We have a student who has completed the SMTI courses recently. He has done very well in all his courses. At the end of this letter I’ll include a portion of a response paper from the last class he took in our SMTI program. Our SMTI program consists of 44+ hours of instruction in the Introduction Course plus a ton of homework; 44+ hours of instruction in the Methods course plus a lot of homework; 44+ hours of instruction in the Theological Basis Course plus a ton of homework; 44+ hours of instruction in the Christian Life Issues Course plus a ton of homework; the same amount of instruction and homework in the Marriage and Family counseling course, the same in the Marriage and Family topics course; the same in the Problems and Procedures course and the same in the Observation and Practicum course. The man I am referring to is a college graduate and has worked in a very strategic administrative position for the South African Government as well as functioning as an assistant pastor in a local church. The pastor of the church where he ministers says Patrick exudes and implements the biblical counseling material in his church ministry. My purpose for writing to you about this man is to ask you if you have any idea of how we could raise the money to send Patrick to the USA to complete his training and receive a graduate degree in biblical counseling and at the same time work on becoming a certified counselor with ACBC. Patrick is a native African who could be one of the men who could make a credible impact for Christ and biblical counseling in southern Africa and beyond. He is gifted in administration and also in his understanding and application of biblical counseling. Furthering Patrick’s training and giving him exposure to the church and the leaders of biblical counseling in the USA could be of immense value to furthering Christ’s work here in Africa. He is a very humble man, but filled with the proper kind of holy fire and enthusiasm.
Recently I wrote to Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC, expressing my desire to establish a similar association here in southern Africa. Nine years ago I came to South Africa with a burden to not only teach biblical counseling, but also to establish a Southern African Association of Biblical Counselors. At that time my desire was to have a South African NANC. Now it would be to establish a Southern Africa Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. I’ve been so busy teaching and preaching and counseling that fulfilling my dream about forming an SAACBC has taken a back seat to other endeavors. Recently that dream has reappeared and I actually wrote a letter to a number of people in South Africa and also Namibia suggesting that we need an association similar to ACBC for certification and accountability and credibility in the area of biblical counseling/discipleship.Every response I received was very positive. I believe we have several men (pastors and leading laymen) who could form the leadership basis of such an organization. By this time it has been my privilege to give more than 200 people the same instruction that students in The Master’s College MABC received during the time I was chairman of the Biblical Counseling Department at TMC. Besides that, we have 3 people who have finished the TMC MABC with 2 of them also having an American Mdiv from Master’s Seminary and also a doctorate from Southern Seminary and Northwest University.
What, you may ask, does what you have just written about the need for a SAACBC relate to what you had previously written about Patrick? Answer: it relates in this way, Patrick, as I indicated is a black man who is fully committed to the sufficiency and superiority of the Scriptures in counseling. And he has a burden to reach and train black pastors (remember that 80% of South Africa is made up of black people). He wants to reach and teach pastors and other people and churches in the numerous southern Africa townships and settlements with the truth of Christ and His Word about eternal issues and very practical matters as well. In his concluding paper for his SMTI experience Patrick summarized his convictions in this way, “In a nutshell, the convictions I got from my biblical counseling training will flow into my counseling ministry and will help me to counsel with biblical authority… I am committed to continue to saturate my mind and life with the Word of God for personal purity, ministry effectiveness and God’s glory (Colossians 3:16; I Timothy 4:16). For me the discovery of biblical counseling is like gold hidden in a field for which we should sell everything, buy the field till the Lord comes (Matthew 13:44).”
In addition to Patrick, we also have another graduate of our SMTI program who could serve a strategic role in the advancement of biblical counseling among pastors and in churches. The situation here is much like it was in the USA when we established what was then called NANC. At that point, very few pastors or churches knew about truly biblical counseling. I know because I was one of them. That’s also the way it was in churches and among pastors when I came to South Africa. In fact, it was because I was told by two pastors who had ministered in Southern Africa for many years that this was the case that we came to South Africa to teach biblical counseling. Now, nine years after we came and a couple hundred students later the situation in reference to a commitment to and an understanding of the sufficiency and superiority of Scripture and Christ in dealing with the practical problems people face in life is still woefully lacking. So, in my judgment, we need more biblical counseling training and we need more pastors who are well trained and will join us in training others in this area of ministry. Well, in addition to Patrick we have another graduate of our SMTI program who could help us in this area. He is an American who has planted a church and has been ministering in a very large South African settlement for thirteen years. He, like Patrick, is thoroughly committed to what ACBC (The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) stands for in the area of theology and biblical counseling. And I am glad to say that this man, like Patrick, has also excelled in his SMTI studies.
I write all of this to ask you for prayer and also for ideas about the how and who of raising money to be able to sponsor these men so that they may receive more training in biblical counseling/discipleship. The work in which we are involved is called Strengthening Ministries Training Institute
(SMTI). In and through this ministry we are dedicated to and passionate about equipping Christians for ministry so that the church of Christ in Africa and beyond might be strengthened and Christ might be more fully exalted and glorified. To that end, we ask you for your prayers and ideas and even financial assistance so that we may sponsor the additional training of others who could then join us in fulfilling the purpose for which SMTI and all of us as Christians exist. Do you know of scholarship or funding programs (or people) that will take our SMTI students further than we have been able to take them? Thanks much for your consideration.
To God be the glory,
Dr. Wayne Mack
Director and Instructor at SMTI
Member of the Academy of ACBC