Thursday, 21 December 2017 23:21

Preparing Pioneers and Foundation-Layers

Preparing Pioneers and Foundation-Layers

Chad, Africa has over 140 distinct ethnolinguistic people groups, and several hundred thousand immigrants and refugees from other countries. Eighty-percent of the population live below the poverty line, and the country’s majority religion is Islam. Nowhere is cross-cultural ministry training more needed than in Chad.

Bruce Triplehorn has served with Encompass World Partners in Brazil for 23 years, a world away from Chad. Then, in 2013, he made a trip to the newly opened School of Missiology in Chad to teach one of the sessions for the first cohort of students in a three-week module on worship and discipleship. His experience there changed the course of his ministry.

Bruce was inspired by the risks and sacrifice the students were making for the sake of the gospel and their learning. Their dedication to the program and missions was deeply encouraging. He saw the immense need for well-trained leaders in Chad who would reach surrounding people groups, and he began to wonder if doing more than a three-week module were possible.

Bruce discussed his interest with School of Missiology Director Larry DeArmey and Encompass Executive Director Dave Guiles, and eventually was invited to become the school’s next director. Bruce and his wife Lisa moved to Chad in 2015 to help lead the second cohort of students.

The School of Missiology operates on a four-year modular-based program.

One cohort of students has already completed the program and a second cohort is almost half-way through their training. A third cohort will begin after the second graduates in 2020. Hopefully, Bruce will start passing his responsibilities to an African director when the third cohort begins.

The goal of the school is to train leaders in missiology at a seminary level in order to prepare and develop mission-minded leaders to reach the diverse peoples of Chad and the surrounding countries with the gospel of Jesus. The School of Missiology distinguishes itself from the surrounding Bible Institutes and evangelism schools by focusing its attention on missiological topics and cross-cultural training.

“When building a structure, there are foundation-layers and builders who build on that foundation,” Bruce says. “The Seminary and Bible Institutes develop the builders who will lead and equip the established churches. The School of Missiology develops the foundation-layers who pioneer into various cultures and engage different people groups. They are the ones who go where there is no foundation.”

The School of Missiology has already had an impact in Central Africa.

Graduates of the first cohort have assumed various leadership roles and developed several bands of evangelists through their ministry. The School of Missiology has blessed many of these local evangelists by conducting regional trainings on cross-cultural ministry and discipleship.

Bruce loves seeing God use the diversity of the second cohort, in which eight people groups and four countries are represented. The diversity of the group embodies the vision and goals of the school. Thankfully, the strong community that has been developed benefits the cohort's learning and the fellowship they enjoy is a true testament to the power of the gospel. 

Bruce loves his role as the director of the school, but he is even more passionate about its future without him. If its growth continues, the School of Missiology could have a completely African board, director, and French-speaking faculty. God willing, the school will enjoy a long-lasting and fruitful legacy rooted in the unique soil of Chad.

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