Nov 17, 2021 | 4 min read | Dave Patty
A short bus ride brought the answer to a big prayer.
About 10 years ago, I began praying for a God-sized solution to a particular challenge we were facing. The Josiah Venture team was training thousands of young leaders in disciplemaking principles, but some of them needed formal theological education to take them deeper. Not many options were available without uprooting them from their local ministries, and spending much more money than they could afford.
A friend had invited me to a conference for church planters in Madrid, Spain, and I reluctantly agreed to join him. Though the topic and location were both outside of our focus, I thought it would be a chance to meet some interesting people.
The most important conversation of the week happened at the very end, on a short bus ride to the airport. Holding on to a strap suspended from the ceiling, I noticed that the man next to me was wearing a nametag from the conference. I introduced myself and asked him what he did.
“I lead a theological education program in the UK,” he replied. Trying to keep my balance as we jostled our way through traffic, I probed for more details. My interest picked up as he described a bachelor’s program that taught theology in the context of mission, using week-long intensives to equip students without taking them out of their local ministries. Called “ForMission,” it combined intensive disciplemaking with the ability to gain an accredited European bachelor’s degree in just three years.
I was so intrigued that I followed my new friend to his gate. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation, I asked a key question. “Could we become your first campus outside the UK and offer your program at our training center in the Czech Republic?”
Several months later the core leaders of ForMission College visited our team in the Czech, and after three years of preparation, we opened a campus with our first class in the fall of 2019. The string of events that made this possible were no less than miraculous.
Now, in its third year, our campus is training 25 students from 6 different countries, 11 of which will graduate with their bachelor’s degree this year. One of them is Pavel, a young man I met when he was just 15 years old. When our local Fusion choir held a concert in his school, he joined the choir himself and put his trust in Christ. Then he began attending our local Czech church.
Though Pavel was the first believer in his extended family, his deep commitment to Christ was evident from the first day I met him. Now, he leads the Fusion ministry that introduced him to Jesus, and preaches regularly in our church and others in our area. He is working hard on his bachelor’s dissertation, which centers on the role of suffering in the life of a young believer and how difficulty can help them grow. Since Pavel’s mom is fighting cancer, this topic is close to his heart.
Pavel and 24 others are learning theology in the context of life and ministry, and the ripple effect of their service is just beginning. Thank you for making this possible through your gifts and prayers.
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