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Missions 101

An Introduction to the New TLI Curriculum

Oct. 13, 2011By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

TLI is currently writing curriculum for their short-term trips.  Over the next few days we will be introducing the material to our readers.  This is an exciting step for us and pray God uses it to raise up well-trained pastors who can rightly handle Scripture in their own contexts.



This curriculum has been created for Training Leaders International (TLI) short-term trips and is intended for pastors and church leaders who hold positions in their own churches. It is primarily for pastors with limited theological training or for trained pastors who want to continue to upgrade their training. Many pastors are not well equipped for the work of ministry, and this curriculum is designed to meet that need. The TLI curriculum has four options, designed for three or four years (depending on the needs of the specific location), meeting three times a year for five days.


Our curriculum is mobile, and allows us to take biblical and theological training to students where they are. Instead of pastors going to a school for training, we are bringing the school to the pastors. They will receive theological training without being required to leave their ministry setting. This model allows us to provide structured and systematic training to pastors, without much interruption to their routine of ministry.


It is the duty of the pastor to be equipped in order to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11-12). This curriculum seeks to prepare national leaders to reach their calling of preaching and teaching. Our goal is to practice 2 Timothy 2:2 where Paul says, “…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This curriculum targets groups of people (pastors and church leaders) already holding positions in their churches. We teach them so that they will turn around and teach others. As the students teach what they have learned, there is multiplication and solidification of the material in their own hearts. We teach a few who will in turn teach hundreds.


We take a modular approach in our training of leaders. Generally, each workshop is taught for one week (5 days). This is an effective length of time for each workshop and it allows pastors to take the courses without being away from their churches on weekends. We will normally begin on Monday and end on Friday.

In the process of teaching our curriculum, pastors and church leaders will come together for intensive study of selected portions of the word of God. They will be taught skills for interpreting the Bible, hear examples of expository sermons, and prepare and preach sermons based on what they have learned and observed. They will be given feedback on their own preaching to help them know what they are doing right and what they need to work on. Over a period of three to four years, meeting three times a year, the learners will have gained enough knowledge and done enough practice to be able to more accurately interpret, preach and teach the Word of God. They will also be able to use what they have learned to train others.

Through out the duration of our curriculum, the learners will be helped to gain a better grasp of God’s word by being able to better observe, interpret and apply the Bible in their particular culture. There will also be a focus on their ability to communicate the word of God. They will learn how to more effectively take a text, develop it into a sermon, and communicate it in a way that is easily understood.


The TLI curriculum is structured in the following purposeful manner: core courses (composed of foundational courses and books of the Bible), and electives. The three foundational courses are Hermeneutics, Biblical Theology, and Attributes of God. Hermeneutics puts in place interpretive principles with a greater focus on the practice of observation, interpretation, and application; Biblical Theology helps the learners grasp the broader context of the Bible and how the whole Bible fits together. Attributes of God provides the opportunity to dig deep into God’s attributes and how he relates to us. After the foundational courses, the rest of the core courses are books of the Bible. The goal of book studies is to help the students interpret passages in context (historical and literary) as well as be able to prepare and preach expository sermons, making use of what they were taught in the first three foundational courses. 

Group Size

 The curriculum is designed for small groups of 12-15 people. TLI normally sends anywhere from 3-6 teachers to each location with each teacher teaching a group of 12-15 students. We want to encourage a teaching atmosphere where sharing and interaction is part of the process. Our teachers, in addition to teaching, will also be mentoring the students and helping them process the material. A group of 12-15 students will mean a more personal involvement with the students by the teacher.

Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International.  As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

Tags:  teaching, short-term missions
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