Jordan (MNN) — The Program for Theological Education By Extension, or PTEE, is a unique seminary by extension, with the Ministry Center located in Amman, Jordan. PTEE strives to provide affordable training and bring it to Christians wherever they live in the Arab world.
Need for on-Location Seminary
But, why is this important? PTEE’s Kristyn Kuhlman says, “For example, Iraq and Syria, there are no seminaries or Bible institutes. So, someone living in Iraq, someone living in Syria, their only option would be to perhaps go to a seminary in Cairo, in Lebanon, in Jordan.”
She continues, “And just like [what] happens in the States often, when someone goes to a residential seminary or college in a different city, in a different country, they don’t return back to their home village or their home community.”
These churches then lose their leaders. Plus, the visa process can take months and is determined by governments and influenced by the region’s politics. Travel visas and passport issues aside, it’s still hard for an individual to leave their home for seminary. Young adults are expected to help support their families. Furthermore, the average age of PTEE students is 37, which means these individuals already have jobs and families to care for.
“The value of on location by extension education that we do at PTEE, first of all, we bring the education to the communities, to the churches. So, that the father who is working to support his family, he can study seminary classes…after hours, not having to leave his job, not having to leave his family, not having to leave his church.”
A lot of PTEE’s students are already lay-pastors or teachers. When education is brought to them, they’re able to immediately apply what they’re learning in the classroom to how they teach their congregations. And since PTEE’s students usually only take one class at a time, they’re able to focus on a single subject rather than trying to learn four at once. These students who are currently serving can also receive practical ministry credit for their work. That is, as long as it relates to the class they are taking.
And recently, PTEE has been invited to establish a PTEE extension program in Algeria by a brother in Christ.
“He’s shared with us that the church, right now it’s being run by men who are volunteers, but none of them have any theological training. And there’s a concern, they are concerned that false doctrine might creep in because they themselves have not had theological training,” Kuhlman explains.
However, the cards have flipped. Now PTEE is having issues with getting the correct visas to send its trainers to Algeria. It’s another challenge the movement between countries brings.
“Within each country we actually designate national committees because we believe in each country, they know the situation of their church the best,” Kuhlman says. “So, we will work in Algeria, in Jordan, in Egypt, in Syria, in Iraq, these different countries to have a national committee that they can run the PTEE activities for their country. And one of the reasons is we can’t [run it] from a ministry center in Amman, Jordan.”
If PTEE tried to make the trips to these different countries, it would take months before they could take place. So please, will you come alongside PTEE’s vision of equipping and training the Church in the Arab World?
Be Prayerful, Be Active
If so, start by praying. Pray for our Arab brothers and sisters, for their safety, encouragement, and perseverance. Also, pray for PTEE’s access to more countries across the Arab world. Pray that more Christians in this area would become aware of PTEE and utilize its classes.
And finally, please pray for the Arab Church. It’s not easy for them to be followers of Jesus when it makes them a religious minority.
Another way to tangibly help is to give towards PTEE’s ministry. Since PTEE keeps class costs low enough for individuals to be able to afford them in their home country, PTEE relies heavily on donors and investors to help supplement the rest of the costs of running a class.
“By investing in PTEE, all the money is used to provide theological education for our students. So, giving to PTEE, we have donors who give $10 a month and that blesses us,” Kuhlman explains.
“What seems little in the United States goes so much further in this part of the world.”
To learn more about PTEE, click here!