After 40 years of pastoring in a missions-minded church and enjoying a front-row seat watching TLI get birthed and launched, Tom Steller now has the privilege of serving with TLI as Director of Theological Education in Cameroon. This gives shape to decades of his forays into a land where theological training is yearned for, welcomed, and yet too sparsely available.
TLI is helping establish an accredited MDiv Program in partnership with Bethlehem
College and Seminary (BCS) in Yaoundé, the nation's capital. Hungry, motivated, and exceptional students are already being transformed by biblical and exegetical digging into the Greek NT and Hebrew OT. Once equipped, they will plant and revitalize churches that preach and teach the unadulterated gospel as the centerpiece of the whole counsel of God. As they study, each student is growing in his understanding of the unique role he can play in the exponential multiplication of God-centered, gospel-loving expository preachers and teachers of God's inerrant Word.
What is meant by "exponential"? Our dream is that with the partnership of these
students, some of whom are already pastoring churches, TLI will be able to reach an ever-growing number of pastors who have never had, nor ever hope to have, an official degree. These pastors and Christian leaders need to further their biblical training while continuing to serve their churches. A full-time Bible school or seminary will not work for most of them. But non-formal instruction by well-equipped peers like our graduates will help these pastors to grow in their ability to preach God's Word and to equip their own leaders to teach the Scriptures faithfully.
Our students have already become convinced that what TLI offers fits with what pastors in Cameroon need to be equipped for biblical expository preaching. They long for pastors and Christian leaders who have had little or no formal Biblical training to be gripped by the unified message of the whole Bible, and then to contextualize it for their unique churches in Africa's most complex nation (over 277 languages!). Our MDiv students are beginning to understand and experience exponential multiplication. To graduate from their MDiv program they must recruit and teach a TLI course somewhere in Yaoundé. Their hope is that the first cohorts of their students who represent many of the regions of Cameroon will one day bring what they learn back to their region. Their long-term hope is that their students or the students of their students will eventually press into the most remote areas of Cameroon and beyond—into places where there is even less access to solid biblical teaching.
With God's amazing provision, we have purchased print-on-demand equipment to
provide us with high quality TLI manuals in French and English. This will facilitate the multiplication of cohorts. Both the teacher's and student's manuals for each of the nine courses in the TLI curriculum will be immediately accessible at an affordable price.
Please pray that this multi-layered strategy of formal training through an accredited
seminary and informal training through TLI will achieve its vision of equipping hundreds, or someday thousands of Cameroonian pastors and Christian leaders to preach and teach and live out the Word of God.