School of Ministry Update
When Jesus looked out at first century Israel, it would have been easy to be intimidated. After all, Jerusalem did not have a great history of receiving with open arms those sent by God to speak truth:
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
This same city would be the site of Jesus' death a few days after making this observation. If ever there was a hard mission field, it was first-century Israel. But when Jesus looked out at this nation, he said 'the fields are white for harvest' (John 4:35).
His assessment was that 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few'. The action point was to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers' (Matthew 9:37-38).
In many ways, contemporary Europe is in the same condition. From an outsiders perspective - even from an insiders perspective! - it's a hard field. It's like hardpan soil that's impervious to water. But Jerusalem experienced one of the greatest moves of God in history (Pentecost!) just 50 days after the resurrection. The fruit of this awakening was preserved because Jesus had prepared labourers to bring the wheat into the barns!
This is what our school of ministry is about: we are equipping leaders, pastors, church planters, missionaries, and campus ministers for faithfult gospel ministry. We are expecting God to open Europe for the gospel, and we are acting in faith to be ready. It's true - we're not waiting around. We are preaching, making disciples, training leaders, and planting churches. This is what Jesus told us to do.
In partnership with Centrepoint Church in Scotland, which serves as the administrative and logistical hub, and also with Every Nation Churches in Europe, from whom many, but not all, of the students come, we are doing everything we can to faithfully steward the gospel of Jesus.
At our residential week this year, we had 33 students from 12 European nations (England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, France, Portugul, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, Norway). Some of these are church planters, some of these are campus ministers, some of these will be serving in their local churches as pastors, children's ministers, evangelists.
Our school is an 18-month programme that includes online learning (our core curriculum is accessed via the internet), monthly video meetings, and two residential weeks. Launched in 2017, this February we just completed our second residential week. This means we had both Year 1 and Year 2 students together, and it was a blast!
This is probably the most intense week of my year - teaching our residential core curriculum to Year 1's in the morning and Year 2's in the afternoon. When they enroll, the students choose one of three ministry tracks - church leadership, church planting, or campus/student ministry. Half of the residential week is devoted to focus in these practical areas of ministry.
The reason we hold the residential week in Ukraine is because of cost. Only one of our students is from Ukraine, but we are able to provide a quality experience at a much more affordable price than if we hosted the week in Western Europe. Christ Fellowship Church in L'viv - a church planted by CBU in 1992 - serves as the host church for this week. CBU continues to build on the legacy of faithfulness in mission that began when we first went to Ukraine in 1990.
There is much more we could say about our school - but this should give you some indication that we are doing what we can for gospel advance in the needy mission field of Europe. As we choose not to despise the days of small beginnings, we lay a foundation today for God's great move across this continent.