Pastors Bruno and Désire from Cameroon give up much more. They each stretch their $100-150 monthly income to not only provide for their many children but also cover attendance at one of the nine Bible Institutes in the Charis Alliance. Attending the Bible Institute means they have less time to make a living and less time with their families—a level of sacrifice few of us can imagine, let alone imitate. Their work is paying off. When they graduated last month, Bruno received a special award honoring his potential as a key pastor and Désire received an award for having the highest GPA.
The need for trained pastors is great.
Before the Jason Carmean family arrived in Cameroon to start the Bible Institute in 2014, there were 40 Charis Alliance churches and 40 church plants in Cameroon, and between them, there were only four men who were trained as pastors. Most churches were led by men without the equivalent of a high school diploma, let alone any training in how to understand and apply the Bible.
Bruno arrived at the institute in Cameroon young, at just over 20 years old. In the African context, youth is not respected, so he sat in the back of the class and didn’t say much his first year. That all changed after the module on evangelism. He says that was the first time he truly understood the gospel and responded in faith. From that moment he was transformed—engaged in the classroom and impassioned to finish his degree and return to his village to share the good news with his tribe.
Another student, Roger, also changed overnight during his studies at the Bible Institute. In his case, it was the module on marriage that was life-transforming. His wife had recently left him, taking their eight children with her, and he was devastated. After learning what Scripture teaches about marriage, he and his wife were reconciled and he completely changed the way he related to her. Now they are eager to reach out together and help others transform their marriages as well.
Stories like these are typical of the Bible Institutes of the Charis Alliance.
There are nine Bible Institutes scattered across Africa—in C.A.R., Cameroon, and Chad. Young men arrive with the equivalent of an elementary-school education. They leave four years later with the competency to either plant or pastor a church among their own people and lead it well.
The network of Bible Institutes is always working to provide the best possible education. For the past eighteen months, Encompass Global Workers Jason Carmean, Kevin Stauffer, Frank Puhl, Bruce Triplehorn, and Florent Varak, along with leaders from African Union Churches and the various Bible Schools in Africa, have been revising and updating the curriculum used in the Bible schools in central Africa. By updating and unifying the content, the schools will be able to set clearer ministry goals for their graduates. The focus is on making the curriculum relevant to the challenges of today so that the church will reflect Christ in a culturally sensitive way while remaining true to the Bible.
Investing in these Bible Institutes may seem far removed from missional outreach, but it isn’t.
In fact, it is the heart of missions. Theologian and missiologist Ed Stetzer compares theological education to a steering wheel. We are driven forward by the passion of God’s people who are engaging faithfully and fruitfully in gospel work, but without educated pastors, the church cannot advance the work of the Kingdom. Training in how to correctly interpret and apply God’s Word is essential for keeping the church on track and moving forward.
Students at the Bible Institutes and the Seminary sacrifice a lot for their education, and we have the opportunity to bless these schools and help the students complete their training. The Timothy Project helps sustain the schools by covering some of the daily operational expenses which then allows the schools to lighten the fees for their students. And, many of the students would not be able to receive this much needed theological education without the Timothy Project’s help. So, your contribution will be making a significant impact.
The benefit of Bible Institute training extends far beyond each individual student.
When you give to the Timothy Project, you are joining the Biblical leadership movement of your brothers and sisters in Africa. Your contributions are an investment in future generations of Africans. Through the ministry of Bible Institute graduates, people in villages across Africa will be able to hear the gospel, understand it, and respond with joy.