FDM Training for Seminary in Europe
Last year I was approached by my pastor and the missions team at my church about teaching online for Warsaw College of Theology and Social Sciences located in Warsaw, Poland. While a decent portion of its students attend classes onsite in Poland (residential studies), the rest of the students reside around the world and attend classes online (distance studies). The college also serves as a seminary, offering a degree in Ministry and Theological Studies, otherwise known as the MATS program. I was asked to teach seminary students in the MATS program and was happy to accept this opportunity since I was given the latitude to propose whatever course I wished to teach. I knew teaching FDM’s discipleship material at the seminary level would be a different experience compared to the online training I normally do with various international groups of pastors.
The course I proposed was Discipleship for Marriage & Family, which the college approved for me to teach in the 2023 Spring semester, a total of 15 weeks of classes. Here’s the course description I wrote up for the students:
A fifteen-week course that leads off with an overview study of the biblical foundations, connections, and practices of marriage and family in the Old Testament and New Testament. Following this, you will learn not only God’s purposes for marriage but also how to establish a foundation for a successful godly marriage. Entailed in this is learning the nature of true love and understanding God’s design for how marriage meets the companionship needs unique respectively to husbands and to wives, along with biblical instruction and principles for Christian parenting.
I started teaching in February and for the first five classes I provided an overview on God’s foundational design for marriage and family as given to us in the Old Testament and then as given in the New Testament. In the remaining ten weeks of the semester I covered all the FDM workbook volumes in both the Marriage Is A Ministry series and Parenting Is A Ministry series.
Since this was a seminary level course in the MATS program, the students were expected to be tested, assessed, and given a final grade for the course. A significant part of their final grade had to do with how much thought and reflection each student gave to answering the multiple forum questions I posted at the beginning of each week. As you would expect, every question had to do with getting them to think through the biblical instructions, examples, and principles regarding how we should understand Christian discipleship in the context of marriage and family. Our class Q&A time was always a lot of fun as the students regularly peppered me with their questions, always asking my thoughts on various scenarios they brought up.
Of 19 total students, half were single and the other half already married. The international mix of the class included students from Poland, India, Africa, Pakistan and Venezuela. As the semester started off I could tell that the students were fairly skeptical about how valuable this course would be for them. In their mind, they were already learning from many good theology classes and biblical studies, so how would a course on marriage and parenting teach them anything more valuable and important? As you would expect, it was especially gratifying for me to see that as the semester went on, these same students began to realize more and more just how essential these core biblical truths on family discipleship are. By the end of the semester both the single and married students expressed to me how much this course equipped them with the biblical concepts and principles for practicing family discipleship in the home as well as teaching and implementing these things in the local church. I was very much blessed teaching these seminary students and I believe most of them wound up considering this class as being a blessing to them as well. All glory and thanks to the Lord!
By God’s grace the seeds we are sowing now will reap a harvest unto the Lord. Please pray for the Lord to be glorified through these international outreach efforts, and bring a revival of discipleship in these and many other countries.
Dr Jonathan KingExecutive Director FDM Institute
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