What Is CTN and Is it Worth $30 per Month? (05/08)

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(Promoting Missionary Involvement in Ministerial Training)

By Rod Boyd

You wouldn’t be the first LA/C missionary to ask!  CTN (Christian Training Network) is our umbrella for missionary involvement in education… primarily ministerial training.  And yes, each missionary gives $30 per month as part of his or her team contributions.  We noticed it on our monthly statement the first two or three months, wondered what it was, then forgot about.  But for me, the $30 serves as a monthly reminder of our commitment to ministerial training.

Lessons from History

Several months ago, Dick Nicholson shared with the ACLAME missionary family the article Why Is Ministerial Training Important in LAC?  One of his conclusions from studying the growth of the Assemblies of God in LA/C is that “teaching is fundamental to the growth of the Church everywhere!”  He then encouraged every missionary to get involved in teaching.

Dorothy Cederblom wrote an excellent article several years ago, Teaching Believers to Participate in the Eternal Plan of God.  She shares three fundamental principles that she had observed in the development of ministerial training:

  • All believers are called to be workers for God

  • Workers must have accessibility to studies

  • Each teacher has the responsibility of sharing his life and being a mentor to his students.

She concludes,

“Certainly God has blessed the work of the Assemblies of God in Latin America.  The Bible schools and other training programs have produced workers and godly leaders, and our growth has been phenomenal.”

It might be overstating things to say that ministerial training produced this phenomenal growth.  Still, we must recognize that effective ministerial training is required to sustain growth.

Evolution of Educational Ministries and Missionary Involvement

As advisor to the Bible schools for SEC (Servicio de Educación Cristiana) and director of the Resource and Advisory Center, we try to keep our finger on the pulse of ministerial training.  Every two years we meet with national directors and key missionaries.  In addition, in the last two years we’ve conducted Strategic National Dialogues (Diálogo Estratégico Nacional) with Bible school leaders and executives on a national level in four countries.  Next week we’ll be meeting with the leaders of Honduras.  Some changes and concerns that we have heard and observed are:

  • In many countries there is a lack of national coordination of Bible school ministry resulting in the lack of a unifying vision and plan
  • Our “central” Bible schools are losing attendance and are scrambling to survive while our extension Bible schools are flourishing
  • Some of our countries are struggling with the idea of allowing the laity to attend
  • The relationship between Bible schools and the local churches and pastors needs improvement
  • The Bible school thinks its job is done when a person graduates
  • Our Bible schools are competing with “diploma mills” and local church “schools of leadership”
  • Our Bible schools are feeling pressured to seek accreditation
  • Our libraries and the appreciation and integration of textbooks in general are weak
  • Very few Bible schools have missionaries as directors, but many missionaries are involved in Bible school, teaching mostly.



Less structure

More structure











Most of these changes and concerns result from the growth of the church and changes of society in general.  The role of the missionary is also changing, as it should.  Pioneer missionaries of previous generations are replaced by missionaries who are now serving in support roles.  The chart to the right contrasts the change of role.  This transition has not been easy and has not always been managed in the best way.  Just as parents struggle with the transitions from childhood (dependence) to adolescence (independence) to adulthood (interdependence?), so we struggle with not only “letting go,” but also with how we should relate to our “adult children.”  We need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to know how to stay connected to our Bible schools and stay involved in ministerial training.

Our Commitment to Ministerial Training

Could it be that today in Latin America and the Caribbean, where most of our national churches enjoy strong leadership, that our highest calling may be ministerial training?  Even if we’re not in charge, our national brethren still hold in high esteem the title missionary.  Let’s ride the “coattails” of the previous generations of pioneer missionaries by continuing to teach, to disciple and to mentor leaders and future leaders.  This investment will pay long term dividends!

Recent movements have threatened the traditional structures of ministerial education in many countries.  Those missionaries that are involved and connected in these structures are able to provide stability and needed protection.  Our example of servant leadership is more important now than ever.

Let’s Get Involved!

Not every missionary will direct a Bible school.  In fact, it would be impossible... we have too many Bible schools!  But we can all be involved, both formally and informally:

  • Be a teacher… volunteer to teach in your local Bible school; teach a seminar or workshop

  • Be a friend… build relationships with influential educational leaders

  • Be a learner… take an ISUM class; attend local and international events

  • Be an initiator… ask, “How can I help?”

  • Be a supporter… invest in important initiatives—local, national and international

  • Be an advocate… “watch out” for ministerial education

  • Be a writer… write an article and submit it to conozca.org or to aclame.net

Thank you, missionary, for your involvement in ministerial education and for your investment in those you serve.