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Skip Navigation Links : Ministerial Training : Shaping Effective National Training Programs

Shaping Effective National Training Programs
By Rod and Sherry Boyd

2016 Educators Summit - Santa Cruz, Bolivia

2016 International Educators Summit - Santa Cruz, Bolivia
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In a span of three weeks, we had the privilege of participating in two influential training events. August 22-25 we conducted the 2016 International Educators Summit in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We organize two of these every two years. One is conducted in a Central American country that is directed to Central America, Caribbean Spanish-speaking countries, Mexico and Hispanic educators in the United States. The other is conducted in South America. September 9-10 we were invited to conduct PROCEPA workshops at the 2016 National Christian Education Congress in Quito, Ecuador.

2016 International Educators Summit - Santa Cruz, BoliviaWe are grateful to the Lord for these opportunities to shape effective national training programs that altogether represent more than 1,000 Bible schools, extension and ministry training centers, with 6,000 volunteer pastors and leaders who are teaching 43,000 ministers in training. This brief article will provide a report of each of these two events, how they contribute to the development of effective training programs in the countries served and three important principles that we’ve discovered in our years of involvement in raising up Christian leaders in Panama and throughout the Spanish-speaking Latin America / Caribbean region.

2016 International Educators Summit
Aug. 22-25, Santa Cruz, Bolivia

2016 International Educators Summit - Santa Cruz, BoliviaThere were a total of 375 leaders and educators who attend from 15 countries. More than 40 of these were involved in the teaching program that included ten general sessions and 35 workshops offered. As with the Educators Summit conducted in Panama in April, our theme was A People of the Spirit. Each of the ten general sessions contributed to this unified message with three sub-points: a UNIQUE people of the Spirit, UNITED and ANOINTED by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit faithfully visited us in the different sessions and services, with a very special move during the final morning.

Each Educators Summit involves several months of intensive planning and preparation that starts more than a year in advance with naming a local committee to coordinate logistics related to local transportation, housing, food, hotel, printing, materials and local promotion and registration. The local committee did a fabulous job that resulted in having 229 attend from Bolivia.

2016 International Educators Summit - Santa Cruz, BoliviaWe try to maintain an atmosphere of both inspiration and celebration in the Summits. There is an equal emphasis on training, where those that attend have the opportunity to begin or continue their PROCEPA teacher certification. Our desire is that each one who attends return to their ministry motivated and equipped. In addition, we strongly believe that the six National Superintendents, five National Christian Education Directors, several international educational leaders and scores of local Bible school directors and teachers will influence many, many more!

Our most strategic meeting was with members of the Bolivian National Christian Education Committee after the final service. Our leadership team listened to them share the needs of the local program and their belief that the Educators Summit was going to help them implement important reforms to make their program more effective. We are in the process of scheduling a return to Bolivia for the first quarter of 2017 to continue their PROCEPA teacher certification and conduct a National Strategic Dialogue and help them to implement the auto evaluation step, the initial step to earn accreditation for their Bible schools.

2016 National Christian Education Congress
Sept. 9-10, Quito, Ecuador

2016 PROCEPA Congress - Quito, EcuadorA total of 60 Bible School Directors and Professors attended the 2016 Congress. Sherry and I were invited to teach two PROCEPA workshops and prepare the certificates for those beginning their program. There was also strong interest to enroll in the Assemblies of God Theological Association with 31 of those in attendance become members. The PROCEPA training accompanies their formal academic training that qualifies them as professors. The theological association membership helps them know how qualified they are and serves as an excellent motivation for them to continue their education.

I (Rod) happened to be celebrating a birthday during the Congress, so Eugenio Diaz, the National Christian Education Director, took Sherry and me out for dinner to celebrate. Once again, this informal meeting with the Ecuador national director turned out to be our most strategic, one that included conversation about the next steps that the Ecuador can take to improve their program.

Three important lessons we’ve learned...

These two events that included two strategic meetings with national leaders, we were reminded of three underlying principles that seem to always be present in strong training programs:

1. Strategic link between training and credentialing. National churches with strong training programs are those that strategically chose to assume responsibility for training ministers in their country to serve as pastors, evangelists and missionaries and require that training for ministerial credentials. For example, there are four levels of ministerial credentials in Panama: Local Worker, Christian Worker, Licensed and Ordained. The first credential is provisional that requires a stated intent to begin Bible school studies. The second requires some Bible school. The third traditionally has required two years. And in order to be ordained, the candidate must be a diploma graduate with 96 credits. Without this strategic link, it’s nearly impossible to sustain an effective program.

Directory Board - Christian Education Services2. Strong national vision and leadership. Strong national vision and leadership is required in order to standardize curriculum and establish and coordinate other criteria. Without this critical component, each director and school will do what’s right in its own eye, often following paths of lesser resistance and popular societal trends. It was in a special South American version of our International Dialogue, conducted in 2008 in Santiago, Chile that superintendents and national directors identified this as one of the top three needs for their countries.

3. Sustained commitment to quality. Strong national training programs nearly always are committed to quality. The first International Educational Leaders Dialogue was held in Panama in 2001. Of the four priorities identified by the 20 leaders from 10 countries, two of them related to the need for sustaining quality in program: The need for an international system of educational standards and for both internal and external accreditation for achieving those standards. The Assemblies of God Theological Association was formed in 2003. It took some time to organize and activate it, but with the impulse of the PROCEPA teacher certification program in 2008, we now have more than 5,000 teachers who have begun the program, with nearly 1,000 having completed the basic certification level. We are just now implementing the auto evaluation stage for countries that will eventually lead to the accreditation of their Bible Schools.

We say thank you to the Lord and to each of our supporters for allowing us the immense privilege of influencing a whole continent towards effective ministerial training. Your generosity has allowed us to minister unhindered. Together we are multiplying ministry by training thousands of harvest workers.