Milton Martin, a missionary to the Indians in Mexico, developed the program we used in Thailand. He has used Bible Correspondence courses as a key to his church-planting ministry for over 30 years. This program has helped establish hundreds of churches throughout the world.
His booklet, "How to Start a Correspondence School," is copied and inserted in this chapter with his permission.
We used this method in Thailand, and Philip Pope has a computer program that can be used to track and grade correspondence courses. This program is available for IBM compatible computers to anyone who will use it for the work of Christ. Click here for more information about that program. Click here to download a free Bible Correspondence Course, 54 lessons covering the books of John and Romans.
Make time for grading each course. IMPORTANT: Give a Bible verse for each answer. When an answer is marked wrong, the verse is noted on the student's test so that he can know the correct answer. If you do not teach the student the correct answer, then you have accomplished NOTHING!
Every 3 months you should review the request file and the student file, sending a reminder letter to all who have not responded in 3 months. You may like to use different color ink on your dater each month to help you find the delinquents. Example of reminder letter:
We were so happy to send you a correspondence course upon your request some time ago. However. since we have not received your exams, we are concerned. Did you receive the course? Was the returned course lost in the mail before it reached us? We realize that there could be many unavoidable problems, but if there is anything we can do to keep you with your studies, please let us know.
The diploma should be very special and even framed if possible. It is to be given at the completion of all courses. The number of courses offered will vary with each school.
Many courses have places for the student to ask questions. Even if there is not a specific place, the students will write for counsel. Answering these questions will be the most fruitful part of this ministry. Always answer their questions seriously. They are your congregation and you are their pastor. This is very time consuming but very necessary.
Don't consider a person a "student" until you have received their first exam. Then register him on your 5 x 8 card.
Make friends at the post office! They are the lifeline of your school. They can make or break your school. Most countries do not have a very efficient postal service. However, all countries have some way of sending messages. If it works for them, it can work for you.
Be sure the school's address is clearly printed or stamped on the course several times.
Expand as needed. Convert to computer when necessary.
THE SUCCESS OF A CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL IS WORK!
Please read the following note that illustrates the importance of a Correspondence Course Ministry:
I AM A CORRESPONDENCE COURSE
I am a missionary in my own right. I am filled with the Word of God. God has therefore promised that I would accomplish His purpose.
I am an educator. Regardless of my student's motives, I teach. Concepts not familiar to the student are read and reread until the meaning is clear. Combined with my sister courses, we form a faculty.
I am an evangelist. I reveal sin to the sinner and point out Christ as its remedy.
I am a diplomat. I present my case in a well-worded, easily understood brief. I never get into a heated argument. I present myself at the most opportune moment of the day. I am unobtrusive since I came with one of the most welcome of government servants, the postman. I do not overstay my welcome since I leave at the discretion of my host.
I am follow-up. I am able to guide the inquirer through months or years of systematic and graded study. I have the added advantage of bringing a personal touch to the reader. The systematic examiner and correspondent takes over in the follow-up where my ministry leaves off. I am but a relatively new tool, yet statistics boast that I am welcome in every country where I have been introduced.
I qualify as one of God's choice servants. I am not frustrated by the limitations of the illiterate since I minister only to those who have certain educational abilities. The missionary is one, I am multiplicity. I am always available. I do not have to spend years to learn the language. In fact, I begin my work in the typesetter's hand. I do not deliver a "spur of the moment" message, since I was compiled in an ideal environment and with no concern for time. I neither hunger nor thirst, and therefore, need no sustaining support. I need no expensive transportation. The simple postage stamp is my mode of transport. At the moment of arrival, I am ready to work and travel where missionaries are unable or forbidden to go. I need no furlough and no sick leave. Since I am never moody or temperamental, I am always prepared to deliver my message.
I am a Bible Correspondence Course!
THE MILTON MARTIN FAMILY
Central Baptist Church
P. O. Box 448
Bowie, Texas 76230
"To Every Creature"
P. O. Box 3565
Temple, Texas 76505