Training men for ministry
Over eight centuries before Christ, the Lord contended with His people:
“There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish” (Hosea 4:1-3).
No knowledge of God in the land. In short, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).
Later on, the Lord declares, “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). It is the knowledge of God that is the essence of eternal life, and the means to “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3; cf. John 17:3).
At Countryside, we believe that the knowledge of God is fundamental to our growth in grace, and to our transformation in experience. To achieve these ends, we aim in the Lord to train leaders who know Him well, and who can articulate His thoughts and ways to dying sinners in need of grace. Unlike the days of Hosea, when it was said to their detriment “like people, like priest,” we aim to see this pattern work for our benefit, with both leaders and congregation knowing God well.
In order to do this, we have launched an in-house ministerial training program called the Log College. The name comes from colonial America, when middle-aged minister William Tennent, Sr. trained over twenty men for the ministry in a 400-square-foot log cabin, which his enemies put down as The College. Many of those men became leaders in the Great Awakening, and laid the gospel foundation for the Presbyterian church in America. Like Tennent, we too aim to provide the church with solid ministers—men who know God experientially, and preach Him fervently.
At Countryside, we believe it is the responsibility of current ministers to train the next generation of ministers. In his final letter, the apostle Paul charged Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). There are four generations here—Paul, Timothy, the faithful men, and the others to be taught. In looking down road, who knows how far the ripple effect will be in training men here for the ministry.
The program is simple—one year of study amidst ministry followed by one year of ministry internship. The study involves reading, discussion, prayer, and Bible exposition. The internship involves observing, helping, doing, and leading ministry under the theological guidance of an experienced mentor. Currently, we have one full-time intern and three other students.
Please pray for these men, and for their future ministry. We live in exciting days, but also in days when the knowledge of God is lacking, and the people of God are suffering because of it. May the Lord grant us to be faithful with the opportunities ahead of us!