Students and Professors Lead the Way

August 29 2017

While we were at Tokyo Biblical Seminary (TBS), we sat across the table from a young man who beamed with the fullness of the Spirit. We, of course, were eager to learn his story. His name is Yoshikazu Kasahara, but we call him Yoshi san. Here is his story:

Yoshi san lived in an area of Japan devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. As he sat on the ruins of his house, a few Christians from one of the Japanese Holiness Churches (JHC) served him water, food, and encouragement. He was so surprised and impressed by their love and kindness that he inquired more about why they were doing these acts of service. This led to Yoshi san hearing the story of Jesus and God’s love for him for the first time. Out of the wreckage of his material world and emotional upheaval, he opened his heart and mind to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, and he experienced true peace and joy in the midst of his losses. Soon, he was overwhelmed by the desire to learn more about God and how to live for him, so he enrolled in Tokyo Biblical Seminary (OMS’ oldest partner school). During his years there, God called him into ministry.

One of Yoshi san’s professors and advisors at TBS, Homare Miyazaki sensei, reports that Yoshi san is now married and serves as a pastor of one of a JHC church in Saitama-prefecture.

Bikash is from a Hindu Brahmin family in South Asia. When Bikash became a believer in Jesus, his parents forced him to leave their home and disowned him. Despite this, Bikash continues steadfastly in his faith and prays regularly for his unbelieving family. God has blessed him with a wife and children. As a district superintendent for an OMS partner church, he sharpens his knowledge and skills as he attends South Asia Bible College.

Our schools would not function without dedicated faculty. Let me introduce you to a few of them. Please pray for the faculty at our OMS partner schools.

Frans and Sony serve at N* Bible Seminary in the South Pacific, a highly Muslim populated nation. Frans and Sony have been instrumental in fulfilling the mandate to train pastors and church planters to be God’s servants and Christian leaders. For more than 40 years, this seminary’s graduates have established 420 churches in partnership with N* Evangelical Churches and many more churches through partnership with other denominations and Christian organizations. With full accreditation as a Bible college from the government, NBS still holds firmly to its original vision and purpose.

These faithful faculty members serve at Faith Bible College in the Philippines: Rev. Anna Penny Datu, academic dean; Rev. Oliver Bhem, director of student life and chaplain; and Rev. Ermalee Hidalgo, president. All the administrators also teach. Despit being a small school, it provides important instruction for both day and evening students who will serve as pastors, church planters, Christian education directors, and youth leaders.

Please keep the faulty of all our partner schools in prayer as they frequently serve with modest remuneration and in simple settings, yet are preparing men and women to serve God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.

By Bill Vermillion, Theological Education team, Asia

* Abbreviated for security reasons.

Tags: theological education, training, seminary, bible school, students, student leaders, asia,

​Building for a Better Future in Mozambique

August 25 2017

Mozambique is not an easy country to do ministry.

Economically, it is depressed, being one of the poorest countries in Africa. Agriculturally, the soil is sandy and plants have a hard time growing. It greatly lacks the lushness often associated with Africa. Politically, it is becoming more stable, but with an active civil war throughout most of the 1990s and numerous political uprisings until the last few years, there is still a state of uncertainty and lack of trust in the government. Educationally, there are limited opportunities. And spiritually, it feels oppressed. Christianity is often associated with the oppressive Portuguese of the past and does not have a good reputation. Yet, in the midst of this, there is hope. Hope for change, hope for a better tomorrow.

OMS has been a part of building that hope. In the past two decades, we have developed a seminary (Maputo Theological Seminary) and a thriving international K-12 school Christian Academy of Mozambique). We are developing ministries that reach out to the physically challenged (Helping Hands), and women and children. And our seminary is growing stronger. The seminary has a commitment to building strong spiritual leaders for a country that needs leadership.

One of those leaders is Pastor Daniel.

Pastor Daniel is one of the early graduates of our seminary. He is a man who loves God and loves Africa. He has worked hard to contextualize the Gospel. Over the years, he has worked hard and become one of our seminary professors and the leader of the OMS church in Mozambique. During the month of August, my wife Jan and I worked alongside our brothers and sisters in the church in Mozambique.

One Sunday morning, we joined his church for service and felt God’s moving in so many ways. The music was lively and active. And throughout the service they celebrated community blessings. Two families had apparently been feuding, but had settled their differences. So, both families went forward, almost 20 people, to celebrate this reconciliation and publicly hugged one another.

A young couple got engaged in front of the congregation. The young man professed his love, went down on one knee, and placed a ring on the young woman’s finger. Then Pastor Daniel sat them down on the front row and began a one-hour sermon on how to have a strong Christian marriage. He was explicit and talked about sexual temptations and fidelity. Overall, we experienced God moving among a people who do their best to reflect God’s character in their society.

This is the type of man I am excited about partnering with—a man who is willing to build and prepare for the future of God’s kingdom in Mozambique.

Your donation today to theological education leadership development allows OMS to partner with men like Pastor Daniel to help him build the church in Mozambique. Would you consider donating to account #408126 so OMS can move forward more strongly in the areas of theological education? Click here to give.

By Rod Dormer, One Mission Society Theological Education Team, Africa

Tags: theological education, training leaders, future church leaders, mozambique, africa,

Former Hindu Emerges as Leader

August 22 2017

Arjun* was born into a Hindu family in the Indian state of Karnataka. During his childhood, Arjun's sister and parents came to faith in Jesus. The family began to attend the local church of the Evangelical Church of India, but Arjun could not understand his need for salvation in Christ. Then one night, while attending a revival service at the ECI church, the Holy Spirit spoke to him from Jeremiah 1:5, and Arjun realized that God had been calling him from his mother's womb into a personal relationship as a disciple of Jesus Christ. He confessed his sins and asked Jesus to take control of his life.

In 2010, Arjun enrolled as a student at the Karnataka Bible Seminary, one of the ten regional Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India that focus on raising up grassroots level church planters to launch and develop new churches that multiply. During his studies at KBS, the course in personal evangelism equipped him to share the Gospel effectively among his Hindu neighbors and family members. Upon graduation from the graduate of theology program of KBS, Arjun was appointed as a pastor to a small village church. He is now continuing his studies, pursuing the bachelor of theology degree at KBS.

I met Arjun in November of 2016 when I visited the school in Karnataka to facilitate training in Train & Multiply. T&M equips believers to find persons of peace, share the Good News, teach believers to follow the commands of Jesus, and multiply healthy, growing churches to the second and third generations and beyond. In a joint effort with OMS’ Every Community for Christ team and the Theological Education team, we are working with the Allahabad Bible Seminary and the regional Bible schools of ECI to incorporate T&M into their courses of study.

Arjun eagerly participated during the November training, and he reports that he was especially influenced by the 12 Principles of Church Multiplication. Today, he continues to learn the principles and practices of T&M at KBS, even as he applies that learning in his ministry as a pastor in a local village.

Arjun is only one example of the strategic role of the seminaries and Bible schools of ECI. Their impact goes far beyond the classroom into the cities, towns, and villages of India, often in partnership with the India Missionary Movement ministry of the Evangelical Church of India. These dedicated faculty and students are training thousands of pastors and laypersons while also engaging in creative and effective community outreach and evangelism. They do so with meager resources and most often in the face of fierce opposition and increasing persecution. Across India today, young leaders like Arjun are bringing transformation to individuals, families, and communities.

To learn more about the seminaries and Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India and how you can support them, contact OMS Theological Education or International Support Ministries or give here.

By Dick Freed, Director of OMS Learning & Development

*Name withheld for security.

Tags: india, former hindu, evangelical church of india, theological education, seminary, training, t&m,

Seminary Graduate Plants Churches in Russia

August 16 2017

Ivan Beshlyaga graduated from MECS (Moscow Evangelical Christina Seminary) with a bachelor of divinity degree in 2005. He then moved to Nizhny Novgorod to plant a church. A year later, he baptized Natasha, his first convert. Natasha grew quickly in the Lord and was soon leading the worship at the new church plant. A year later, Ivan sent Sasha, the rector of MECS, a wedding invitation. He was marrying Natasha! Since then, Ivan and Natasha have had three kids and planted three churches in the area. This past year, both Ivan and Natasha graduated from the seminary: Ivan with a master of theology degree and Natasha with a bachelor of counselling degree. Ivan and Natasha have now returned to church planting in Nizhny Novgorod.

Thank God with us for the ministry of MECS, and how he is using it to prepare students to reach the people of Russia.

Tags: seminary, moscow seminary, mecs, russia, church planting,

Training Leaders in Haiti

August 8 2017

Since its beginning, One Mission Society has been in the business of developing Christ-like leaders for the global church. One of the ways this has been accomplished is through the planting of theological training institutions for the development of local church leaders all over the globe. Through the years, many of the Bible colleges and seminaries started by OMS have become leaders in their respective global regions among Protestant Evangelical theological schools. The Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti is great example of one of those schools.

In 1967, OMS started the Emmaus Vocational Bible School (EVBS) in a small suburb of Cap-Haitian, Haiti. Through Radio 4VEH, an evangelism and discipleship ministry of OMS, churches were growing and the need for theologically trained pastors was growing with them!

The vision for EVBS was to develop both vocational and theological training for local pastors, church planters, and evangelists for the many small churches in northern Haiti. In 2000, after 33 years of equipping hundreds of local churches with theologically trained leaders, the school became Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti. The vision for the rebranding of the school was to offer undergraduate and graduate-level theological training for an ever-growing Haitian church.

Today, Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti is among the top 10 theological schools in the Caribbean and has one of the premier graduate programs among Caribbean theological schools. EBS has also partnered with Indiana Wesleyan University to deliver a masters in Theological Studies to Haitian students. The current enrollment at EBS is approximately 110 students with a mostly Haitian, fully credentialed faculty.

The following have been a direct result of the strategic partnership between EBS and OMS:

1. EBS has maintained its Wesleyan-holiness distinctive within its curriculum and training programs. Even today, EBS is one of only three theological schools in Haiti with a Wesleyan-holiness profile. Thanks to OMS, EBS believes that the best of the Gospel is the rest of the Gospel. This emphasis at EBS means the promotion of the transformation of moral character that is a necessary result of conversion (sanctification and discipleship development).

2. Because of EBS’s relationship with OMS, there is a continued emphasis on church planting throughout EBS training programs. In fact, approximately 40 percent of graduates go into some sort of church-planting ministry.

3. OMS has empowered the development of Christ-like leaders for the church in Haiti through providing highly credentialed faculty to teach intensive courses four times a year on the campus.

4. OMS has been a driving force in helping EBS raise funds for many development projects. In 2010, EBS relocated to a brand new, state-of-the-art campus five miles from its original location. Without OMS, this would not have been possible.

Without OMS, EBS would not exist today. Furthermore, EBS is one of dozens of schools with OMS’ fingerprints all over it. This is the business of the development of leaders for the global church. This is the business of Theological Education at OMS.

By Matt Ayars, rector and professor at EBS

To learn more about EBS and Haiti, watch this video:

Tags: seminary, theological education, haiti, emmaus biblical seminary, church planting,

​Ministering to the TE Disciples

August 3 2017

What do you need? How can the One Mission Society Theological Education (TE) team best support and assist you in your ministry? These were the key questions I asked the OMS national and missionary leaders from Across Europe early in 2016. Their answers: 1) training in discipleship and 2) opportunities for fellowship with OMS European colleagues.

Armed with that information, we planned a special conference in the fall of 2016. With a starting budget of “two fish and five loaves” and the assurance that God had given the vision, plans were put in motion to invite a team from the Inspire Movement to lead a seminar on discipleship in Manchester, UK in May 2017.

And God provided over and over.

From November through May, those attending took turns calling one another to prayer through weekly emails that went out in English, Spanish, and French. Conference attendees came from Russia, Israel, Spain, Estonia, Ukraine, France, Hungary, Sweden, Ireland, Wales, and the U.S.

From May 8-11, along with the team from the Inspire Movement, we learned, practiced, and experienced discipleship. We discussed how we could contextualize the concepts and practices in our unique ministry contexts, and we fellowshipped, worshiped, and prayed together.

Here are a few of the take aways:

I think that the greatest blessing to me was spending time with fellow coworkers in the region.
I was blessed by being part of a team.
Meeting up with my European colleagues for the first time was just wonderful.
I loved the prayer time on the last night where we prayed as a group for one another's prayer concerns.

During the conference, God helped me to see the answers to some questions about my further ministry to him.
The theme of the seminar was very important for me. I think that the principles of deep communication in threes are applicable in our ministry to pastors of Blagovest Association and to members of the churches.
For me personally, having the affirmation from Inspire to focus on discipleship was very affirming and encouraged me that we're heading in the right direction.
The necessity, practicality, and simplicity of joining together as disciples in the name of Jesus.
I need to be a disciple before I can hope to make any.

Sometimes, the members of the body longing to be equipped for ministry are those who are already serving in leadership. The OMS Theological Education team desires to serve and support both those who are in leadership, as well as those who are in the beginning stages of their ministry leadership journey. Resources are needed to bring or send qualified instructors and practitioners, to purchase transportation tickets, and to provide lodging so that Christian workers come away for a time of refreshment, renewal, and mutual care for one another. Reading the take aways, we give thanks to God for the opportunity to ministry to the expressed needs of these precious men and women serving Christ in Europe.

By Colleen Fitch, OMS Regional Consultant for Europe, Theological Education Department

To give to the Leadership Discipleship and Development ministry fund, click here.

Tags: discipleship, theological education team, leadership training,