The Haiti Collective partners with an indigenous network of churches under the leaders of Pastor Odanis Joseph. Currently there are 15 churches, 25 pastors, and roughly 70 total church leaders in the leadership network (including deacons, orphan school teachers, school superintendents, etc.). All of the pastors are competent in French and Creole, and most of them have some level of training and/or higher levels of education, though it is often inadequate.
What we discovered over the past three years is a Francophone philosophy of education that encourages the outsourcing of critical thinking and intellectual responsibility of the leadership. They are happy to be told what to believe and “repeat after me.” We working not only to train leaders theologically but to transform the way to think so that they can take greater ownership of the learning and thereby solve issues in study, hermeneutics, and stewarding the Word of God for the people of God in Haiti.
Network Bible Conference
We began our work in Haiti in January 2011 with our first network-wide Bible conference. This annual conference is three days long with 12-13 lectures with 4-5 Q&A sessions spaced throughout. Certificates of participation are provided for those who attend, as well as other literature and theological resources. These conferences are funded through The Haiti Collective and our partnering churches/sponsors, and include all of the expenses of those who attend. We have averaged 60-70 leaders attending each conference.
Each of our partnering churches in THC work with a specific local church in Haiti. The short-term mission trips involve orphan care (VBS), community outreach, service projects, and theological education. The afternoon block during the weak is dedicated to teaching and training local leaders, and affiliated churches and their leadership are invited to join as well. Typically, these micro-conferences are 4-5 days long with (2) 1½ hour teaching sessions each afternoon. Roughly 15-25 leaders will attend these micro-conferences.
In 2013, Pastor Joseph implemented learning cohorts with the pastoral leadership team. The pastoral team are provided with theological books and resources through THC which they learn and apply together over the course of the calendar year. The learning cohorts meet the last weekend of each month for prayer, accountability in learning, discussion/application, and fellowship. The cohort is overseen and administered by Pastor Joseph.
This program was created as a means to support pastors theologically through churches, small groups, and individual families. A church leader is “adopted” by a group of people who commit to (1) pray for the leader, and (2) provide monthly support which allows the leader to (a) build a theological library through THC distributed theological resources, (b) attend THC network training conferences, and (c) assist in practical/technological needs for pastoral development.
Theological Training Center
In 2012, 7 acres of land in Saint-Marc were donated to SCH/THC. Our hope is to build a theological training center that will serve as the THC HQ for operations as well. This training center could house up to 50 students in dorms, 3 professors/admin in mini apartments, and have various amenities including amphitheater classroom, bookstore, café/kitchen, library, office supply store/internet café, and commons area.
Annual Network Bible Conferences:
2011: The Nature and Centrality of the Gospel [Soteriology]
2012: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God [Providence]
2013: God’s Word: It’s Nature and Work [Scripture]
2014: Behold Your God! [Theology Proper]
2015: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life [Sanctification]
2016: Trusting God in All Circumstances [Leadership]
2017: The Marks of Faithful Gospel Ministry [Ecclesiology]
2011: 9 Marks of a Healthy Church [Saint-Marc]
2011: Youth Conference on the Gospel [Desarmes]
2012: Disciple-Making and the Great Commission [Desarmes]
2012: Biblical Manhood and Womanhood [Saint-Marc]
2013: Marks of a Faithful Leader: Exposition of 2 Timothy [Desarmes]
2013: The Cross of Jesus Christ: Passion and Purpose [Port-au-Prince]
2012: Quest for Joy by John Piper
2013: 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper
2013: The Dangerous Duty of Delight by John Piper
2014: Knowing God by J.I. Packer
2016: Introduction to Theology
2017: Dictionary of Biblical Theology
In the future, The Haiti Collective hopes to move from relief to development in the area of theological education. This means we continue to provide various venues to teach and train at a general level but focus on training trainers through partnership with an accredited institution for theological education. We would like to develop tiers of training through THC that would look like this:
Trainer Track (3-5 pastors) – for those who meet the education prerequisites and capable of handling degree-level training to become future trainers and educators through THC in Haiti. Venues would include seminary-level classes, learning cohorts, network conferences, and micro-conferences.
Leader Track (15-30 leaders) – for those in the leadership network who are actively learning and leading but do not have prerequisites to be a trainer. The venues would include network conferences and micro-conferences.
Apprentice Track (50+ apprentices) – for those in the churches who are being invested in for future leadership opportunities, whether orphan school teacher, deacon, or pastor. The venues would include micro-conferences.