Churches are growing rapidly in many countries in Asia. But who will lead them? And how can new believers grow as followers of Jesus? Church-based training is needed to disciple all believers and equip those growing into church leadership and local ministries.
Church-based training programs have many benefits: they are easily reproducible and relevant to local needs. Every church leader and member can join a local group, in their own church, facilitated by group leaders who use tried and tested course content. Students don’t need to travel to a seminary and they do not need academic level education
Increase is an association of church-based training organisations and many use TEE. The Life of Christ series of courses are used across Asia to equip leaders. This six-book series is an integrated programme for training Christian workers, based on the Matthew’s gospel and the book of Acts (view a sample lesson here).
The growing church in Nepal
The Nepali church is less than seventy years old, but it has been one of the fastest growing churches in the world, despite facing persecution.
Increase member ITEEN, the Institute for Theological Education by Extension in Nepal is the organization that provides TEE materials and courses in Nepal. ITEEN is playing an important role in the growth of the church. Using simple language their TEE courses are helping believers, even if they have minimal education, to grow in knowledge of God and be equipped for ministry.
Ram Bahadur is the living proof of this. As a young boy, he caught leprosy and had to leave home to get treatment. As he was being treated, he heard the gospel and received Christ in his life. Ram never went to school, he doesn’t have fingers, and he cannot speak proper Nepali, yet this man was chosen by God to plant churches. Ram says,
“I had a strong feeling that God was calling me to serve him as a pastor and a church planter. After several talks with my pastor I was anointed as a pastor in September 2008, together with other believers who were anointed as elders and deacons."
The only theological education Ram has is through ITEEN courses.
"I am very thankful to ITEEN because it has helped our church spiritually and practically. I have not attended any Bible schools and do not hold any academic degrees except for ITEEN. The courses have helped me to know the guidance of God and to commit myself to his calling and serve him."
Ram Bahadur planted seventeen churches in eight years between 2008 and 2016 in the remote hills of Nepal. He continues to see the need for TEE as a way to raise up leaders,
“We are praying for more leaders because our churches are growing so rapidly in number, and if we cannot give them good education based on the Bible, our members will not be strong enough to live a rightful Christian life.”
The growing church in Asia
Ram is just one example of a church leader equipped through TEE. Other leaders in different settings have experienced how the needs of their growing churches are met with TEE courses. Listen to their testimonies in the videos below.
A Russian-speaking church in South Korea is growing spiritually using TEE courses. TEE is a great tool for diaspora churches!
Pastor Kwak leads a church in urban Seoul. He saw first-hand how TEE makes it possible for every church member to make disciples for Jesus.
Pastor Zadok Jeevan in Malaysia speaks about what TEE has done for his own spiritual life and how it equipped him for his work as a church leader.