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To serve the Church among the Slavic nations of the world by assisting it to become fully equipped to fulfil the great commission of Jesus Christ

BLT? Not a Savoury Sandwich

Bible Study 2

…but the ‘cutting edge’ of SGA’s ministry - Biblical Leadership Training. In the early days the purpose of the long, difficult overland journeys through the ‘Iron Curtain’ was one of support and encouragement of believers, coupled with whatever practical help could be offered to those in need. In the mid-1970s there came about a readjustment of emphasis. SGA became involved in the teaching and training of church leaders, for the Communist authorities had attempted to destroy the churches by starving them of adequately equipped pastors and evangelists. Thousands of churches had no pastoral care or leadership, a situation common to all the Communist controlled countries of Eastern Europe.

John BirnieTraining at first was in small groups, meeting in the forests and mountains out of sight of the secret police, and the organization had to be both flexible and informal. It was quickly realized that a more structured timetable and curriculum of study would greatly enhance the training. A ‘School of the Prophets’ was organized in Oradea ‘under the noses’ of the Communist authorities, and a core list of Biblical subjects for study was drawn up. This more structured arrangement was further amended and improved after the collapse of the Soviet system.

With the post-Communist ‘freedom’ came requests from other countries such as Moldova, Poland, and Hungary for the establishment of SGA Mission Schools. Further geographical expansion followed, along with helpful adjustments to the curriculum, and SGA teachers became active in eight European countries and in Kazakhstan, Central Asia. The programme in all venues is a structured one, and requires students to commit themselves to completion of the study programme in order to receive the final award of a certificate or diploma. The length of the programme varies with local needs and circumstances, but generally students take between two and four years to complete the course.

Twenty-four subjects make up the Mission School curriculum. At least eighteen of these must be taken in order to graduate. The subjects fall into three subject areas: Biblical and Doctrinal Studies; Mission and Evangelism; Pastoral Practice and Preaching. Major Bible books such as Genesis, Isaiah, John’s Gospel and Romans are studied in depth. Important Biblical doctrines of God, Man, and the Church are covered, as are Principles of Mission, Children’s Evangelism, Apologetics. Practical help is given in handling the Word of God through subjects such as Hermeneutics, Homiletics, Biblical Leadership. The ‘BLT’ programme provides a solid foundation for future pastors and leaders on which they may build a God-glorifying, Christ-centred, Gospel ministry.

Along with SGA’s continuing substantial humanitarian aid and support, Biblical Leadership Training has been of inestimable, eternal value to the lives of countless thousands of souls in the lands which constitute our mission field. This edition of Breakthrough is designed to provide an up-to-date insight into this vital ministry. To God be the glory!