Ministry Update from Sean Ransom
March Update from the Philippines
Teaching the Heart as well as the Head
In our preaching program, we spend focused time discipling our students in an effort to help develop their character. This time has proven very valuable as we challenge our students to allow God's Word to transform their hearts and not just inform their heads. It's not enough to simply understand the information contained in the Bible, to parse verbs, explain the finer details of theology, and perform ministerial functions. We not only want to help our students to be skilled at handling the Word of God in their pulpits, but also be skilled at living it out in their thought lives, choices, marriages, parenting, relationships, and in their leading and serving of others.
Here is an example of how we do this. During one of our discipleship times, one of our students asked for advice on how to handle a situation in his church. He explained that one of his fellow pastors, who is respected and influential in his church, was physically abusing his wife. I believe that our student knew the right thing to do from Scripture, but he feared what might happen in the church if he obeyed it.
Rebuking an older man like that could send shock waves through the church and could even risk a church split (which the older pastor had threatened if anyone would attempt to discipline him). In this situation, our student might be tempted to handle this based on fear; fear of losing members and fear of losing income. I reminded him that when we obey God 's Word and do the right thing, He is faithful to work for our good and His glory no matter what our circumstances are.
I discussed with our students the importance of honoring God by protecting women and anyone under the abusive pastor's influence, no matter what the consequences might be. I reminded them that a heart that has been transformed by God's Word will not fear the threats of men and will not doubt God's faithfulness.
TMAI and Shepherd's Conferences 2017
On February 24 and 27, I had the privilege of attending the TMAI Symposium, followed by the Shepherd's Conference at Grace Community Church. I joined thousands of men to sit under the teaching of men such as John MacArthur, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Michael Reeves, Ian Murray, Conrad Mbewe, Phil Johnson, Tom Pennington and Paul Washer.
A highlight of the Symposium for me was when I got to join a dialogue with the representatives of other TMAI training centers and partners in our region. Men from the Philippines, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, India and China talked about how we might support each other and work together in the region.
We were also joined by several students from the Master's Seminary who are interested in the possibility of joining or starting TMAI training ministries in Asia. These young men asked great questions as they sought advice on how to best prepare for a future of training nationals.
Another highlight was receiving John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue's new book, Biblical Doctrine. This will be the Expositor's Academy's new text book for all of our future theology classes. We also received the book, Christ Alone. This book was produced by TMAI and written by faculty representatives of all the TMAI training centers throughout the world.
The Impact of Serving in the Church on Theological Education
The Lord gently reminded me that something was missing in my life. After several years of teaching and having no official ministry in the local church, I was asked to join the team of elders at my local church, Greenhills Christian Fellowship East. In just the last three months, it has been such a joy to increase my commitment to serve in the church and to be more integrated into church body life.
However, when I was asked to pray about joining the elders, I only thought about how it might help the church and I didn't think about the benefits that it would also have on our training ministry. The opportunity to increase my involvement with our church is helping to make me a better teacher as I gain more practical experience and insights into pastoral ministry. Thank you Jesus for this double blessing, to serve you in our local church and to grow as a teacher for our students.
Updates on The Expositor's Academy
Currently, we offer two programs, Biblical Studies and Expository Preaching and Pastoral Ministry. In the Biblical Studies program, there are about 120 students who meet at four churches on two islands. In the Expository Preaching and Pastoral Ministries program, there are about 67 students who meet on four islands. As far as Future Plans, we are beginning to lay down plans for expanding our training ministry and developing a Master of Divinity and/or Ministry program in the next five years.
- Pray for the Miller family (Jeff and Kristen, and their three little boys,) who are visiting us to survey the Philippines and consider joining our team.
- Pray for our students who are studying with us in six locations on three different islands.
- Pray that our kids would all be granted faith in Christ and that they would use their lives for God's glory.
- Pray that Sean would have wisdom as he serves as an elder in our local church.
- Pray for Jessica as her counseling and discipling ministries grows.
- Pray for our family's health.
- Continue to pray for baby Evangeline as we learn to live with her many food allergies and that she would grow out of them.
- Pray for our team-mates the Greene family as they go on a short furlough.
- Pray for our son Kian as he and his girl friend begin talking about marriage.
- Last, please pray for God to give us wisdom in every decision we make, that all of our choices and actions are made with His glory in mind.