< back to articles

SCBT extension in Siberia: TMAI Travels East

This January, thirty-five Russian men stepped into a classroom, excited to learn about the biblical mandate for expository preaching. For each of them, the course was the next step in a commitment they have made to become preachers and teachers in the Russian church.

For The Master’s Academy—and for the teacher of that course, Eric A. from the Samara Center for Biblical Training (SCBT)—the gathering represented something more. The course didn’t take place in the usual setting for Eric. The location for this course was the city of Irkutsk, 2,500 miles (4,000 km) east of Samara, in the portion of eastern Russia most of the world calls Siberia.

The course is the first in a series that SCBT leadership plans to offer in Irkutsk over the next three years. Others will include “The Biblical Foundation of Expository Preaching,” “Homiletics,” “Hermeneutics, “The Basics of Theology” and “Preaching Genres of the Bible.”

Irkutsk is one of the largest cities in eastern Russia, and for years, men there have inquired about the possibility of receiving TMAI training there.

“Moving forward, the opportunity in Irkutsk is significant for training pastors in the far east of Russia that have often been neglected because of their location,” commented one of SCBT’s leaders. “The prospect for them to impact their region is momentous, so we are excited to train these men, as well as to lead annual pastors’ conferences that will have an even broader impact.”

Over the next three years, SCBT will offer a modular training program in Irkutsk. Session two will take place in May with sessions to follow in the summer and the fall. It is important to note that this extension comes as a result of a request from the regional pastor (and other pastors) in the area. The church in eastern Russia is hungry for God’s Word; its leadership is asking TMAI to help train its teachers.

This new program represents the ideal model of growth for all of TMAI’s training centers. An established, mature training center is responding to a need from another part of the country—a need to duplicate the model of the flagship training center.

To relieve the burden of a heavy teaching load on the SCBT instructors, some of the teachers in Irkutsk will be SCBT graduates. This also illustrates the TMAI model of discipleship and training (2 Timothy 2:2) that has been the hallmark of SCBT since its beginnings.

This is how God uses TMAI to strengthen and grow His church.