ASIA-PACIFIC LEADERSHIP ACADEMY LAUNCHED
By Gordon Ferguson and Rolan Monje
The inaugural course of the APLA is taking place in March and April, with the Seminar session having been taught by Gordon Ferguson in Manila on March 6-9. Thus far, the Academy promises to be a resounding success! For the first course, we have a total paid enrollment of 36, with another 3 auditing the course. The students are from ministries in five countries: the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Guam (USA). The majority of those from the Philippines are from the various provinces where we have churches planted. The large majority of the students have at least a Bachelor’s Degree, and some are presently pursuing Master’s and Doctoral level degrees. One third of them are not currently in full-time ministry staff positions, but were anxious to spend the necessary time and money to be better equipped to best serve their people. The hearts and diligence of all the students are absolutely inspiring examples of totally committed disciples of Jesus, wanting to follow his path of true spiritual leadership in being their best for God. Having key leaders like Cesar Lopez, Koko Enrile and Ken Chau in the Seminar was so encouraging, and their excitement about learning and growing personally was an upward call to those who view them as heroes. Continuing education is a huge need for all leaders, a concept thankfully shared by the top leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.
One of the goals of the Academy is to spread out the seminar teaching and other assignments in a way that significantly increases the retention rate normally experienced in just the Seminar approach alone. For most of our courses, the advance assignments will take place over the space of several months, and will include reading, answering assigned questions based on the reading, reviews, writing short research papers and taking tests − all of which will be followed up by a teaching Seminar of either three or four days (depending on the Track under which the course falls − Ministry, Shepherding or Elective). In this first course, however, on the subject of Homiletics (preparation and delivery of sermons), assignments were given to be done both before and after the Seminar session. Prior to the Seminar teaching, the written assignments involved hermeneutics (how to interpret the Bible). The follow-up assignments are to develop two written sermon outlines based on the principles we learned in the Seminar, and to produce in mp3 format one oral sermon − all of which will be evaluated on very specific criteria taught that cover all aspects of content and delivery.
The feedback of the students has been heart-warming and encouraging. Listen and let your hearts be encouraged too.This is the best class that ever happened to me as a leader. I'm so motivated to get deeper in my Bible study and to preach effectively to the church. I gained most when Gordon asked for volunteers to do a lesson and critiqued/gave comments afterwards. − Armel Villareal, 17 yr old disciple, church leader, Batangas City The APLA is awesome! I don't know if there's any other course like this that can help us learn the subject very well, and at the same time retain it in our hearts. − Oscar Rodis, non-full time church leader (14 yrs a disciple), Laguna Province The class was great. It was full of practical lessons, full of fun, and very encouraging & inspirational − Joselo Cimafranca, businessman & church deacon, Cebu City I learned the most about getting the context [of the Bible] and forming logical points from the text. − Allan Desacula, engineer, 5 yr old Christian, Bulacan City The course gave me a chance to study the heart and technique to prepare sermons, and also to have a great time to fellowship. − Doan Tran Hai, full time minister, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam I appreciate just being here and being given the opportunity by God to learn. Everything was filled with meaty stuff, but most importantly a lot of heart. − Vic Pineda, House Church Leader, Manila I feel that I've learned not only in the area of preparing a sermon, but also in putting my heart and life into the sermon. − Mon Calibuso, full time church leader, Laoag City I felt grateful and excited to be a part of this course and am looking forward to attending the next class. I found ways to structure the sermon and learn how to read the Bible deeper and make it come alive. − Boonsong Asawaworopong, missionary & minister, Bangkok, Thailand The APLA was excellent, inspiring and life-changing. I learned how to study the Bible contextually. − Vincent Literal, full-time church leader, Guam USA
Our next course, Sound Doctrine and Church Discipline, is a Shepherding Track course, but will also be taken by those in the Ministry Track. The confusion and unsettledness experienced by both leaders and members alike during the past several years calls for some clear and decisive teaching about biblical doctrines that are essential to our forward progress as a movement of God. This course will address the most essential areas in which confusion exists, and will produce more confidence in those who must boldly lead the way in strengthening churches and evangelizing their part of the Asian world. The Seminar sessions will be taught in June just prior to the Pan-Asia Church Leadership Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, followed immediately by a session taught in Manila, Philippines. Please be praying that God will continue to bless us powerfully as the Asia-Pacific Leadership Academy moves forward!