Membership Standards

Pathway to TMAI Membership

Membership Pathway

In order to become a TMAI member, a Training Center (TC) must progress through two stages: pre-candidacy and candidacy.  In the pre-candidacy stage, a training center will align itself with the pre-candidacy criteria listed below.  These criteria are the principal standards that TMAI deems essential for any training ministry.  These standards of excellence and stewardship are based not on the standards of a particular country, but rather on the standards held out in the Bible. The TMAI board will consider applications for candidacy only after a TC has demonstrated alignment with these qualifications.

Candidacy Criteria

Each stage has criteria that are split up into four categories: Theological, Academic, Administrative, and Personnel.  Pre-Candidacy criteria are as follows:

  • All faculty and board members sign the TMAI doctrinal statement annually
  • Demonstrate a track record of training that is already taking place which will include (in time) the training of pastor-teachers for biblical ministry
  • A network of local churches is in place which is sending students to be trained
  • Participation at TMAI regional Summits
  • Articulation of a clear goal for training (i.e., what will the end product look like)
  • A network of churches is in place which financially support the training ministry
  • Demonstrate a plan for using existing as well as new networks to recruit students
  • Approval by sending agency / local church to pursue TMAI membership
  • 2 TMS graduates present on the ground
  • Completion of initial language and cultural training by expats
  • Faculty and leaders are involved in local church ministry as language ability allows

*Notes: 1) Before starting on the Pre-Candidacy criteria, a TC should initiate a consultation with TMAI home office leadership. 2) Because a board of directors is such a far-reaching component of the TC, it is highly advised that formation of the board not be considered until the TC is in the candidacy stage.

Membership Criteria

After a school fulfills the pre-candidacy qualifications, they will submit a candidacy application to enter the official candidacy process.  The candidacy application would demonstrate that the TC has met all of the above criteria and desires to become a TMAI member school.  Once the candidacy application is submitted, the TC would have 2 years to complete the Candidacy requirements listed below.  The TC would enter the candidacy process with the understanding that at the end of the 2-year period, membership is not guaranteed even if all of the candidacy requirements are met.  Rather, membership remains at the discretion of the TMAI board.

  • All faculty and board members sign the TMAI doctrinal statement annually
  • Course descriptions must be done for each course being taught for each program (a template will be provided)
  • TC must demonstrate a consistent training ministry for the entirety of the 2-year candidacy process
  • TC must demonstrate that it has developed a pipeline of students to train, both currently and into the future
  • TC must have complete degree programs for the level that they are targeting.  That is, if a Preaching Certificate is being given, the TC must have the full curriculum for this program documented
  • Participation at TMAI Regional Summits
  • Candidate TC must partner with a current TMAI TC. The current TC will be designated by the TMAI board.  This partnership includes:
    • 2 site visits to the designated training center by the candidate school
    • 1 visit by TMAI member school to candidate school during the candidacy period (with an evaluation form filled out)
  • If the TC is considering the formation of an advisory board, TMAI requires that the board include at least one national leader and that membership on the board last for one year only, with renewal each year.
  • There is affirmation from the sending agency/local churches, and TC leadership that the faculty members and leadership of the training center meet the biblical qualifications for an elder (1 Tim 3, Titus 1) and are ordained or on the path to ordination as pastor-teachers.
  • The faculty and leaders of the center are all involved in local church ministry and accountable to an elder board in personal, family, and ministerial life.
  • The training center can demonstrate that it has in place a good plan for accountability which ensures that the members of the team (both expats and nationals) will be nurtured spiritually and admonished when needed.

At the end of the 2-year candidacy period, the TC will submit an application for membership, at which time the board will decide on whether to accept the candidate into membership or not.

Appendix 1: Membership Application

At the end of the 2-year candidacy period, the TC will submit an application for membership which will include the following documents:

  • Signatures of all faculty and staff on the TMAI doctrinal statement
  • Mission statement for each degree program offered
  • Course description for every course taught
  • Course offerings calendars for the next two years
  • Description of each degree program
  • Full Training Center budget, broken out by program
  • Description of the student application process
  • Description of enrollment/recruitment strategy
  • Description of the training facility
  • Description of strategy for placement of graduates
  • Endorsement letter from the network of churches sending students
  • Endorsement letter by partner TMAI training center leader
  • Listing of all faculty and advisory council members
  • Listing of students and graduates including their locations and ministries
  • Endorsement letter by sending agency/local church(es) affirming the elder qualifications of the expats
  • Organizational chart listing all staff, faculty, and board members

In addition to the application, the training center will be required to submit a 1-year and 5-year plan according to a template that will be provided by TMAI.  Topics of this plan will include:

  • Academic program goals and how to specifically meet those goals over the next 1 and 5 years (i.e. certificate, BA, MDiv, etc).  It is understood that each school’s goals will take into account the theological and educational context in which they find themselves.  So, in rural Africa, an MDiv program may be a longer term goal.
  • Financial projections
  • Financial self-sustainment strategy
  • Literature and resource needs (i.e. what textbooks will need to be translated, library needs, etc)
  • Long-term indigenization strategy

*TMAI membership is granted at the discretion of the TMAI board of directors. Fulfillment of membership criteria does not guarantee TMAI membership.

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