by Harvey Newton, Moldova
Joseph Cariceni, who graduated from Entrust Moldova’s advanced program in 2010, is the pastor of the central Baptist church in the Turkish region of Moldova and supervises the Baptist pastors in that region. My staff and I have not merely taught Joseph, we have mentored him.
The first phase of our mentoring came about while Joseph was enrolled in our advanced program. Students in Entrust training programs invariably find themselves laying aside many erroneous doctrinal views as they study with us. Naturally then, when they teach or preach in their respective churches, questions arise which can cause serious strife.
Seeking to strengthen his congregation’s confidence in Joseph, I came alongside him, visiting his church several times to demonstrate expository preaching and arranged for members of my staff to do the same. God blessed our expository sermons, along with our times of mingling with the people, to build considerably greater confidence in Joseph’s teaching and preaching. As a result, Joseph’s desire to keep learning from Entrust continued.
Joseph, far left, with fellow Moldovan pastors and Harvey, third from right
Following Joseph’s graduation, I’ve provided continuing education seminars each year for him and his fellow alumni. Mentoring is a key element of these seminars. Over the years, this group has continued to grow spiritually. Their knowledge of God’s word has deepened, their spiritual lives have developed markedly and their fruitfulness in ministry has increased greatly. Joseph has become a skillful, confident facilitator. We have encountered bumps along the way, which have helped me learn how to be bold in my mentoring.
When Joseph had progressed well in Entrust Moldova’s teaching and training program, I exhorted him to use Entrust training materials in his church. Joseph formed a group of faithful men who appreciated the first lesson in our course on how to study the Bible and were eager to continue. Yet when I visited the church to observe progress and encourage them, I discovered Joseph hadn’t followed through on that good beginning. Several months later when I visited again, I learned my words of encouragement and exhortation to Joseph had still not moved him to continue.
I learned that Joseph lacked confidence that he could use our courses to equip laymen to teach, preach and multiply. But I was confident he could equip spiritual leaders who could equip others, so I offered to assist him in facilitating one Entrust course for the deacons in his church. He accepted.
Joseph was growing in confidence and skill. Yet, after we had co-facilitated the course on how to study the Bible, he still needed a little more assistance in facilitating. So, we co-facilitated one more course together. After that second course, Joseph was ready to carry on without my help. Fruit is evident among the deacons in that group, many of whom have gained a strong reputation for their preaching at churches in the area, churches lacking trained men to preach in their services, at weddings and at funerals. Additionally, one of the deacons, George, became quite well prepared to assist Joseph in facilitating.
Joseph and George recruited young men, many just 18 or 19 years old, from various churches in the region, to take Entrust’s Walking with Christ course. Now, those young men preach on Sundays and at mid-week service in their respective churches. In most cases, there are no other men who have been through any biblical training in their churches.
Joseph Cariceni is an excellent example of a man who’s received mentoring and is now passing it all along to others.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2018 Engage.