Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of questions we receive most frequently. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.
When was Training Leaders International founded?
Training Leaders International officially started in February of 2009.
Where are you located?
Our office is located at 121 S. 8th Street 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. Many staff members are 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 global partners, teaching staff, and those we send to teach. 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 world.
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 an online interview. This gives us a chance to get to know each other and for you to ask some questions as well. You will be given a link for the online meeting post-application. Expect the interview to be about an hour and to deal with personal, theological and cross-cultural questions. If you are approved, we will work with you to get you on a trip and connected to your trip leader.
How are the mentors selected?
We have a number of International Trainers (IT's) who work full time staff members at TLI. They oversee all of the trips and the teachers we send. Our IT's will help you prepare for your trip, lead your team on the ground and offer valuable feedback during and after each trip. Each IT 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 some assigned reading. Most mentoring will be done while on the field.
How much financial support do I need?
The 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?
Yes! 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.
Cost for wives can be as much as $500 less than the normal price. Since they aren't teaching the pastors, we do not charge them for interpreters, translation of materials and other teacher-related expenses. Cost difference is trip specific. Please contact the Director of Short-Term Ministries for more information.
Can women apply?
TLI is convictionally complementarian. That means we believe that in God's good design, and not because he places a greater value or worth on men over women, the role of pastor/elder is meant to only be filled by men.
How this conviction is applied varies amongst our staff and global partners and many of our partners. There are certainly opportunities on our trips for women to minister. There have also been instances when women have taught a group of women leaders, have taught courses at schools, and in some instances, our curriculum at our training sites. These opportunities are site-specific. We would love to answer your questions and have you use your gifts while serving with us.
What is the process by which a teacher prepares?
Once you become an approved teacher (passing the application and interview process), we will get you connected to a few systems we use to help you prepare. Managed Missions is an online information interface where you will receive the curriculum for study, information about your site, automated email reminders for upcoming tasks and other links and documents to help. Also, Sola is our fundraising software that allows you to track all of your donations and help you get to 100%. Study the biblical principles of fundraising and watch hours of videos from an experienced fundraising coach.
We will also pair you up with your trip leader who will begin to mentor you. He will lead your team through 3 crucial online meetings:
1) Get to know your team - share testimonies, ministries and fellowship
2) Curriculum Meeting - A member of the curriculum team will help you know how to prepare your lessons and what to focus on.
3) Site Meeting - get to know the partner we serve alongside, the people you will teach and important cultural elements. General cross-culural mentoring will take place as well.
* Some trip leaders may change the order or taylor meetings to their own style or preferences.
Which trip should I apply for?
You can see a listing of all our trips here: http://trainingleadersinternational.org/go/short-term
Do you have a heart for a particular people group or country? Perhaps you have a preference of formal vs. nonformal setting? Please consider our greatest needs at this time.
What does a typical day look like?
Typically we teach Mon-Fri for 4-6 hours per day. This varies from location to location. There will also be informal times of discussion with the students before and after class time. In the evenings, you will meet with your team to sharpen one another, debrief, and pray. And usually there is an extra-curricular or culturally-informative activity planned for 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 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, calling and experience of our trainees differs. We train refugees, long-time pastors, church planters, minstry leaders, evangelists, and even new converts.
Could I read your Short-Term Ministries Handbook which contains your policies, helpful information and more about TLI?
Of course. Just email us and ask for a copy.
The price of my trip seems like a lot of money, can I ask for a breakdown of the costs?
Please ask for a breakdown of the costs if you'd like one. An average trip cost is $3,500 which is a lot of money. Most of that is airfare. But we also feed the trainees lunch during the week, pay for interpreters and translate and print the curriculum for each student to have a copy in their heart language. Then there are your personal housing and food costs. Not only will you serve the church overseas through teaching but you will also serve them through meeting the financial need for each training.
After every trip, we review all the costs to see if we stayed within budget. If we consistently come in well under budget, we lower the trip price. If not, we have to raise the cost a little. Our desire is to cover costs, not to make money.
We strive for transparency, honesty, financial accountability and fair pricing for all our trips. Please ask us if you have any questions.
Global Partner 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 commitment to ethical governance 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 info@
trainingleadersinternational.org. Our donations are processed by Cedarstone Partnership in Wheaton, IL.
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!
Why would TLI start a domestic ministry for diaspora pastors?
Over the years, TLI has focused on training national church leaders overseas. Sometimes that training has also included immigrants and refugees in places like Greece and Uganda. We also have multiple sites in Ethiopia, yet there are many Ethiopian churches within a few miles of our office in Minneapolis. As we've been working to serve leaders around the world, we've come to realize there are also opportunities among the underserved diaspora pastors next door.
How did Diaspora Training get started?
In 2017, TLI asked Eduardo Mendes to help launch a ministry to strengthen immigrant leaders in the U.S. Eduardo had previously started a similar domestic ministry in Brazil, called Preach the Word, which now conducts preaching workshops throughout Brazil and in other Portuguese-speaking countries, with over 1000 participants.
What makes your preaching workshops different from others?
We intentionally focus our program and curriculum to serve expat pastors. Our facilitators have coaching in leading a multicultural workshop. We also place a high priority on building cross-cultural relationships. Like TLI's training overseas, we work with a cohort of participants that spend 2-3 years together. Over that time, our curriculum is designed to provide participants with competency and confidence in preaching from every genre of Scripture.
Why do you prioritize relationships?
Since we're focused on ministering to leaders from other cultural backgrounds, we want a program that seeks to understand them and value what they value: deep relationships. We also recognize that diaspora pastors are often disconnected from other churches (even within their same denomination). This affects all of us, because we can learn from each other and should be working together for the sake of the gospel.
What do you do in your workshops?
Our workshops are broken down into two types of lessons: equipping and exploring. In the exploring sessions, participants work together using basic hermeneutical principles to observe, analyze, and synthesize the intended message of a selected biblical text. In the equipping sessions, facilitators strengthen the participants in a specific skill or area of knowledge related to the book they are studying.
Can anyone participate in a workshop?
While we focus on serving diaspora pastors, we welcome other participants in our workshops. One of our primary goals is seeing diverse relationships developed among gospel-preaching churches in a given community. Since this is a preaching workshop, it is designed for church leaders with a preaching ministry. Participants join a cohort by invitation and must fill out an application.
How can my church get involved?
Churches can become involved in a variety of ways. Since we emphasize local church-based training, we are looking for partner churches to host workshops in cities across the U.S. Sometimes churches band together to host and facilitate a workshop sequence. Churches that are unable to host training also have the opportunity to sponsor a site. Churches interested in becoming a partner go through a site assessment process with TLI's regional staff.
What does TLI contribute to the project?
TLI's regional staff come alongside the local church to coordinate and implement the program. We supply partners with a full preaching workshop curricula and transcultural guidance for an effective ministry to diaspora leaders. Those who volunteer to facilitate our workshops must go through an initial certification process, including a two-day facilitator training in Minneapolis. TLI staff also help by co-facilitating the preaching workshops.
What does a site partner do?
We value partnerships with ownership. Churches that become site partners host the workshops, providing facilities and food for the participants. Site partners also supply one person to be a site coordinator, assisting TLI staff with planning and delivery of the training. Finally, partner churches are encouraged to provide at least one facilitator for the project (typically the site coordinator).
How much does it cost?
Our goal is to keep costs at a minimum, especially for diaspora pastors. In some cases, participants may be asked for a small fee to help offset admin costs. Otherwise, site partners and sponsors cover all program expenses, the largest of which are travel costs associated with becoming a certified facilitator with Diaspora Training. All facilitators in our program must attend a two-day training in Minneapolis prior to leading a workshop.
Can I become a facilitator with Diaspora Training?
Most of our workshop facilitators come from our church partners and TLI staff. However, we do accept applications from others. Some sites have two or three facilitators who share the teaching responsibilities. Priority is given to those with at least seven years of preaching experience, an MDiv, and some cross-cultural experience.
What happens in between workshops?
We space out our workshops every 2-4 months to provide participants the opportunity to practice their learning as well as prepare for the next workshop. During this time, facilitators also encourage group gatherings and one-on-one meetings to deepen the relationships among participants. We desire for fellowship, growth, encouragement, and prayer to reach beyond the classroom, ultimately moving toward collaboration for ministry in our communities.
What happens once you complete the program?
Those who attend and participate in a minimum of 75% of the workshops are provided with a certificate from TLI's Diaspora Training. In some cases, completion of the program may also provide graduates with credits at a partner institution. This program of continuing education is currently being developed. Our goal is to stay connected with our participants even after the workshops are complete.