As a former mission partner who worked with the Christian Brethren Churches of Papua New Guinea, I want to acknowledge the strategic significance of the Global Connections Scholarship Fund. With its support, each decade dozens of young leaders have completed Bible training in their home countries and begun ministries as teachers, preachers, chaplains and translators—bringing the gospel to people who few others can reach.
Although the CBC churches have a number of local and several regional Bible schools that operate largely on local resources, in PNG the Christian Leaders Training College (CLTC) has provided virtually the only accessible higher-level theological training. As an interdenominational college, centrally located at the Banz campus in the Jiwaka Province, along with two satellite campuses in Lae and Port Moresby, CLTC is the leading institution offering sound evangelical training for the Brethren churches, alongside many other church groups.
Since CLTC was formed in 1964, it has served the CBC network of churches with a flow of graduates who have moved into a range of ministries. These leaders have strengthened its churches and the mission outreach both within PNG and overseas.
One of the challenges CBC faces is that most of its 460+ churches are located in some of the most remote and least economically developed parts of the country. Most CLTC students face not just student fees, but also the cost of travel to and from remote corners of the country—most often by air. Thankfully, fares on Mission Aviation Fellowship planes have been heavily subsidised in recent years, but churches located in impoverished areas still find it difficult to cover the costs of training and travel.
As PNG has developed, churches have faced new challenges to faith and Christian witness. To meet these challenges, CLTC has set higher standards for students. Training has gone from certificate levels to diploma, primary degree and even post-graduate qualifications. At the same time, the college has been working to become less reliant on overseas financial support. The larger proportion of the fees, ideally, comes from the home churches of prospective students. This is a particularly big challenge for students from less developed parts of the country.
The GC3 Scholarship Fund, established in 1996, plays a major role in equipping younger leaders from remote areas to disciple others. Between 2016 and 2019, 11 students and couples received help from this fund to pay for their training and sometimes their travel costs.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you a few of their stories. They prove the value of raising up national leaders who can reach others through a range of Christian ministries. If you’d like to be part of this, contact Sefton Marshall on 06 357 8388 or contribute to the fund by making a donation.