This is the 4th post in a 5-part series.
By 2012 we were on a steep growth curve. We added missionaries and staff for a variety of roles. We also made a key decision to centralize our staff in MN starting in 2014. We had considered moving to Colorado Springs. It was also the time we got our legal documents in order with the help of an employment lawyer.
One key article I wrote for The Gospel Coalition in the summer of 2012 drove a lot of new traffic to our website. More and more people were learning about TLI and were interested in what we were about.
By 2013 we were up to 13 staff, 20 short-term trips and four long-term missionaries. Stories from our sites began to pour in. We had regular trips to Uganda, Romania, Greece, Brazil, Liberia, Togo, India, Nepal and Ghana. Donations were up to $1.3M. We were beginning to see results from the training. Pastors were more honed into preaching the actual meaning of the text. We were training Christian leaders, elders, pastors and church planters. We had seen Afghan and Iranians come to Christ through students in our classes. Healthy partnerships were being formed.
I met a pastor who planted a church next to a temple that practiced human sacrifice who had led the priest to Christ. I met Iranian migrants planting churches with little to no training. I met pastors in India with scars on their back inflicted by fundamentalist Hindu parents. It was a joy to meet them and provide the training they so desired.
We were also launched by Bethlehem Baptist to be a separate organization. Our size, liability and the new healthcare laws made it impossible to stay under the direct authority of the church. They released us with their blessing. We made it a rule that every staff member have a solid sending church that they reported to.
In 2014 I was ordained by the Evangelical Free Church. We added more staff and moved into our office in downtown Minneapolis. As if right on cue, my youngest son suffered siezures the day we were to move in. Of course!
The seminary in Brazil opened and and plans were laid for another one in Serbia. We also now had a missionary prep and care director to oversee all of our missionaries that were serving in Vietnam, Uganda, Thailand and Serbia. More were on the way.
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.