Who is aTEEZ Tutor?

A Tutor leads a TEEZ Study Group as they teach one another about preaching.

Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ) is part of a larger global T.E.E. movement.  Because of our specific passions and the particular needs in Zambia, TEEZ’s vision and purpose is to equip all Christians with theological training so they will fall more in love with Jesus, more truthfully speak about Jesus, and more confidently and skillfully serve Jesus and the people around them.  We are convinced that all Christ-followers have been called as ministers and priests serving and leading in their churches and their communities.  Sometimes this will take the form of professional, paid staff positions at churches, but far more often it will entail worshiping and witnessing to Christ in secular work places, churches, and neighborhoods on a day-to-day basis.

For these reasons TEEZ offers non-residential training for Christians in their hometowns, and we do so by training people, called “TEEZ Tutors,” to then train others.  Instead of hiring professors or establishing campuses, we train men and women to lead small groups called, “Study Groups,” that work through theological courses and Bible studies.  These TEEZ Tutors are not often seminary-trained, or even experienced in leading discussion groups, but they are excited to learn more about God and God’s Word.  During our training of TEEZ Tutors, we teach them ten lessons about things like group dynamics, facilitating conversations, and about how God can use training to grow our faith.

TEEZ Tutors then lead Study Groups in introductory courses of Preaching, Teaching, Counseling, Worship, Leading Church Meetings, using materials that we produce at the TEEZ office in Zambia, so that they will be theologically sound, culturally relevant, and aesthetically enjoyable.  As an ecumenical project of nine different denominations in Zambia, TEEZ gathers input and editorial insight from numerous theologians and pastors in the crafting of these courses and Bible studies.  We want to make sure that we are teaching theology that reflects the common faith C.S. Lewis called “Mere Christianity.”

Each of these Study Groups will meet weekly for six months, hosting the same group of 3-12 participants.  The TEEZ Tutor facilitates the conversations and helps these participants share leadership responsibilities and wisdom as together they learn more about the subject material and the Bible.  Each week, the group will spend their time together in three ways:  first, a student will share the assignment they prepared (i.e. in the Preaching Course, a student will share their sermon; in Teaching they will share a lesson plan), then the students spend time studying the subject material (i.e. Preaching, Teaching, Counseling), and finally the students spend some time in a Bible Study.  Each week they receive an assignment for the next week that puts their lessons into practice.

Thus our TEEZ trainings have three integral learning parts.

  1. Individual Study – Students study the material on their own in their homes.
  2. Group Study – Students study and discuss the materials as a group learning from one another.
  3. Practical Work – Students apply what they’ve learned in practical assignments.

As tutors lead and students complete these courses, they learn more of the Bible, learn to preach, teach, administer, and counsel better, and they learn more about each other as they each try to follow Christ.

We think the benefits of this kind of training are numerous.

  1. It liberates, frees, and encourages Christians to think of themselves as active participants in the work of the Church.  As J.D. Graeer says, “You don’t volunteer in your church any more than you babysit your own kids.”
  2. Christians are motivated to serve as they learn more and more about the Savior who loved and served them at infinite cost, even when they hated him.
  3. This training is available to all members of the Church regardless of education level, literacy, language, age, and/or economic resources.
  4. The training travels to the students, cutting costs extraordinarily compared to a residential seminary education.
  5. The material is immediately contextualized by the people who know and understand the context best.  Thus, the leaders and members of the congregation decide both which training is most appropriate for their needs, the people called to and gifted for the training, and the best applications of that training in the church.
  6. Students are able to retain their traditional employment and fulfill family responsibilities as grow as Christ’s disciples and minister in the places where Christ has already placed them.
  7. TEEZ closes the power and education differential between laity and clergy, practically affirming the validity of every Christian’s role as a disciple and a minister, a doctrine traditionally called “The Priesthood of All Believers.”
  8. Knowing the Bible and how to study the Bible together are indispensible for people who believe it to be the book inspired by God to reveal the truth of reality and the goodness of God to humans.  If it is actually the inspired word of God, then it is the most important book ever printed; so, for us to die having never read or studied it (despite reading the entire Harry Potter series twice and watching every episode of Seinfeld) is not just hypocritical, it is inexcusable.
  9. Studying the gospel with other people allows us to practice articulating our faith, freeing us to share our faith more readily with non-Christians.
  10. Our enjoyment of God and God’s gospel increases, as we know more of God and his love of us. This is the purpose of humans:  To glorify God and enjoy God forever; or as one pastor likes to say, to glorify God BY enjoying God forever.