Life as a student: I am proud to say that I am a student at the Our Generation Training Center, which is a ministry of Vision Baptist Church. It is a school where you get preparation to be a foreign missionary. It is not a regular Bible college. It is not a seminary, but it is a place where you can get Bible instruction, personal mentoring, and hands on experience on how to do the ministry. I love it and don`t think that I could have picked a better place to get training for the work that God has for me. Let me tell you a little bit what my life as a student is like.
Class: Class is scheduled nearly every week. I don`t get summers off, but I do get a free week here and there. I go to class Tuesday to Thursday of each week for four hours each morning. Each class will be one or two weeks long. Class is not your regular lecture at a Bible college. I have about fifteen different missionaries or pastors that will teach a class or two throughout the year. They keep the classes informal allowing for discussion, questions, and arguments. I love being able to ask experienced missionaries and pastors Bible and ministry questions during class. The teachers care for us. They try to build a relationship with us. I have had them take me out to lunch, buy me a pair of shoes, and let me spend time with them outside of class. It is great. We have Bible classes and practical ministry classes. Sometimes class will turn into doing something crazy like trying to give out 5,000 Gospel of John and Romans books to our community, taking a survey of the Indian population of Alpharetta, or simply helping out the staff do a work project. Time spent in classes at the training center is not going to help me get a doctorate, but it has helped me really learn the Bible and get years ahead in learning the practical lessons that I need to learn to work as foreign missionary.
Friday Class: In addition to regular class, I have Friday class each week with Pastor Austin Gardner. He shares his life and experience with other missionaries and us students. He spent twenty years in Peru where God allowed him to see several churches and a Bible college started. He has lots of experience as a missionary and pastor. He opens up to us on Friday and allows us to ask questions about whatever we want to ask. It has helped me learn a lot to sit in and participate in discussions about practical mission work and common problems that missionaries face. Many of the real valuable lessons I have learned at the training center have been from spending time with Pastor Gardner both in Friday class and also when he has other free time during the week. He is a real mentor to me and the other students. I appreciate him giving up so much time to invest in my life.
Preaching: As a student, I get many, many opportunities to practice my preaching skills. About every five or six weeks each student gets the opportunity to preach a five-minute message in front of the whole church. In addition, I get the opportunity to preach in children
s church every week. Then there are even other opportunities beyond that. I have had the opportunity to preach at a church plant, Vacation Bible school, Sunday school, assisted living home, one day youth retreat, Christian school missions conference, at the Summit, at a small church in Madison, GA, and at an underground church in China. I would never have had all these opportunities if I weren’t at the Training Center. I think it is great that I am able to get so much practical experience in preaching Gods word.
Ministry: Often young people that want to get more involved in serving the Lord at their local church find that there is not much for them to do. They usually are not needed. This is not the case at Vision Baptist Church. It seems like we never have enough people to get everything done. As a training center student at Vision Baptist Church, I am blessed with lots of opportunities to get involved in the ministry of the church. Currently, here is what my ministry schedule looks like each week.
- Thursday Night-Organize and teach children`s church.
- Friday Night-Teach a youth meeting that I was able to start up.
- Saturday Morning-Head up outreach into the community.
- Throughout the week-Upload Sermons, Hand Out Tracts, Witness to and Invite People to Church
All of this is very good experience. It is things that I will be doing on the mission field. It is experience that I would never get at a regular school. It is stuff that I can go ahead and learn now while I am in school rather than waiting until afterward. I really enjoy being involved and am thankful for the training I get by doing it.
Family: At the training center, I get to be part of one big family. All of the missionary team and students stay very connected. We spend time with each other, learn from each other, and serve each other. I know that the church staff, other missionaries, and even my fellow students love and care for me. I know that they would drop what they were doing and come help me if they knew that they I was really in need. This is a great thing. I know that I have real friends. It helps me keep going even when things get difficult. I appreciate everyone and enjoy being part of the “family”
This is little insight to what my life is like as a student. It is a daily grind, and there are many struggles, but God is helping me get the training I need to get to the field as a missionary to China. I praise Him for it and ask that you would pray that I would continue to learn and grow.