Rangit Biswas was 21 years old in 1975, when he enrolled in his first certificate-level course at the College of Christian Theology Bangladesh (CCTB), a partner of Christian Reformed World Missions. Like other students, he brought his own bedding and slept on the classroom floor.
After he received his certificate, Biswas was able to help form a church council, lead a church, and participate in church ministries. “I want to give thanks to God,” he says of the training he received and how it helped him in church leadership.
Today Biswas is a supervising pastor of the Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha in the Barial region in south-central Bangladesh. He has completed every course offered by CCTB, and in 2006 he completed his master’s degree in Christian studies.
Biswas has gone from attending his first seminar to teaching seminars and leading groups of Theological Education by Extension (TEE) students throughout southern Bangladesh. TEE, he says, enables students to study in their local church environment and encourages church involvement. It also makes theological study more readily available to women.
Christian Reformed World Missions partners with CCTB, providing expertise to help train pastors and church leaders. Like traditional seminaries, CCTB offers residential bachelor’s and master’s degrees. But at the heart of CCTB is the certificate and diploma level TEE courses.
“CCTB does create new leaders,” says Biswas. “If we did not have the TEE program, we could not fill the gap of leadership.”
Using a unique method with three components—home study, weekly discussion groups, and practical application—Theological Education by Extension meets one of the greatest needs of the church in Bangladesh: the need for theologically trained leaders.
In three years Biswas’s TEE group has completed five courses. As facilitator, Biswas helps students discuss real-life ministry applications. He encourages students to apply what they are learning immediately to their work and ministry.
“If I listen, I can learn,” says Ganandra Das, a student at CCTB. By taking the B.Th. course, he has deepened his knowledge of the Bible. “I came from a rural church and without this opportunity I would not be able to study theology,” says Das.
Christian Reformed World Missions’ partnership with CCTB is one example of how missionaries are helping partners around the world with curriculum development and providing direct instruction of theological courses to seminaries around the world, multiplying efforts to transform lives and communities worldwide.
Easter to Pentecost Missions Highlight
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. . . .” (Romans 1:16)
Home Missions and World Missions have joined efforts to shine a spotlight on how God has used members of the Christian Reformed Church to bring the message of salvation to people in North America and around the world. From Easter to Pentecost, Home and World Missions will focus on a shared theme from Romans 1:16, “Reaching Your Community and the World with the Power of the Gospel.”
For a downloadable devotional and two ministry highlight videos, please visit www.crcna.org/powerofthegospel.