Training Leaders International officially started in February of 2009 after months of dialogue with many of the people who now serve on the board.
Where are you located?
Our office is located at 10 S. 5th St. in Suite 990 in Minneapolis. Feel free to come and visit. Our office is typically open Tues-Thurs.
Are you a non-profit organization filed with the IRS with 501(c)3 status?
Yes, we are a non-profit with 501(c)3 status.
What is the relationship between Training Leaders International and Bethlehem Baptist Church?
Training Leaders International was born out of the vision of Bethlehem Baptist Church to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all people. In 2013 TLI broke away legally from under the control of Bethlehem, though remains close relationally. The President and many staff members are supported global partners and members of the church.
What is the relationship between Training Leaders International and The Gospel Coalition?
Training Leaders International uses The Gospel Coalition’s statement of faith as the minimum requirement for our students and mentors. We believe this statement best captures the heart of Reformed theology while remaining silent on important issues that we deem to not be central.
Short-Term Trip Questions
Who should apply?
We encourage you to apply if you
have a heart for global missions and have received theological training (primarily pastors/professors). We also encourage you to apply if you are in the process of pursuing theological training, such as a Master of Divinity, Master of Theology or
doctorate. Applicants have a variety of
backgrounds yet all desire to serve the church of Christ by addressing the
staggering need for theological education overseas.
If you are considering missions, this
may be a way for you to discern your calling. If you are considering the
pastorate, this may be a way for you to see the need to commit to short-term
trips for the rest of your life. If you are considering academic work, this may
be a way for you to see how your scholarship can help Christians around the
I'm not qualified to teach, can I still go on this trip as a learner and to serve in other ways?
Yes! Please send the Director of Short-Term Ministries an email to talk about this. Such opportunities vary by location but we want the TLI experience to be available to all, especially because there is much to be learned about the world and missions simply by observing our work.
How are the teachers selected?
An online application is followed up with a phone interview.
How are the mentors selected?
We have two different kinds of mentors. First, there are those who work full
time for Training Leaders International. They oversee all of the trips and the
teachers we send. We also have a few independent mentors. These mentors may
lead one trip a year and are pastors and teachers in the United States.
Teachers will be paired with an experienced mentor who will help them
prepare for each trip, accompany them during the trip and offer valuable
debriefing after each trip. Each mentor has invaluable ministry and
cross-cultural experience and will ensure their teachers are well prepared. The
process with the mentor is crucial and will include hours of one-on-one time and assigned reading. Most mentoring will be done while on the field.
How much financial support do I need?
amount varies from trip to trip as expenses vary. The amount we ask you to raise covers the
costs particular to the trip. We will
give you the tools you need, pray for you, and provide counsel for reaching
full support. Many teachers are
surprised at how much financial support God provides. Financial support alone will only give you
physical provision. Since you will need spiritual provision as well, we ask that
you build a significant network of prayer support for your trip.
Can I bring my spouse?
We strongly encourage your spouse to join you. You will have a richer experience serving on this trip as a couple than alone. There are also many opportunities outside the classroom for women to minister on our trips.
Can women apply?
In conjunction with the convictions stated in our statement of faith, TLI only sends men to teach men. From sites that have orphanages, to others where local women and children who want to be ministered to, there are many opportunities on our trips for women to minister.
What is the process by which a teacher prepares?
we select teachers, we will pair them with mentors, prepare them to teach and
send them to train church leaders in a country where theological education is
lacking. A significant amount of reading is required along
with conversations with missionaries and national leaders from the country
where you will serve.
Do you have a heart for a particular people group or
country? Perhaps you have a preference
of formal vs. nonformal setting? Please
pray about this decision.
What does a typical day look like?
As you may expect, this varies depending on the
location. It is typical to be teaching
for at least a few hours though. There will also be more informal times of
discussion with the students. You will also be meeting with your team leader and
other team members to sharpen and be sharpened. Activities and opportunities
for service for the wives also vary and are specific to each trip.
Who are the students TLI teaches?
The backgrounds of the students we
teach are wide ranging and really depends on the particular location. In
our nonformal locations, where we teach from the TLI curriculum, many have
received no formal theological education and some have received very little if
any nonformal theological education.
In our formal settings, where we partner with an existing school, many but not all have received some sort of formal Bible education before, some having earned a degree and some not.
Across the board the backgrounds vary from refugees to pastor for decades to church planting pastor in unreached areatonew convert.
Could I read your Short-Term Ministries Handbook which contains your policies, helpful information and more about TLI?
Sure! Just email Joe Norman asking for a copy.
The price of my trip seems like a lot of money, can I ask for a breakdown of the costs?
If you don't have this provided to you already in your trip orientation document, please ask for a breakdown of the costs if you'd like one. Please say something if you believe any expenses seems out of balance. Your "boots on the ground" feedback to us is invaluable. And we strive for transparency, honesty, and fair pricing of all our trips.
Long-Term Opportunities Questions
Who should apply?
Anyone feeling pulled toward a commitment anywhere from one year to a lifetime of teaching overseas can apply. You must have earned or working toward an MA, MDiv, ThM or PhD. You must be in whole-hearted agreement with the Gospel Coalition Confessional Statement.
After I apply, what happens?
After we receive your application we will begin getting to know each other. We will want you to go on a short-term trip with us so that we can gauge with you your ability to teach cross-culturally. From there we will help prepare you and your family to live overseas and coach you all the way until you leave.
Do I need a church to sponsor us?
Yes! You need to have at least one church that serves as your sending church and your point of reference when you are overseas or in your home country.
I want to move overseas to teach after I finish seminary. When should I contact you?
If you are a student, contact us immediately. They best way we can determine whether you are called and ready to move overseas is to go on short-term trips with us while you are in school.
How much will I need to fundraise?
The answer really depends on where you are going, the size of your family and the type of ministry you will be involved in.
I want to teach at a school not listed on your website. Will you send me there?
Yes, as long as the other school will receive missionaries from us and we are able to establish a relationship with them, we would be happy to send you.
What is involved in school planting?
A lot! Basically, if you want to be part of this team, your role will be more than a professor. You will have to take on some administrative duties as well. Your role within the school is dependent on your team member's strengths and weaknesses and how much support national leaders are giving you in the country.
How do I know my donation is being handled correctly?
Training Leaders International is a member of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability, which ensures a committment to ethical goverance and donation management. We are audited every year by an independent firm. You can request a copy of our annual 990 filing and the results of any of our audits by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where should I send my donation?
Training Leaders International
PO Box 310
Wheaton, IL 60187
Who processes my donation? Why is your address for donations in Wheaton, IL?
TLI has partnered with Cedarstone Partners, who provide backend office help for non-profits. Cedarstone handles all of our donations and donor care issues. You can still call our office and be routed to them directly, but all checks should be mailed to Wheaton.
Why can’t I write the name of the person I want to support in the memo of the check?
Per IRS rules, you cannot receive a tax deduction for a gift that is designated to an individual. TLI has full control over your gift. However, when you send your gift or set up automated giving, you can designate on a reply card where/who you would like your gift to be applied to.
What percentage of my gift actually goes to the missionary?
While missionaries are raising support and on the field, they receive 90% of the funds donated. We deduct 10% for administrative expenses. We are committed to keeping administrative costs low. There is also an additional 3% fee for each gift contributed via credit card.
How are TLI’s missionaries paid?
Our missionaries are considered employees of our organization. Each month they receive a set salary determined by their ministry and personal needs and the standard of living in their part of the world.
Are there fees related to credit card transactions?
We are charged a 3% fee to process credit cards which is subtracted from the gift before it is passed along to the missionary.
Can I give automatically from my checking, savings or credit card account?
Are gifts to TLI tax-deductible?
Yes! But make sure that if you donate by check that you don't write anything on the memo line!
Pastor Sponsorship Program Questions
Can I sponsor more than one pastor?
You can sponsor as
many pastors as you wish, as long as there are workers available for
sponsorship. You may also join with your Sunday school class, congregation or
others to support workers. However, support for individual
pastors should be designated separately to keep our accounting records accurate.
What is the purpose of the Pastor Sponsorship Program?
The Pastor Sponsorship Program
is for ground level partnering with pastors in training. These investments
ensure that TLI’s partnering pastors receive theological education, and allow
believers in the States to connect with them through prayer and ministry
How does my donation for my pastor get used?
Your donation goes to the cost of training the pastor. This could include
translation of the material, printing of documents, pastors travel cost and
more. THE MONEY DOES NOT go to cover the day-to-day living expenses of the
How long is the commitment?
We ask you to commit until the pastor has finished our training program. This lasts anywhere from 2-4 years.
Do the pastors you train pay any portion of the training they are receiving?
As a general rule, we ask pastors and their churches to pay for
something, even if it is a small amount to show that they value what they are
doing. We never want cost to be prohibitive.
Are all the pastors in Pastor Sponsorship Program ordained?
Most likely, no. TLI trains
ministry leaders of various levels, largely depending on the location and
people group. Some leaders are refugees from non-Christian people groups and
do not yet belong to an official church, while others have a well established
history with the Church worldwide.
A "pastor" could represent a minister, minister in training, church leader or lay evangelist. We indicate the student's position in his profile.
How do pastors become eligible for the Pastor Sponsorship Program program?
is determined on a case-by-case basis between the coordinating missionary and TLI. The requirements are financial need, active church work, and level of
previous theological training. They must remain in our training program to be sponsored.
Will my partnership be anonymous?
No. Unless otherwise
requested, TLI will provide the pastor with your last name. We do not give out
other information, but the pastor and his church pray regularly for their
How important is prayer in Pastor Sponsorship Program sponsorship?
Very important. Our
pastors need it and we need it in order to provide them with theological training. Your petitions to Lord dramatically
impact the success of the training program.
May I communicate with my pastor?
Yes, you are
encouraged to write a brief letter to your pastor once a year which our
partnering missionaries will translate and deliver. Be careful to omit material
that could jeopardize the safety of your pastor and his family. If you sponsor a pastor from a "closed" area, TLI will provide you with a list of information which you should not include.
Can I choose a pastor from a specific country?
What if the pastor no longer needs my support?
If the pastor’s
status changes or a church becomes able to fully support the pastor, we will
notify you and offer you the opportunity to transfer your support to another