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Posts Tagged: tli

The Impact of TLI in Four Minutes

Sep. 22, 2016By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio
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Our Fall Update from TLI

Oct. 22, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

In case you missed our fall email update, here is the video giving a brief description of what we have been up to. You can subscribe to our quarterly updates on our homepage.

Oct 2015 Update from Training Leaders International on Vimeo.

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The Story of TLI (Part 5) - Graduation and Expansion

Jul. 10, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

This is the final post in a five part series. 

In the beginning of 2015, I was able to celebrate with students something I could have only dreamed of in 2008 - a graduation. Students in Athens from Iran, Afghanistan, Romania, Ghana, Eritrea and Nigeria completed all 12 of our core classes. The progress of the students was amazing. They now were to turn and teach others what they had learned.

It has also been a year of new ministry focus. We launched the Journal of Global Christianity. The hope is to stir conversation between western and non-western pastors and leaders. By translating it into Spanish, French, Chinese and Farsi, we hope to expand it's reach!

We also announced plans to add a second major focus to our mission - the reaching of13825_686426784255_733915848156862958_n unreached people groups. The number one request from majority world Christians is for more training for their leaders. The number one need is to reach the final 4000+ people groups who have little to no access to the gospel.

What's ahead? By the end of this year we anticipate we will have 30 US Staff, 10-12 missionaries and 2 schools up and running. We will have 17 staff in our office in Minneapolis, up from 7 when we opened last fall. In 2016 we have 51 short-term trip planned, which is more than our first four years combined. This all translates to real impact as we seek to provide theological education in the hardest places and spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

This ministry was an idea started by a 29-year-old who had just been let go from his first ministry job and had never been overseas. In case you were not sure, it most certainly is the LORD who has made this happen.

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The Story of TLI (Part 4) - Missionaries, Curriculum and Growth

Jul. 9, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio
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.

GrowthBy 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.

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The Story of TLI (Part 3) - Sending, School Planting and Staff

Jul. 8, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio
This is the 3rd post in a 5 part series. 

In the summer of 2010 we received enough donations to sustain my family. Of course, it never came in all at once, but was like a drip off a kitchen fountain. Slow, steady and unending. 

In the fall of 2010, Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary asked if we would send them missionaries. Having no idea what it meant to send missionaries, I said yes. We were not large (just me) and did not have the red tape larger organizations have. We sent a Presbyterian and a Baptist family to serve there. It went about as smooth as expected.

Af the end of the year we also received our first grant - we put it to the website, seeking out new locations and creating brochures. Early that February, one day after our board meeting where we prayed for God's provision, the foundation called me because they had found a request that I had made 18 months beforehand, but it was buried under a pile of documents on a desk. Eight months later they awarded us the grant.

In February of 2011 I hired my first two staff members. Dr. Philemon Yong, who was to head upOur First Hire - Howard Foreman School Planting and Curriculum Development and Dr. Howard Foreman, who was to head up any ministry in Africa. Both came with loads of experience and wisdom, something we needed! The three of us would end up meeting 2-3x a week for the next two years.

That winter I was invited to go with Leadership Resources International (who had no idea the part they played in my conceiving of TLI) to Brazil to see what they were doing. While I was there I was asked if I knew any ministry involved in starting theological schools. I blurted out that we did, not knowing what that even meant. 18 months ago we opened that school and the man who approached me about it is joining our staff later this year.

In 2011 we also appointed Ben Stafford to oversee short-term trips and Ethan Larson to teach with us. We also hired two seminary students part-time -  Mike Littell to interact with donors and Daniel Viezbicke to process our donations. Up until the fall of 2011 I planned and recruited for all the trips, oversaw the missionaries, taught on the majority of trips and  processed all donations. It was too much, but it was necessary. I traveled overseas five times in 2011 – Brazil, India, Greece, Kenya and UAE. We sent out 11 teams to various locations around the world. We were in Brazil, Burundi, India, Greece, Uganda, Kenya, UAE and Bhutan and began writing curriculum for many of these sites.

We were also accepted into the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability. In 2009 we had received $37,315 in donations. In 2011 we were over $421K.  We were growing. 

Our family still lived month-to-month. In October of that year a doctor offered us the opportunity to abort our son. They thought he had a tumor on his heart. He ended up just as the Lord intended him to be. He has boundless energy - more than our other four children combined. 

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