ITEM FAQ

What is ITEM?

ITEM stands for International Theological Education Ministries. It was also known as Christ for Russia, Christ for Ukraine, etc.

 

What does ITEM do?

ITEM has just one focus: to recruit and send Reformed pastors and professors from the U.S. and Canada to train national Christian leaders in other countries for ministry.

 

What is ITEM’s Mission?

To provide Biblically-based, Reformed teaching and training worldwide to indigenous church leaders for ministry.

 

Is ITEM fulfilling its mission?

Yes, in the last twenty years ITEM has trained over 5,000 national leaders.

 

Where has ITEM served?

We have worked and continue to work through various indigenous training centers such as Baltic Reformed Seminary in Riga, Latvia; Maranatha Bible College in Campina, Romania; Kiev Regional Bible College in Kiev, Ukraine; Reformed Bible Institute in Manipur, India; and Tyumen Bible College in Tyumen, Russia.

 

Are those the only places?

No. We are currently branching out into Croatia, Grenada, Lithuania, and other locations in India.

 

With all the online seminary courses and training DVD’s available, is ITEM’s work really necessary?

Yes. Many Christian leaders can’t afford a computer, aren’t where Internet is accessible, and can’t travel easily to seminaries or training centers in their countries.

 

Does it make a difference to have instructors traveling to the students?

Yes. It’s incarnational. God could have dropped down the Bible to us, but as Hebrews 1 says, “In these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” National Christian leaders want instructors they can see, ask questions of, and get to know face to face. Since many of these leaders are training to become pastors, they especially appreciate teachers with pastoral experience.

How much does it cost to send an instructor?

Usually $1,800 to $2,500, depending on the time of year and location. This includes airfare, other travel, and accommodations. Through a generous investor, ITEM gives up to $1,500 to first-time instructors in exchange for the instructors asking their churches to place ITEM in their future budgets.

 

Is that economical?

You decide. This year an instructor trained 100 Indian national leaders in 3 locations for a cost of $1.38 per student classroom hour.

 

What is ITEM’s budget?

This year our budget is $175,520 which covers the travel costs of our Executive Director and Director of Development, bookkeeping, newsletters and prayer letters production and distribution, web site maintenance, telephone, electronic fund transfers, publishing costs, annual financial audit, insurance, and institutional support, onsite training centers administration and support.... It does not include the instructor costs.

 

Is ITEM effective?

By God’s grace, yes. For example, from 1998 to 2003 several ITEM instructors trained a number of students in Romania. When Romania became part of the European Union in 2007, many of those students moved to other countries such as Italy and Spain in search of work. Within a few years they had planted churches among Romanian emigrants in those countries.

 

What do ITEM’s instructors teach?

We work with the national church leaders to develop curricula that meet their needs and fit their educational levels. We have almost a dozen modules that can be adapted to the students’ abilities, past training, and circumstances.

 

How many days of instruction are needed to cover a training module?

Usually a week or two, with instructors teaching about 15-30 hours, often in the evenings so that the students can work during the day.

 

Do I have to know the language to go?

No. Translators are supplied by the denomination desiring the training.

 

Is this really relational when the instructor is only there for a short time?

It can be. Many of our instructors go back again and again to teach in the same location. And where possible they are encouraged to continue contact through email.

 

Is ITEM a good investment of scarce mission dollars in a local church?

Absolutely. The low cost of the student classroom hours, the multiplying results when leaders who are trained immediately turn around to train their church leaders and members, and our careful oversight of your investment make ITEM economical, efficient, and effective.

 

Will ITEM help me if I want to serve as an instructor?

Certainly. We help you with your questions about passports, visas, travel arrangements, insurance, what to expect when you get to the location, and contacts with the leaders there.

 

Is ITEM Reformed?

Completely. All board members and instructors must subscribe to at least two of these historic Reformed statements of faith: the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, the Belgic Confession, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dordt. Furthermore, we teach only Reformed doctrine in our classes.

 

 Is ITEM PCA?

No. ITEM is interdenominational, but the denominations are all Reformed and Presbyterian.

 

How is ITEM directed?

By a board of directors, currently 11, laypersons and pastors from the Presbyterian Church in America, the United Reformed Church, the Associate and Reformed Church, and the Christian Reformed Church.

 

How might serving as an instructor help me and my church?

ITEM instructors return to their own local churches energized with a renewed vision for Christ’s Kingdom, and their churches’ view of Christ’s Kingdom is expanded.

 

How can I find out more about ITEM?

Simply explore this website - www.item.org or email us at lwhesterberg.item@gmail.com.