Sunday, February 3, 2013

An open letter

An open letter to my brothers studying a DMin.

Dear Brothers,

I’m writing to you because I know that you think theological education is very important. You have demonstrated this in the sacrifices (both time and financial) you have made over many years. For many of you, you’ve served a 2 year apprenticeship, studied full time at Moore College for 4 years, have studied part time as an MA student, and are now making the long trek overseas to study your DMin while busily working in your church. I commend your commitment and effort to be well prepared for the ministries that God has prepared for you.

In this context, I’d like to share a challenge with you.

In many parts of the world, Christian leaders have nothing like the opportunities that you and I have to study and prepare themselves for ministry. For many, the opportunity to study theology is an economic and cultural impossibility, and yet they need to lead churches, teach their congregations and deal with the pastoral difficulties of life just like we do. In reality, they are lacking the most basic skills of reading the Bible and being able to share it with others. While there is absolutely no question about their faithfulness and their commitment to serving our Lord, many times their lack of discernment is causing problems for them and the congregations they lead. More and more we are seeing that as “schmick” packages are introduced to these hungry leaders, they are falling victim to false doctrines, such as the prosperity gospel, with disastrous results.

While we need to take a multi-pronged approach to helping equip these pastors and leaders, theological education is a key prong.

As people who have benefited so greatly from the great wealth of theological resources, I would like to challenge and invite you to be involved in the provision of basic theological education for those who have far less opportunities than us. Specifically, I want to challenge you to be significantly involved in paying for those who cannot pay for themselves.

There are many opportunities for doing this. I am sure you know of seminaries overseas that are struggling to offer the scholarships that their students need to study, and in many cases, the value that we get for our money is incredible. In Cuba, $50 provides transport, tutoring, food and lodging for one student to complete 2 ThC subjects as part of a 1 week MOCLAM (Moore College in Latinoamérica) intensive. In 2012 over 1,000 Cubans participated in this program – some of them studying up to 8 subjects in one year! In Paraguay young church planters and leaders can be taught a ThC subject in one week for less than the cost of a meal at LAX. In Chile the Centre for Pastoral Studies (CEP) tries to help students coming from the remote parts of Chile and from other Latin American countries, and then sends them back to minister in all sorts of situations.

Here is my challenge to you.

I know that studying a DMin is an expensive business. Would you please consider matching every dollar that you or your church spends on your DMin studies, with a gift to the scholarship fund of a developing world theological institution?

Please take the time to consider this challenge seriously and prayerfully.

Of course, I would be happy to give any further information, engage with you about this, or provide some direction as to where and how you might be able to direct your money.

Your brother

Peter Sholl
Monterrey, Mexico.

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