Introduction to Jethro Foundation
Jethro is a training programme for pastors. Because of our conviction that building up the church begins with equipping its leaders, Jethro focuses entirely on the vital pastoral qualities needed to lead the church in a biblical manner. If a pastor grows in fellowship with God and in his vision of the task set before him, the church he serves will grow as well.
To equip pastors for their work, we take the five core responsibilities Jethro put before Moses in Exodus 18:19-23 as our starting point. Visiting his son-in-law in the desert, Jethro observed that Moses’ approach to leadership was exhausting both himself and the people. In his wisdom, Jethro offered Moses a basic toolkit for leading God’s people effectively.
Throughout the world, there is a great need among pastors for clear, Biblical teaching about their identity and their key responsibilities. Without such teaching, many struggle to fulfil their calling effectively. Particularly in countries in which the church is growing despite oppression and poverty, most pastors have little or no access to adequate training. This education deficiency has a huge impact on their work and their congregations. Spiritual heresies, syncretism and power abuse by pastors are widespread – and understandably so, if you consider the fact that many of these pastors have not had the opportunity of being thoroughly educated in Biblical pastoral principles. Thorough teaching is often either unavailable or too expensive. For many, however, attending a one- or two-week seminar or training programme several times a year aimed at learning and directly applying practical church leadership principles is a lot more feasible. It is this small window of opportunity that Jethro focuses on.
Jethro’s mission is to equip as many pastors as possible for effectively fulfilling the five core responsibilities of a pastor. We have developed five training modules of three days each to cover these core issues. Pastors working within a certain region are called together to be encouraged, built up and trained in their own language. The programme offers a challenging blend of theory and practical exercises. Our experience across several continents in the past few years has shown us that these courses are a tremendous blessing to pastors and their congregations.
Each core responsibility is outlined in simple language in an inspiring (training) manual. The manual is presented to participants in each course – ideally, in their own language. Jethro also has a website. Pastors can consult our site whenever they want to in order to gain new insights and ideas on any of the five areas of church leadership. In this way we’re pushing beyond the limitations of a one-off training experience and getting pastors involved in permanent education.
Jethro works in many different countries, though exclusively at the invitation of churches, seminaries or Christian organisations seeking to equip their pastors. We always work together with these local partners. During our courses, we also work with these partners to actively seek out pastors who might with additional education become trainers themselves. The purpose of this Train-The-Trainer approach is to raise up teachers who will eventually be able to educate pastors in their own countries, with permanent support and input from Jethro.
Jethro is all about permanent education. We use our professional website to constantly put out new literature and articles dealing with the five core responsibilities, along with fresh input and exercises for online training. We also have an online community, through which pastors who have participated in a training programme can stay in touch with one another.
In addition to training pastors, Jethro is also committed to pastors’ wives. Often these women are important role models for other women in their local communities, villages and neighbourhoods. Many pastor’s wives are called on as counsellors and problem solvers. Our aim is to encourage them and to equip them for Christian living by teaching them Biblical principles on marriage and family life.
Jethro is a foundation with an independent board. The board is responsible for safeguarding the long-term vision, validating the strategy and monitoring implementation. Our field team reports to the board on a regular basis regarding the realisation of the goals set by the board. Financial accountability is also included in these reports.
Jethro is directed by Ron van der Spoel, pastor and lecturer on practical theology.