timothy 2:2c) It is my personal observation that in many parts of Latin America, people are being brought to Christ, but those babes in Christ were not discipled to the level that they as faithful men (which includes being soundly trained) could train others to do what Paul trained Timothy to do, regarding learning, training, and reproducing. The baton of theologically-trained Christian leaders training the next generation needs to be placed firmly in Mexican and Latin American soil and into the hands of Mexican and Latin American Christian leaders.
Questions about pastors in the U.S.
Question: Why would you travel with a pastor in the U.S.?
- to encourage churches regarding global missions. It is my family’s desire to see churches in the U.S. engaged in global missionary opportunities. We received dozens of church mission teams to the ministry in Hermosillo, so we know many churches are active in giving and going. For those churches who are active in global missions, we wish to help the momentum in this unique way. We also wish to encourage churches to excel in opportunities to understand the need of the Gospel in different parts of the world. It is our experience that when a pastor’s vision and burden expands, that vision and burden is passed on to the congregation.
- to provide accountability. By meeting up with the pastor and traveling with him from the beginning of the trip to the field, as well as ministering with the pastor as we model teaching and offer assistance, accountability is provided on many levels: it provides assurances of maximum ministry potential to the U.S. pastor’s congregation, the receiving churches, and other concerned individuals.
Question: What will the U.S. pastor need to be prepared for his trip?
Answer: I will provide the pastor with a summary of anticipated expenses, travel documentation, insurance, cultural concerns, and a trip and on-field itinerary. Before going to Mexico as a missionary, I had the privilege of traveling and leading teams to the mission field; after arriving on the field, from 2001 until we began our furlough in 2018, I had the privilege of coordinating the field-arrival of dozens of mission groups. Additionally, I have worked with dozens of adjunct professors and pastors from the U.S., assisting them as they prepared to visit Mexico. Since the planning of our first TEAM Mobile Seminary in 2019, I have been able to coordinate trips with those who travel with me on these trips. These experiences have allowed me to get a good grasp of what logistics are necessary to address when visiting a Latin American country.
Question: How will the U.S. pastor prepare for the visit to the Latin American country?
Answer: I will work with the pastor to the level that he desires. This can be accomplished by an initial meeting in person, follow-up meetings, emails, online meetings, visits to his church to present the TEAM program and answer questions, attend the send-off service at his church, three-way communication or liason with the pastor, me and the national pastor, among other options.
Question: Can’t a U.S. pastor work without you to accomplish this task?
Answer: If the TEAM approach can be accomplished by a U.S. pastor and a missionary on the field, I would be encouraged; however, not every potential field will have a missionary who will be able to translate. Having worked from the field with visiting individuals and teams since 2001, I understand the investment of time and energy while a team is visiting, especially when the team does not have members who speak Spanish. Temporary disruption often is necessary when a new ministry opportunity arises, and my traveling with a pastor to visit the field will help reduce the amount of friendly disruption.
Question: Will you and the pastor be the only one traveling on these trips?
Answer: It is not necessary to limit the team to two people traveling to the field. An increased number of traveling team members can be ideal. Different members of the pastoral staff, or an additional teacher from the U.S., or an accompanying ministry or work team potentially can provide an additional benefit. Also, depending on the funding as well as timing of the trips, some or all my family or the pastor’s family would be able to travel on the team. Among other factors that often limit the number of team members is whether the host country can facilitate a larger number of team members.
Question: Does the pastor need to be the one who travels with you?
Answer: There may be other members of the pastoral staff or of the congregation who would provide a more appropriate scenario for the benefit of the U.S. church as well as the national churches or contact pastor. Additionally, there are times when I will not travel with a pastor or other teacher (for example, when I travel as the main teacher).
Questions about national pastors
Question: Why work with national pastors rather than missionaries on the field?
Answer: It is not an either/or scenario. The concept will work with pastors on the field who wish to incorporate a training institution into their ministry. However, there are many areas where there are national pastors who do not work with American missionaries presently.
Question: Will this program create dependency on the U.S. by the national pastors?
Answer: The program is designed to align the national pastors with resources that they can obtain and utilize based on their economical standard of living. Many of the online resources in Spanish are not from the U.S., so the cost of acquiring these tools are manageable. Many sample materials for assisting them to create an institute are based on Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary’s materials, which will be modified for the pastors and educators to use. The facilities and equipment necessary to maintain the training institution will be based on what the national churches can provide, rather than presenting them with an American model and leaving them with wondering how they will fund that model. The on-field and follow-up assistance corresponds to guidance, counsel, and modeling rather than (although not rigidly excluding) financial provision.
Question: Can’t national pastors do all this on their own?
Answer: I am encouraged by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Latin American pastors. Many pastors, however, are unaware of how to acquire and appropriate the resources. In my more than twenty years of ministering to Spanish-speaking people, I have acquired an arsenal of contacts and resources regarding theological and practical education, and the Lord’s allowing me to be on the application side of theological education in Mexico from 2001-2018 (from discipling new believers to setting up a doctoral program) provides me the opportunity to help these pastors connect to the resources that will help them the best. The baton must be placed firmly in their hands.
Questions about expenses
Question: What are the costs involved in this program?
- The primary cost involved are the tickets to the location that we will visit. Although my family anticipates the provision for our regular living expenses from supporting churches, our support level would not include tickets to the fields that we would visit. The U.S. pastor’s church would provide for the pastor’s passage, and if the church’s budget is unable to include my tickets as part of this mission endeavor, that will give me the opportunity to see how the Lord provides through other means.
- Meals and lodging in travel and on the field. The details of the actual costs will vary, based on the scenario. Few churches on the field will have the budget to provide all the expenses regarding meals and lodging. It is my experience that many missionaries and national believers sacrifice tremendously to host visitors. As part of the pre-field preparation, the needs will be assessed. Even when the believers pay for everything, it may be prudent to reimburse them (perhaps through a love offering if it is not accepted directly) if our visit would cause them financial hardship. The appropriateness to cover costs will be measured by the need to not communicate the idea that the Americans are saviors with unlimited resources, as well as the need to avoid robbing the nationals of being a blessing by giving.
- On-field transportation may involve renting a vehicle or paying for taxi service. The majority of citizens in Latin American countries rely on public transportation, and it must not be assumed that the national contact pastor will have a vehicle that will not be occupied already with transporting his family to school and other activities.
- Unique field scenarios may provide further investment. All known financial assessments will be considered during pre-field planning.
Questions about Dan, Opal, and our four kid missionaries
Question: Who are you?
Answer: For those who wish to know about my family and our background, please see the attached information sheet called “Who are you?” For information about my ministry experience, please see my attached curriculum VITA.
Question: Where did you live, and where do you live?
Answer: We previously lived in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, which had been our residence since the summer of 2001. In the summer of 2018, we began our second traditional furlough (apart from a ten-month sabbatical that we took in 2013 for me to write my dissertation) after nearly twenty years with MGMI, our mission agency. Since then, we have resided in Greenville, South Carolina, which provides stability to my family regarding residence and home education of our children, and is a scenario that is best suited (over all concerns considered) for the well-being of my family as I travel on these one-week TEAM trips. The above concerns, as well as the concerns involving working directly with and in the U.S. churches and traveling to and back from the fields with the pastor or team members from the churches create the scenario where our living in the U.S. is necessary for the TEAM program to be effective.
Question: So did you change ministries?
Answer: Although this ministry modified our ministry geographically, the nature of the ministry (preparing servant-leaders for the Hispanic harvest) is the same. Additionally, this ministry focus allows us to assist with the ministry expansion of Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary. Finally, this ministry focus is a continuation of my position as Coordinator or Extended Theological Education, a position under MGMI, our mission agency.
Question: How often will you travel on these TEAM trips?
Answer: The components of the trips involve pre-field-visit preparation as well as post-field follow-up. Each trip potentially provides more post-field online work with the national contacts. Apart from the pre-field and post-field work that will be done when I am not traveling, ministry and family concerns will determine frequency.
Question: Do you have any experience with the TEAM program and its concepts?
Answer: The concepts of the TEAM program are derived primarily from 2 Timothy 2:2 and the Great Commission. Of secondary importance, the concepts are developed from my preparation for my doctoral dissertation (“A Manual for Establishing an Online Master’s Program to Equip Mexicans to Teach in Bible Colleges and Institutes”), which involved my research for the dissertation as well as my years on the field training pastors. Additionally, the application of my research involved my ministry at Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary as well as my involvement in working with pastors in different countries through the Internet, providing them with guidance based on my ministry responsibilities with the college and local church ministries. Furthermore, I traveled to Lima, Peru on one occasion with Dr. David Shumate, to help assess the need and opportunities that a national pastor had regarding further training for pastors in his area. Also, Dr. Shumate and I traveled to Costa Rica in the summers of 2017 and 2019 (the last time, Dr. Shumate’s wife and my wife accompanied us and provided workshops for the ladies) to provide pastors with workshops and sample courses, as well as orient them regarding the online options that Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary offers. Up to this point, my travels have taken me to Peru, Canada, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, many parts of Mexico, and a vast portion of the United States.
Final Question: What can I do?
- We wish to enlist pastors to take advantage of the TEAM program opportunity. Are you interested?
- We want to share this ministry opportunity to encourage others to expand their horizons concerning applications of the Great Commission. Can we share with your church how the Lord is leading the Wokaty family?
- Ever since being accepted as missionaries with MGMI, we have been under 100% of our support. We were given the green light to head to the field, and we have been enjoying it ever since. Would you consider partnering with us, or increasing your level of partnership with us?
- We need prayer for wisdom, strength, grace and protection. Would you pray for us?