I recently spent two weeks at our Teaching Church in St. Petersburg, Russia, Temple of the Gospel. Drs. Spivey, Carmack, and Bryan have also taught there in the past. What I want to highlight about my trip is Dr. Sergei Nikolaev’s leadership and the church’s model as a Carroll Teaching Church. Dr. Nikolaev, as part of his D.Min. project in the mid-90s, envisioned a church that was not only a people of worship and service to the Lord but it would also be a training center for church leaders. So, he created the St. Petersburg Evangelical Theological Academy. The Academy would be an extension of the church’s ministry and would share facilities and resources with the church. It would be open to pastors and church leaders in the church and from all over Russia. Both the church and partners would provide the resources for the training of these church leaders.
The clearest picture of this model was displayed on the second Sunday I worshipped with them. On that day, we worshipped in song, the preaching of the Word, the ordination of three deacon couples, and graduated six with a BA in Theology who had been there the week before finishing up their school work. What I saw was a fellowship of believers who embraced and encouraged every aspect of that day’s worship. They did not compartmentalize the music and preaching from the setting apart of servants and the graduating of trained church leaders. All that they did was a part of their worship.
Dr. Nikolaev and I share the same vision for the church here and around the world. With the continued decline of attendance in residential seminaries and the ambivalence toward institutional training, we are convinced theological education belongs as a ministry of the local church. Our vision is that both our domestic and global number of Teaching Church grow to serve the Mission of God through the church wherever it may be.
Here is our current list of Teaching Churches. Pray for these “communities of faith and learning.” Maybe you desire to make what Carroll offers part of your church’s discipleship and leadership development programs. If so, contact me, and I will share the Carroll vision with you. If you desire to give to one of these Teaching Churches, you can go here. We can change the world through the local church as we equip her servant leaders.
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