News from the Countryside – South Gobi Province

‘Salvation of Jesus’ church and the MSTEE

Natsagdorj pastor

A report by Natagdorj pastor, the Senior Pastor of ‘Salvation of Jesus’ church, South Gobi Province, Mongolia

Users’ Forum April 2011

I love and support MSTEE. In South Gobi we have a great Coordinator, whose name is Haisandai. I don’t lead groups now myself, but I support them as a pastor.

We heard the Good News in 1998 in South Gobi province, and I became a believer. I first came across the TEE course with the title, ‘Abundant Life’. The title spoke to me. I was the son of a family of shamans. I had Buddhist/shamanist leanings myself. But this book was not ‘religious’. I wanted to know more about this ‘Abundant Life’, so I studied with great interest. Later I saw the potential of this material for training. Although we started off meeting in a ger now we have a church building that can seat 200 people. Praise the Lord!

We’ve used TEE materials from 2002 until the present: all the daughter churches we’ve planted also see TEE as a key part of the ministry, and all the church planters we’ve sent out having been trained as tutors. We see that leading Abundant Life and Abundant Light brings people together in a group for discussion and fellowship. This ministry has become a means of getting a church going. Abundant Life and Abundant Light can provide a foundation in faith, and then the beauty of TEE is that it can provide a step by step, orderly theological education. Not everyone can study at a residential college. But the advantage of TEE is that through the tutor, training can be provided where the students are.

TEE emphasizes practical application: there’s some application or practical exercise with each lesson to do together, discuss and evaluate. I think this is one of the ways TEE is effective for each student.

TEE also has the spin-off of reaching those who have not come to faith who see the class going on in their ger.

It is clear that TEE’s structured training results in the growth of churches, and the growth in maturity of believers. The mother church and the church plants are now working hard at the TEE Certificate in Christian Ministry program, which has the aim of training leaders. Among the church plants, those in Bayandalai, Bulgan, Hurmen and Tsogttsetsgii counties (soums) are running the TEE program effectively. We are even running the program among the herders. Our tutor Saruultuul, who is a herder, is leading Abundant Life and Abundant Light effectively in Bayandalai county, and is a student in the Certificate program, studying the Life of Christ Book 3. And in Mandalovoo county, Ganbat and Tsogzolmaa are leading two groups which are going well among the herders.

South Gobi province with 'counties' (soums)

The churches in the provincial centre are using this training effectively, and in the future, we look forward to training at all levels througout the province. There are so many advantages to using TEE!

At the present time we have 19 trained tutors at the main church in the provincial centre, 25 in daughter churches in the provincial centre, and 28 out in the counties. Of these tutors, the numbers who are active in leading groups are as follows: of the 19, twelve, of the 25, twelve and from the 28, sixteen.  A total of 329 people are involved in the groups being led by these tutors. Those who get involved develop a heart for ministry, and a desire to study more.

We’ve trained new tutors in some of the countryside congregations, and they have gone on to lead groups: six in Bulgan, six in Hurmen, four in Servei and four in Nomgon country. We’ve also trained eleven new tutors in the provincial centre. It’s a great advantage that our TEE Coordinator Haisandai has been trained to train Foundation level tutors, and now we can prepare them as the need arises.

Our church’s vision for TEE in the future:

We want to build the capacity, and improve the quality of all our tutors.

We want to introduce the program into all the counties where it is not yet running e.g. Bayan-ovoo, Tsogt-ovoo, and Gurvan-tes counties.

Our aim is that the first countryside graduates of the Certificate in Ministry program should be from South Gobi province.

We want to introduce the Certificate in Christian Ministry program into all the county church plants. At present the Certificate program is only running in Bayandalai, Hurmen, Tsogttsetsgii and Nomgon counties.

We want to prepare many effective ministers in both church and society through the Certificate program – people who will influence and change both church and society.

Difficulties and critical factors:

1. If you don’t choose the right people as tutors, then you’ll see no fruit. The right choice of tutor is very important.

South Gobi province TEE Coordinator, Haisandai

2. We need spiritual people whose hearts are open and ready to serve. Haisandai, our TEE Coordinator, now pays close attention to this.

3. If the local church leader does not understand or value TEE, there will be little fruit. Tutors need encouragement!

4. Potential tutors need encouragement to start. They may well say, ‘I can’t do this!’ We say, ‘No, you can’t now. You need to learn! Then you will be able to!’

5. Tutors have a heavy load. There’s the danger of burnout. We need to protect and help them.

6. There is the need for finance to pay for the courses.

How did we overcome these issues? We pray with fasting. There’s early morning prayer, and there’s night prayer. We overcame by prayer.

Natsagdorj pastor, Users’ Forum 26 April 2011