“Please pray for more workers in the mountain region, because the majority of churches there are led by pastors who have not had any academic, theological, or pedagogical training.”
This request from a pastor in Peru is a good example of some of the challenges faced by people worldwide. Some might be called to lead others but have no training in basic church leadership. In other contexts, people are disconnected from the church. They have questions about Christianity, but with no one to answer them, they leave their Bibles on their shelves. In other places, Christian teachers feel a lack of calling and haven’t been equipped to integrate their faith into their classrooms.
That’s why the programs of Raise Up Global Ministries—Global Coffee Break, Timothy Leadership Training (TLT), and Educational Care—use adult dialogue education (ADE) to train and equip people around the world. ADE is a relational way of learning that encourages participants to own and contextualize their learning. By learning and discussing things with others, participants in ADE begin to see God’s call, God’s world, and God’s Word in a new light. They can then implement their plans or Bible discoveries in real-life situations and see personal and community transformation.
Centered around dialogue, this type of learning builds on the relational way God has designed our brains. Julie, for example, felt lonely, so she accepted an invitation to a Coffee Break group. She dusted off her Bible and wondered how strange, distant stories would help her. But Coffee Break’s Discover Your Bible series encourages participants, no matter how familiar they are with the Bible, to engage relationally with each other and with the Bible. By joining Coffee Break, Julie found a new way to discover the Word for herself as it seeped into her life.
TLT came alongside the pastors in Peru to help them in their learning. TLT encourages church leaders from all educational backgrounds to engage with each other around specific topics and form practical action plans tailored to their communities. By listening to and learning from each other, the leaders in Peru were able to grow in their own abilities and better serve their local congregations in ways they couldn’t do on their own.
One couple from a church in Nepal explained TLT’s unique method this way: “We have been to seminary classes, but nothing has taught us the practical things we should do to minister to our people and grow our church like this Timothy class on caring for God’s people.”