In 1997 a team of Christian educators from Africa, Europe and North America was formed to meet two challenges. The first was to respond to an urgent call for basic pastoral training coming from thousands of protestant evangelists and lay pastors throughout Africa. The second was to promote economic sustainability within the churches and communities they serve. The resulting training program called TLT (Timothy Leadership Training) focused on stewardship and community development. These continuing education seminars were attended by pastors from the four presbyteries of the Reformed Church of East Africa and from sixteen dioceses of the Anglican Church of Kenya.
Several years later these Kenyan seminars became re-organized as "Project Africa," a program of lay leadership training. The focus shifted from continuing education to the development of a curriculum for the training of evangelists and lay leaders who were leading congregations of their own. It then became a collaborative ministry of Calvin Theological Seminary, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, and Christian Reformed World Missions and was renamed Timothy Institute.
As time went on, the team of Christian educators field-tested the curriculum in ten English and French speaking African countries (Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia). Week-long workshops were held with pastors from the Anglican, Assembly of God, Baptist, Reformed, Independent churches and many other denominations.
Between the workshops these pastors engaged their lay leaders and other evangelists in the same training they had received. Training focused on pastoral care, Christian education, preaching, stewardship, the relationship between work and worship, violence in the family and sustainable development. After many revisions, a training manual on each of these 7 subjects was published.
The effectiveness of this training program is measured by changes in the life of the congregations. For example, the effectiveness of a stewardship program is measured by how church members change their use of all their resources, including the amount they give to the church. So too, the effectiveness of a pastoral visitation program is measured by its impact on church attendance, family reconciliation and tithing.
To date TLTI has accumulated training reports of astounding changes, some more moderate, and some noting great obstacles encountered in implementing change.
What is distinctive about this program?
Timothy Leadership Training (TLT) uses two educational methods integrated into each of the 7 training manuals.
- An inductive method of teaching.
During each lesson, participants read and reflect on Scripture together. Questions in the manuals help discover what this Bible teaching means and how to put it into practice.
TLT encourages Christians to search out God's will for their lives so they will grow in both obedience and maturity, like Berean Christians of Acts 17:11 who searched the Scriptures to be sure Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.
TLT trainers learn how to teach without doing most of the talking!
- Action Plans
Action planning teaches participants how to immediately put into practice what they learn during each lesson. Through their plans they develop a renewed sense of responsibility. They also learn to report to each other during the next lesson. They share their achievements and note the obstacles they face in their Christian service. Action planning teaches responsible and visionary Christian service!
Contact the TLT team to help you benefit from this training: email@example.com.
Those who put Timothy Leadership Training into practice saw significant progress in their churches and communities:
- Pastors salaries were paid on time
- Churches were built using only local funds from tithes and offerings
- Sunday school programs were strengthened
- Agriultural and economic development programs were developed benefiting villages and urban neighborhoods
- A new spirit of evangelism and outreach enabled many new churches to be planted, even in predominantly Muslim areas.