To the right is a small garden god meant to protect the garden from evil spirits and encourage growth.
During 2000 we lived in Rabaul, PNG intending to work with the Christians in the region, offering Bible studies, classes, and working with local congregations. While there was good attendance at the classes, we discovered that the region is in need of church planting work, something which would require at least three or four couples and a commitment of many years.
While there we worked with some of the existing congregations on the main island and found that, while they don't want full-time missionaries at most of the congregations, the teachers and preachers are in need of additional training. They know the basics of the Gospel, but have never learned how to study the Scriptures to glean new information for themselves. They are interested in and willing to pay for classes and materials, but there are very few classes and study materials to be found.
We have decided after much prayer and discussion that, instead of living there, we can take teaching tours three or four times a year for about a month each. This way we will not be resented as full-time missionaries in an area, but we can still work towards what the people need. We will be working with the professors at the college to create several curricula for classes covering topics relevant and important for the situations in PNG. We are hoping to take with us 5 or 6 additional people who will work with us teaching lessons or working with people one on one, or ministering in some other way.
If you are interested in working with us on any of this, anything from sending study materials to travelling with us, please follow the "Get Involved" link to see what our needs are at present. Thank you for your prayers and involvment.
"Training Toward Maturity" (TTM) is an In-Service
teaching program designed to meet the
growing needs of Churches of Christ
in Papua new Guinea (PNG).
TTM is based on information gathered by a survey sent to every congregation in PNG.
We learned that biblical education available to Christians is limited and almost entirely in Melanesian Pidgin only.
The TTM intensive in-service program can encourage eager Christians in PNG to attain "to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13b).
Preachers and other church leaders are to grow in God's Word by learning excellent study habits and having biblical resources available to them. Maturity is to be seen in organizationally developed congregations reaching out with the gospel to the lost of PNG.
With TTM we can educate the church in the USA in Missions.
Christians recruited from congregations, colleges, and preaching schools are invited to gain one-on-one experience in teaching Papua New Guineans eager to learn.
TTM is an affordable venue for the church to preach the gospel in a world of over six billion people. It provides the church with a means to fulfill God's mandate to preach the gospel to the lost as faithful men will be able to teach others also (cf. 2. Tim. 2:2).Survey Results
Opportunities for education beyond fundamental training are virtually non-existent. "School of Life" provided good biblical teaching and equipped many Christians to return to their villages to convert, train, preach, and teach. Students who were not literate were given literacy training. "Melanesian Bible College" came out of the "School of Life" and continues to provide excellent biblical training. Beginning students have to demonstrate 6th grade proficiency in the Pidgin language. PNG's public school instruct in English after fourth grade. About half of the church leaders who responded to our survey have some competency in English.
Thirty-one out of 110 forms returned give us a reliable basis for planning the curriculum for TTM. The returned forms included educational data for 81 preachers / leaders. The survey indicated they felt needs and suggestions for the TTM program of congregations throughout PNG.
TTM is a structured mobile program that sets out to evaluate and train Christians in PNG. Brethren who have the desire to advance their biblical knowledge will be equipped to share what they have learned from God's Word with others also. TTM is in-service education at three to four sites in PNG. Intensive and advanced courses are taught four times a year per site. Courses are part of a curriculum designed to include topical and textual studies appropriate for church leaders who eagerly seek intensive training.
We plan for six hours per class session for a total of thirty hours for teacher / student contact. Each course will have ten hours of out of class assignments for honing practical skills. In addition, there will be twenty hours for homework assignments.
Each course will be sixty hours of education building on previous ones.
"Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity," (Hebrews 6:1a).Course Delivery
Fred Burrows, with an educational advisory team, will design and develop the courses in two separate tracks and in two languages. Both tracks will be for those who already have basic Bible understanding from attending MBC and would benefit from advanced studies. One track will be taught in Melanesian Pidgin. Fewer resources are available in Pidgin and thus restricts the scope of the lessons. One track will be taught in English. We will test for sufficient English proficiency.Planned Growth
In 2001 onsite course work will be offered in three locations. We anticipate that invitations and urgent request will come from other locations and TTM will need to expand into several more areas in PNG. Expansion is welcomed and we praise God for it.
"... we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ," (1 Thess. 3:2a).Additional Instructors
Instructors in the TTM program will become Partners to be paired with PNG TTM students. Those recruited will not only become partners in the program, but more importantly, partners with students in PNG. The TTM Partner will develop personal relationships with national Christians in the mission field and gain cross-cultural experience in missions.Why have TTM when a Bible School is operating in PNG?
The MBC has a limited capacity and accepts only ten students with their family to their excellent two and three year programs. TTM will take school to the student. This allows students to stay in their villages, continue to grow their own food and not disrupt their livelihood while getting their education. TTM offers courses that are advanced. The in-service education thus provided will keep preachers and teachers fresh, excited and constantly growing.