Advance Magazine

Theological Education in 2021

Creative Access Nation

Although two CAN missionaries prayed God would send 30 students to their seminary, in the first seven years, class sizes never reached more than 24. Then the pandemic hit. How could this seminary (the smallest in its region) survive when its module classes were taught by visiting professors from other countries? The missionaries prayed on.

They expanded enrollment by using online classes. This year 385 students are studying with the seminary that, in one year’s time, has become the region’s largest. In February 2022, they plan to return to on-site classes while continuing online classes. The challenges are immense—new facilities, provision of technology and qualified faculty and staff—but they press forward in the spirit of Hudson Taylor, who said, “Depend on it. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”


In Cameroon, Bryan and Heather MacPhail-Fausey found that most seminary students graduate without reference textbooks and have only photocopied notes at their disposal. The problem is both cost and availability in students’ languages. A basic theology textbook can cost a month’s salary. As a stopgap measure, Bryan opened the “MacPhail-Fausey Theological Library and Coffee Shop,” essentially an invitation for students to visit their home and read Bryan’s theology books and online resources. But this solution was inadequate for graduates and established pastors.

In 2021, Bryan and Heather raised the money to establish Sola Scriptura, a printing and publishing ministry. They ordered quality print-on-demand equipment that enables them to print one or multiple books at affordable prices. A French publisher in Quebec offered them a license to their entire theological library. Sola Scriptura will not only create viable jobs, but it will also be an outlet for African authors to write material that speaks best to the heart of Africans.

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Publish4All print-on-demand equipment


Since 2015, Don and LeAnne Waite’s church in Kezmarok, Slovakia, has seen an influx of new people eager to grow spiritually and to serve the Lord. The church is one of only a very few independent, noncharismatic churches in Slovakia. With their people’s hunger to grow, the Waites considered a more formal way to train them.

Their idea got off the ground in 2021, with the formation of a Bible institute. A new church member, L’ubo, had been equally burdened for the institute. A former Catholic priest, L’ubo, understood the importance of biblical teaching in the growth of a healthy church. L’ubo and Don are team teaching this year. Initially, the institute will offer a one-year course in basic Bible knowledge and doctrine, and plans are in formation to expand to a three-year institute.

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L'ubo teaching Bible institute classes


It took six years of hard training, but it paid off as two men graduated this spring from BMM Japan’s Bible college. The graduates are members of Joe and Noney Mita’s church in Iwatsuki, Japan. The men have experienced significant growth spiritually and in their knowledge of the Bible. Both retirement age, the new grads have been serving the church like full-time staff.

The Bible college leaders prayed for at least three additional students for the next semester—God gave them nine. The college will conduct classes online, enabling students from as far away as Okinawa to participate.

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Joe Mita (second from left) with Bible college administrators and 2021 graduates

Latin America

Editorial Bautista Independiente (EBI) has been publishing Spanish biblical literature for 60 years. Always on the quest to strengthen the church in Spanish-speaking countries, EBI helped develop the International Summit of Theological Education. This virtual conference held May 17–18, linked administrators from more than 15 pastoral training institutions in 12 Spanish-speaking countries. Its goal was to promote dialogue among institutions, encourage cooperation, and provide training on issues relevant to theological education. Conference planners developed the website as a hub for continued discussion. Plans are already underway for future conferences and ministries.

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International Summit of Theological Education conference website

School of Church Planting 2021

In its best-attended event ever, BMM’s School of Church Planting (SCP) welcomed 45 attendees from eight mission agencies and two church fellowships to this four-day intensive training seminar held at a host church in Michigan. Participants gathered June 7–10 for 26 hours of classroom instruction on how to establish churches in the US and internationally. This year’s SCP took a strong cross-cultural approach with the addition of two on-field missionaries as guest lecturers. The School was founded in 1986 by BMM missionaries Roger McNamara and Ken Davis, who marked their final year of SCP teaching. SCP’s new leadership is eager to build upon the founders’ vision and incorporate additional missionary instructors as they equip church planters for biblical ministry in the 21st century.

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SCP was hosted by First Baptist Church of Sterling Heights, Michigan, and First Baptist Church of Troy, Michigan

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