TRAINING FAITHFUL MEN
by Clint Morgan
Find out more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist International Missions by visiting their website: www.fwbgo.com.
THE COTE D'IVOIRE FIELD COUNCIL FACED A DILEMMA. After 26 years of ministry, we had only two ordained pastors for the 50-plus churches and Christian communities. We were compelled to consider opening a formal leadership program.
Research yielded a plan. An institute was built at Bouna, with a three-year curriculum adopted. The missionaries on the field committed to subsidize the first two classes of students, and possibly others if necessary. Mike Cousineau served as director, I was assistant director, and we invited past and present missionaries to help teach. The Free Will Baptist Bible institute of Côte d'Ivoire opened in October 1987.
Photo: Current students with Institute Director Paul Amiezi (in blue at left).
The first class of 10 students faced many challenges. Two students fell into sin and were dismissed. Despite difficulties, eight students persevered and received their degrees in June 1990. What a glorious day!
Three more classes have graduated, the last one directed by Kenneth Eagleton and Jerry Pinkerton. Of the 32 graduates from all four classes, most have entered the ministry and serve the Lord faithfully. A few fell into sin and were put under discipline, and two former students died. Prayerful efforts are in place to see those under discipline restored to a faithful walk with the Lord.
While every pulpit is not filled with a pastor, 23 years after the historic opening of the institute, tremendousstrides have been made. Soon, 10 ordained pastors will be joined by several others who are in the process.
One of the greatest accomplishments has been seeing two graduates from the first class, Paul AMIEZI (below with James Forlines) and Robert HOUESSOU (top), receive higher training and now directing the Bible institute. The official transition to national hands took place in August 2005.
Progress in leadership development has been good, but under the capable direction of Pastors Paul and Robert the training program can soar to new heights. As a new class began under their leadership in February, these godly men shared their objectives:
One of the challenges the Church encounters today is guarding its fundamental values in view of false doctrine and resisting the temptation to imitate others. Facing this reality, we want to make the Bible institute a modern instrument that will serve to teach sound doctrine and train all the workers of the Church, mobilizing the people of God for the missionary task. To achieve our objective requires targeting all the components of the Church: couples, families, youth, and leaders. In addition, all types of training (computer, music, etc.) interest us.
The Bible institute fulfills Paul’s command in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me…commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Praise God for those with the vision to begin the training program, and for those who continue to teach others.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Clint Morgan served as a missionary to Côte d’Ivoire from 1976-2005. He and Lynette live and work in France. Clint serves as International Missions’ Regional Director to Creative Access Countries and Africa.