Augustine Program

Purpose:

To provide applied biblical training for God's people in the region to consciously integrate their lives and ministries, "to be diligent and to present themselves approved to God as workmen who do not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15 & 3:16,17).

Means:

To carry out this strategy, MERF provides a combined program of instruction, study and research, relevant to the needs, struggles and obligations of the church in the region. This program is adaptable towards candidates of differing academic abilities.

Program Structure:

The core of the program consists of scheduled periods of training, varying in length and academic levels, built around specific and relevant themes. These programs are not intended to provide mere theoretical or academic knowledge; rather they are designed for the provision of in-depth practical application of biblical doctrine. The scope of the program will range from relatively complex theological issues confronting the Lord's people to relatively simple issues concerning daily life and conduct. These programs are also designed to provide certain candidates with a systematic scheme of continuing education. The research facilities provide an open opportunity for pastors and others to spend time away from their labors for quiet study, research, relaxation and spiritual and bodily refreshment. These programs vary in duration from a few days to several weeks, depending on the availability of time for candidates and their differing needs.

Instructors:

So far as possible qualified indigenous instructors are assigned to prepare and lead sessions in the program related to areas of their own training and expertise. However, the program will regularly invite key Reformed pastors and recognized teachers from other parts of the world to participate in leading particular sessions. Instructors, indigenous or expatriate, make their own arrangements for the traveling expenses involved, in consultation with MERF. All leaders of sessions must subscribe to MERF's statement of faith.

Qualification of Candidates:

Candidates are selected at the recommendation of their churches. Regardless of academic achievement, a candidate must manifest evidence of dependence upon the living, triune God of the Scriptures for his own salvation and ministry. In addition to possessing obvious gifts for the ministry to which the Lord has called him (whether as pastor, evangelist, elder, deacon, Sunday school teacher, youth worker, etc.), the candidate must "not lag behind in diligence (but rather be) fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11), modeling his service after Christ who is the Chief Shepherd of the sheep (1 Peter 5:1-11).

Program Stewardship:

The main strategy of the program is to provide as much helpful training to as many candidates as possible at the most reasonable cost. Therefore it is expected that candidates will bear as much of the financial burden as possible. Churches and church agencies are encouraged to provide designated funds for the training of needy candidates associated with them.