Praise God for Speed-The-Light because without it our ministry in South Dakota would have been impossible.
What we did in South Dakota
When we first arrived in South Dakota we worked in Black Hills Indian Bible College. The college produced several graduates all of which went into Native American ministry. However, it quickly became obvious that most potential students were not going to move to Rapid City to attend college. The first response to this understanding was to create extension classes based on the college’s curriculum. This drew many students to take one class but did not really fit well with the need.
In 2004 the college transitioned into Institute for Ministry Development (IMD) and began using the Berean School of the Bible curriculum. The typical class then met once a week in a local church near the student’s residence for about 2 hours a night for 7 weeks. John and Gay lived in Rapid City and drove to these class locations. Another approach was the use of interactive video like Skype over the Internet equipment to allow for classes beyond the distance that can be driven in one day. This method allowed complete interaction with the students with almost as personal an approach. We also used the telephone to do whole classes in one-on-one situations when the Internet was not an option.
In addition to Berean classes that are aimed at students preparing for full time ministry, we produced seminars based on the felt needs of the local church. These varied greatly in subject but were custom designed to respond to the requests of the pastor. The aim was to support the pastoral staff and leaders as they grow and respond to the needs of their congregations. The participants were usually the leaders of the church such as board members and teachers.
With this approach to ministry we often referred to ourselves as mobile classrooms. Typically we drove to a location, carried in books, handouts, and a projector. We then setup, taught class, tore down, and drove home. It made for some very long days but it also produced results.
In 2007, all but one of the Certified Ministerial Candidates were John and Gay's students. The picture on the right shows the candidates with their spouses as they are being prayed over by the South Dakota district officials. Over their last 8 years in SD 35 of their students were either credentialed or advanced in their credential by the Assemblies of God.