Training Christian leaders is a key tenet of SIM Niger’s vision. To that end, we continue to organise development of Christian education in all forms, and crucially try and make it available as widely as possible.
The Centre Biblique in Niamey offers a range of ministries and resources to equip Nigerien believers. The Bible College, which is better know as ESPriT (Ecole Supérieure Privée de Théologie) is the only advanced theological college in Niger, helping to meet the great need for pastors, teachers and evangelists who are able to delve deeply into God’s word. The school’s objective is to equip it’s students for diverse evangelical ministries with solid Biblical and theological training at a university level.
The Centre Biblique also offers other training courses, media resources, literature, a range of children’s ministry material, and biblical teaching on using music for worship and evangelism.
Aguie Bible Training School was founded by SIM in 1963, and given over to the EERN church in 1991. It offers courses for experienced church teachers, and also preparatory courses for teaching literacy in Hausa. There are also women’s Bible classes for the wives of advanced students. Currently, there are no missionaries working at the school, but management and funding support continues to be offered by SIM’s Maradi office.
The recently opened Fulani Ministry Training Center builds on the desire to offer theological training to the more nomadic Fulani people, who live north of Maradi. Having previously operated as a ‘dry season’ ministry, it is hoped that a permanent set of buildings will facilitate year-round training for the many who are eager to learn, alongside a ministry in agricultural development work. The church amongst the Fulani consists mainly of small numbers of dispersed believers throughout the country, so promoting gatherings of this kind is expected to help the church grow and mature.
Besides training, SIM Niger wishes to help support the continued ministry and development of Christian leaders. For example, in 2012 the completion of the French Pastor Book Set project saw around 400 sets of books to qualified pastors and laypeople. These sets included commentaries and other books which teachers value highly for improving their knowledge and preparing sermons. The project also seeks, on an ongoing basis, to encourage informal gatherings for discussion and review.
In another effort to resource the church, the call was felt to respond to the heart cry of evangelists and pastors for refreshment and encouragement. To facilitate this, and simultaneously create an unprecedented space for church conferences and events, work nears completion on Phase 1 of the Maza Tsaye Conference Center in Maradi.
The Center, offers dorms, classrooms, dining and kitchen facilities – and even as renovation is being finished, it has already been used for things like Sunday School teacher training, discipleship ministry, summer camps, workshops and marriage retreats.