BUDAPEST, Hungary (BP)–Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board missionaries are writing a book series to help develop more leaders in Europe to start churches.
Sixteen books will cover the basics of the Christian faith, then teach outreach and church-planting skills. The entire series is to be published in English within a year and then be available for translation.
Board administrators expect the project to become a key tool to speed church planting in Western Europe and help produce enough trained leaders to keep up with new congregations in Eastern Europe. New Baptist churches are springing up there as spiritual harvest intensifies.
The intent is not to replace any present training programs, but to train laypeople and pastors who probably will never attend seminary, said John Floyd, the board’s area director for Europe.
“We’re not trying to compete with the seminaries, but the seminaries will never turn out enough graduates to win this generation for Christ,” Floyd told missionaries at a three-day mid-January conference in Budapest.
“We intend for laymen to go through these materials and start churches. God calls laymen all over the world to ministry,” he added. The board is asking missionaries in Europe to start more than one church at a time, a new emphasis which will require tools for training laity, he explained.
Simplicity and brevity will be the most-sought characteristics in the new series, Floyd said.
Most of the two dozen or so missionaries working on the project hold doctoral degrees, and some have written similar materials. During their Budapest meeting, they were taught how to write from learning objectives by Terrell Peace, associate professor of education foundations at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Peace also reviewed basic teaching principles needed in self-study materials.
Foreign Mission Board missionaries have developed similar training materials targeted to other cultures. In areas where the number of new Christians is gaining momentum, missionaries have turned to such methods to train enough leaders to keep pace. Floyd said he hopes European Baptist unions, seminaries and other schools eventually will use the