The Gideonite Training Program (GTP) was inaugurated as part of the means to fulfil the vision of world evangelization (Matt 28:19). It is essentially a program in which missions-minded individuals form into teams for training and deployment in the various mission fields and church planting sites. There they seek to plant churches, which, in turn, will perpetuate the missions vision by sending out their own teams and reaching the lost. Since its inception the participants in the program have continued to develop in their Christian experience and acquire a vision for reaching the lost of the world. Many have gone on to be leaders in the church.
The GTP is sponsored and co-coordinated by the corporate missions offices of VFC in co-operation with the various regions of the Singapore church and the missions churches. Application for involvement in the program is made to the regional church office or the missions office of VFC (interested persons may secure full information about the program from those offices). The basic program usually covers duration of 12 – 15 months. It may be longer if special language studies are required. The basic program of training consists of several phases including: preparatory, local and field training and a re-entry phase. When language study is required, an additional preliminary phase and possibly a second intensive phase can be involved, depending on the target field. In such cases a special extended and more intensive program is designed to meet the particular language needs. Students may earn foreign language credits with ATC for these language studies.
The basic GTP consists of the following four phases:
- GTP PHASE I:This is a three-month preparatory program that provides potential Gideonite candidates with an overview of the entire program. It is held weekly and is non-residential and free of charge. It is the recommended prerequisite to being selected as a member of the Gideonite team.
- GTP PHASE II (EV 104 Practical Evangelism – Two Credits):
Once selected and approved for admission into the Gideonite team, the trainee spends three months in a local residential training program. Training combines practical and classroom studies that aim to equip the future Gideonite with the skills necessary for cross-cultural evangelism and discipling. Trainees are required to pay a nominal fee as help towards defraying the overall cost of running such an extensive program.
- GTP PHASE III (EV 105 Practical Evangelism – Four Credits): This is the natural extension of Phase II. It is the overseas assignment where the trainees put into practice all that they have learned and experienced in the local training. The “on field” assignment lasts from nine to twelve months and has the aim of planting a new church.
- GTP PHASE IV: Upon returning from foreign service, all Gideonites are required to attend this course. This phase aims to provide returnees with opportunity to share their field experiences, reflect on these experiences, evaluate the personal changes and growth that have occurred and understand the challenges they will face as they re-enter the home culture. This course is a non-residential programme and runs over four half days at the church centre. This phase provides appropriate closure to the Gideonite program and facilitates a smooth transition into the home church life.
The GTP has as its aims to:
- Develop the individual into the basic Christian disciplines of prayer, fasting, worship, evangelism and discipling.
- Provide opportunity for church members to be involved in short term missionary endeavours that will have a lasting effect in their lives and the nations targeted.
- Provide opportunity for training and exposure for those who feel that they might have a full-time missions call.
- Plant a missions-minded church with VFC as its model in a strategic city of the world in obedience to the great commission.
ATC includes participation in Phase I, II and III of G.T.P. as its EV 104 (Two Credits) and EV 105 (Four Credits) Practical Evangelism core course requirements. When language study is involved and it is taken in a formal class, students may earn credit with ATC for the language studies and meet part or all of ATC’s foreign language requirements. The amount of credits depends on the particular course of study and time spent in it. Proper registration and reporting to ATC is required for credit to be granted and academic records kept (ATC tuition charge is waived because team members have already paid the Gideonite fees).