We need to be ready to train the men that God calls to be pastors and missionaries. This chapter will discuss ways that this can be accomplished.
There are several ways to approach pastoral training:
The first order of business is to secure a curriculum. Check with your mission board and college and see if they have one available. If you work with people who speak another language than English, you will have to translate the material before using it. I have found that teaching people in their native tongue is the most fruitful because it is easier for them to learn. You, the missionary, may have to work harder by translating the material or having it translated, but the finished product (preachers) will be better. The Bible curriculum that we used is available to anyone who can use it. There are no restrictions or cost involved in its use. Click here to download a free Bible Institute Course, covering the Old and New Testaments and Major Doctrines.
After we secured a 3 year Bible Institute curriculum and received permission to translate it and teach it in Thai, our first institute was begun. As each student graduated, they were given a copy of the curriculum. When they started their own church and had people surrender for the ministry, they were able to teach them on a daily or weekly basis at their church. This method has some advantages: no need to uproot a family and move to another city, no need to find a job in the new city, the Bible student can continue working in his local church and be a help to his pastor.
One student (a Burmese man) was placed in the position of pastor when his missionary had to return to the states. He was unable to abandon the work and go study at another church, so he began studying by correspondence. I would make tapes teaching the lesson and he would follow along, take the test and send it to me for grading. He later translated the course into Burmese and is now teaching those from his church who surrender for full time service.
We never tried the method of having one Bible Institute for all the churches, because we didnít feel it was best for our situation. However, many missionaries have used this method with great success. The key thing is, find what works best for your field and do that.
Our curriculum consisted of Old Testament, New Testament and Doctrine. I feel it is important to teach all three, so they get an overview of the Bible (through OT and NT) and they also get a firm basis for our doctrinal beliefs (through Doctrine).
Also, I feel it is important to take time to do a job well. Some groups try to run a student through their school in 9-12 months, so they get people out "in the work" more quickly. I believe the standard "college" method of 3-4 years is best, because an education is not simply "book learning", but practical as well. If the student finishes his studies in 2 or 3 years, then have him help in the church ministries for another year or so. We must remember that many of these people saved on the mission field did not grow up in church! Most of them donít have the same experiences that we had growing up in church. We should give them time to develop, see different soul winning and ministering situations, and learn how to be a good minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Using this type of training, the pastor training him will know when he is ready to start another work. Sometime during his training he could start an outreach to an area using PLANTING OF SEED method (see chapter 6). He would then correspond with those from that area who were writing in for the free Bible Correspondence Course. By the time he was ready to pastor a work, under the watchful eye of his training pastor or missionary, he would have a group of people that already wanted him and loved him for teaching them the Bible.