About Christian Leaders Institute
700 Washington Street
Grand Haven, MI 49417
970 Lake Carillon Drive Suite 300
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Illinois (AT Family of Faith Church: Attention Dr. David Feddes)
6645 Steger Road
Monee, IL 60449
Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) is a ministry of Christian Leaders, which is a 501 (c) three non-profit ministry. Christian Leaders Institute trains thousands of Christian Leaders including graduates in over 148 countries. See CLI Directory. Thousands of local Christian Leaders are graduating at Christian Leaders Institute.
Christian Leaders Institute seeks called local leaders who sense the call into ministry no matter what their financial situation looks like. Christian Leaders Institute offers high-quality ministry training. Local Christian leaders get training right where they live in connection with a local sponsor/mentor of their choosing.
The Case For Christian Leaders Institute
God’s spirit moves among people all the time. We can’t predict when someone will be open to hearing about His love, or talking about His grace. Yet God calls His people to be witnesses “to the ends of the earth.” He expects us to be ready.
Here’s the problem: Local Christian Leaders often don’t feel confident ministering to, witnessing to, or leading others who are seeking God. Our tendency is to look to the “official folks” — pastors and Bishops— who we think should feel competent in these situations. there Plus there are not enough pastors on the planet to minister to all the people who are seeking comfort and answers every day.
Ordinary, local Christian leaders around the world are in a perfect position to serve the seeking, hurting and needy people who surround them. They just need to know how. That knowledge is free and available to anyone, any time, through the online education offered by Christian Leaders International (CLI).
What Is The Need?
It seems like sharing God’s love should be so simple. His grace and forgiveness are not a complicated story! But evangelism is difficult when you don’t know how to talk about it. Since many people don’t have that training, it’s easier to leave that sharing to the professionals…the ministers, pastors, preachers who have been educated.
It used to be that anyone who wanted a Biblical education had to attend a seminary of some sort. And while seminary provides phenomenal education, it produces a rather homogenous crop of people who are essentially called to do the same thing in the same way. It is also only available to people who have the means and the access to attend.
Where does that leave the full-time mom who wants to minister to the women in her neighborhood? Where does that leave a college student who already has a crushing debt load but feels called to share God’s love on campus? How does that help a Pakistani farmer whose passion to learn the Bible can’t be fed in a classroom because it’s illegal to be a Christian in his country? These local leaders have lacked opportunities for quality ministry training.
Here’s the reality that so many local leaders face. “I want to learn more about the Bible and to effectively evangelize to those who don’t know Christ. However, as a single mother of three, I can’t afford classes, or be away from my children to attend a class.”
If we want to follow God’s call to make disciples in every nation, then seminary cannot be the only access point for Biblical training. We also need something ubiquitous: something easily accessible and barrier-free around the world. That “something” is free web-based CLI education courses.
What Is Our Unique Approach to Filling that Need?
The Spirit wants to set people on fire for God, and CLI stokes that fire by bring local leaders high-quality ministry training free of charge.
There are three reasons why our online model works so well to fill the need for accessible education. First, it removes the barriers of time, place and money. Each learner sets their own pace. All the lectures, books and tests can be completed anywhere in the world. All it takes is internet access and a web-enabled device such as a smart phone or tablet. That’s revolutionary for developing countries, which have skipped the whole desktop-computing model and gone straight to cellular. How prevalent are cell phones? A stunning little statistic from a United Nations report says more people now have mobile telephones around the world than have access to a flush toilet! And because the classes are all free, there is no financial barrier standing between any learner and the Bible. The path to knowledge stands wide open
The second reason this model is so effective is that it provides “learning in context.” For example, if you extract a farmer from India and bring him to America for seminary, you’ll have someone who is ready to pastor in America a few years down the road. If you allow him to stay in his own country, he can start using what he has learned immediately while he works the fields each day. He can share and tailor the message to the community in which he lives and works. Online learning equips people to minister immediately in their sphere of influence. That makes their learning practical, relevant and rewarding.
And third, the online model of education easily reaches underserved and diverse populations. For example, what chance does an ex-convict have of attending and succeeding in seminary? But who better to minister to ex-convicts than someone who has walked in their shoes? Testimony is, after all, power. Or take pastors throughout Africa, 90% of whom receive no pay because their village can’t afford it. These people serve others for love’s sake, not to put bread on the table. Online training is the only viable option for them. Without it, they would not be served at all. With it, they can be effective immediately.
We do this on an annual budget of approximately $900,000. Just for comparison, note that a Michigan public university with 61,000 students has an annual budget of more than $6.6 million! CLI is cost-effective, because there are no bricks and mortar to maintain. Professors are employed to post CLI classes that include test and quizzes. Once the class is posted, the class can be repeated.
All of CLI’s funding comes through private sources:
- 60% from foundations
- 40% from students or other donors
Education for students is free. But many of them give, albeit small gifts, because they are so grateful for the education and the opportunity. In fact, student gifts make up just over 10% of annual revenue.
So what would CLI do with more money? That’s easy: reach more students! They can translate CLI into other language than English. Right now, all the classes and materials are offered in English. Spanish is in the works, and French is the next target language. Why French? If you go back to the purpose of CLI, it is to equip lay people with the training to minister effectively in their sphere of influence. French-speaking countries mostly were “passed over” when Christianity spread throughout the western hemisphere. So now there is a huge lay leadership void in those places. CLI courses are the perfect way to reach millions of people with the Gospel for perhaps the first time.
The beautiful thing, however, is that CLI knows how to create online learning in any language. Our processes can be replicated in other languages as quickly as we raise the funds to translate our materials. Funding is the only constraint.
It’s easy to relegate the work of sharing the salvation story to the professionals. The word “pastor” has become synonymous with “minister” in the English language. It is often used to refer to someone with advanced training and a specific job responsibility in the church.
Yet the origin of the word is much different. The word “pastor” comes from the Latin, meaning “feeder.” So in a very real sense, every local leader is called to be a “pastor.” The Great Commission clearly sets out our responsibility to “make disciples” — to feed people with the truth for which they hunger and thirst. It doesn’t say anything about going to seminary or being ordained, or quitting our day jobs. It just tells ordinary people to share God’s love wherever they are. That could be at work, home, as a Bible study leader or an outreach director, or even as the leader of a church.
God uses ordinary, local Christian leaders to communicate His love and the good news of His salvation. Jesus called fishermen to be his disciples…you can’t get much more ordinary than that! However, he also provided “on the job training” so that they were ready to take up the mantle of leadership once He returned to heaven. Lay people around the world are positioned to impact the people around them with God’s love and the gospel story. They just need the training to help them succeed.
CLI equips believers all over the world with the knowledge and skills to share the Gospel message with the people around them. They become stronger Christians who can “pastor” and feed the hearts of people who are hungry for hope of something beyond this life.