News from the Edge

Diploma in Theology: Back in Session!

“I feel very grateful to be here again. Last year we longed to study God’s Word here, but unfortunately we couldn’t continue because of COVID. This year we hope that there are no changes in plan and that we can continue to receive this beautiful education in God’s Word.” 

This pastor echoes the other pastors’ hearts. There are big smiles on their faces as they express the joy that this education brings them. It is a great gift from God. We thank you for your partnership in this program.

During the pandemic they continued the work that God called them to and saw Him moving. Below is one Pastor’s testimony:

 “Before starting the education with ASOSAP and Chosen People, my church was in crisis. People weren’t coming to church and I didn’t know why.   

Despite this crisis, I decided to continue learning and I came to the Diploma in Theology sessions. Last February we had our only session of the year. At that moment, I didn’t know that it would be our last session of 2020. When it was time for me to go home, I felt weighed down with a deep sadness. I didn’t know why, but I had a feeling that something was going to get in the way of us continuing our education. I didn’t tell anyone about this; I just decided that I would pray about it.   

A few months later, ASOSAP told us that the program was suspended this year due to COVID. I felt very sad because the education that I was receiving was helping me with my congregation.

I continued applying what I learned. Little by little I saw God working. More people started to come to the church. Even though we were in the first months of a pandemic, there were many opportunities to evangelize, so I started doing so. 4 families accepted Jesus as their Savior.  

To give thanks to God, ASOSAP, and Chosen People, we as a congregation fasted and prayed. We prayed that God would bless them and that we would be able to re-start the Theology education in 2021. 

Later on, a church member visited me one day. She said that I seemed sad and very concerned about something. She said “You are sad and worried about the education you were receiving.” I admitted that she was right. She encouraged me, saying “Don’t worry, very soon you’ll receive good news from where you are studying”. A few days later ASOSAP contacted me with the 2021 session dates.

After receiving this answer to prayer, the congregation had a week of fasting and prayer. Our prayer was that despite the restrictions, the Diploma in Theology sessions would go well and would continue to bless the pastors who attend.”

That prayer is being answered. There is a new confidence in the pastors as they express themselves, especially in what they are learning.

“I’ve really liked this education. This session we learned about what responsibilities we have as pastors. We go about our work as pastors, but sometimes we don’t do it as the Bible teaches us to. Sometimes we make mistakes. Through studying God’s Word, we now understand well what the Bible says about being a pastor, what our role is, and how we can teach our congregations.  Sometimes we don’t understand God’s Word clearly, but through this education we are learning how we can guide our “sheep”. What I learned today about pastors, elders, and deacons impacted me greatly. We are not better than our “sheep”, we are equal. We all need to follow the good path towards God and we as pastors need to model this.

All that I’ve received through this course has been very useful to me. Everything we learn, we then share in our church. This what we long for, to continue studying the Bible, so that we can better teach our congregation.”

In addition to the topic of Pastoral Ministry, they learned about the topic of Marriage, Family, and Ministry. Pastors are pulled in many directions and this education rooted them in the Biblical truth that they need to be good “pastors” in their own home, before they can be effective pastors in the church. They were given two more excellent resources books. One which explains the biblical meaning of marriage and encourages couples to keep this covenant and compares it to Christ’s love covenant to the church. The second dives into major questions that pastors and church leaders ask about congregational church government, giving clear and concise answers according to the Bible.

We are pleased with how this session went. All the pastors attended and were comfortable in expressing their opinions and asking questions. They connected further with the Chosen People instructor who has taught them before. They have strengthened their knowledge and capability in spreading the Gospel. In May they have their final session and then graduation. What an exciting day that will be! We look forward to sharing this with you.

Closing the session in prayer