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Taking the School to the Students

Taking the School to the Students

FEBRUARY 8, 2021    |    2 MINUTE READ

Church growth is often exciting, but sometimes even the best ministry results can present issues that require innovative solutions. In this story, which originally appeared in The Best of the Story by Burnis H. Bushong, we see how global workers were able to use God’s guidance and their creativity to respond to a unique situation. This article has been adapted for the blog

"The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others." 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)

The work in Kenya was expanding rapidly in the seventies, but people in the newly formed congregations were easy prey for false doctrines. The Kenya Highlands Bible College was successful in the training of pastors, but there were too few graduates for the exploding number of congregations. How could new leaders be trained quickly?

A photo of Lillie Mae Ammerman with two students in a classroom.

David Lee and Lillie Mae Ammerman attended a Theological Education by Extension (TEE) seminar and learned how a new system of education had been developed in Central America where the teachers take the school to the students rather than the students coming to the school. This method represented a radical change, but the program was launched in Kenya in 1972. Lillie Mae Ammerman was soon joined by Loren and Lois Clark.

Together, the laborious task of developing textbooks and seeing them translated into Kipsigis was begun. In the initial stages, the missionaries traveled widely to scores of locations to teach the church leaders. The leaders shared their training with others, and the congregations profited and continued to grow.

The teachers take the school to the students rather than the students coming to the school.

In 1990, there were 1,092 church leaders enrolled in TEE, and 352 graduated. Qualified Africans, most of them volunteers, do the teaching. The WGM program in Kenya is one of the largest in the world where the training is done in the vernacular. TEE is a beautiful illustration of the advice Paul gave to Timothy in 2 Timothy.

Editor’s note: Since this story was published, the TEE program has continued to grow and flourish. WGM currently has TEE programs in Kenya, Uganda, Mexico, Bolivia, and the U.S.


PRAY: Are you aware of an issue that keeps coming up in a local ministry? Pray for God to present a creative solution to His people.

GO: If you have an interest in being involved in a TEE program, either as an educator or a student, let us know! Plenty of opportunities are available for you to get involved, regardless of where you’re located. Click here to contact us.

Author Bio: Burnis H. Bushong served with his wife, Thelma, first on the Texas/Mexico Border, then in Honduras and Bolivia, and finally as a Vice President at the WGM headquarters in Marion, Indiana, for a total of nearly fifty years. He served as field director of multiple ministry locations and authored several books during his lifetime, contributing both to the impact of World Gospel Mission and the preservation of its history. Burnis went to be with the Lord on May 17, 2020.

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