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Episode 8 - A New Partnership with the Argentine Bible Society


Date: June 20, 2018
Run Time: 12:26
Host: Dr. Gregory R. Perry
Guest: Rev. Will Savell
From the Series: Collaboration and Creativity to Equip Church Leaders

Program Notes

In our final episode of this series, Will Savell announces Teleios, a new, multi-member partnership led by the Argentine Bible Society. Will talks with us about:

  • How The Argentine Bible Society formed multiple partnerships (including with Third Mill and The Grace Institute) to create Teleios, a free digital-learning platform for Spanish-speaking pastors
  • The Reformation Conference and the formal launch of Teleios
  • True justice and why everyone wants these materials
  • Why student learning is more than just the contents of a flash drive

Rev. Will Savell is President of The Grace Institute, an organization dedicated to training, equipping, preparing, and resourcing church leaders throughout the world.

Podcast Transcript

EPISODE 8: Teleios, a New Partnership with the Argentine Bible Society
Guest: Will Savell

4 the World is a production of Third Millennium Ministries where we believe every Christian deserves a well-trained pastor. To study Scripture deeply or to learn more about how you can partner with us to provide Biblical Education. For the World. For Free. download our App to your phone or visit our online classroom at Thirdmill.org. And now, your host 4 the World, Dr. Greg Perry.


Well, welcome back. We're here again with Will Savell, founder and president of The Grace Institute out of Memphis, Tennessee. Will and Josh Warren are down here in Orlando visiting Third Millennium. We are glad to call them friends and partners. I understand that you have recently returned from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tell us what's happening there. We were talking about the dynamic of what God's Spirit is doing in the Spanish-speaking world, and it seems like there's a lot going on in Argentina. Tell us about it.

Will: Man, I can truly say in Argentina they are being gracious to allow us to participate in what God is doing down there. They are helping us way more than we're helping them. The Bible Society of Argentina is the group that we're connected with.

Wow, that's fantastic.

Will: They're part of the United Bible Societies, which has a huge scope throughout the world. But the Argentina Bible Societies, they have a church network of around 13,000 churches all throughout Argentina, eight houses of the Bible which sell and distribute Bibles all throughout the region, twenty full-time promoters who travel 400,000 km yearly to reach those churches. They have a large staff who has production capabilities and publication capabilities. I mean, they have it all.

They have resources.

Will: They have resources and they're doing a good job reaching those people. And they are just now getting into the idea of providing a curriculum. I think historically the Bible Society has been about Bible translation and Bible distribution, and they're coming to the realization that people really need to be engaged with the Bible, like how does the Bible influence that person? And so they were looking into curriculum, and that's how Marcos Buzzelli out of Argentina Bible Society and I got connected. He was looking for curriculum. We promote and distribute the Third Millennium curriculum. They put it into their context, which is something you like for people to do, kind of rework it — not change the content at all, but just kind of rework it to look Argentine.

Right, exactly.

Will: And they've done a great job of that with these professional-looking workbooks. They've broken the videos into segments to make it a little easier to watch at a time in a small group, and have created an entire ministry called Teleios.

Ah, "Teleios."

Will: Yeah, it's a Greek word pronounced in Spanish. It is a Greek word that means like the complete person, the matured person. And, you know, they want people to mature in the word of God by engaging with Scripture. They've chosen Third Millennium to really be the primary source for that. And all of that is placed on a platform called Lystra Global, which has been created by Leadership Ministries Worldwide, Dave Worland and those guys over there in Chattanooga. They've put a lot of resources in creating Lystra Global which has their materials on it, their Preaching Outline Study Bibles. And so, if you're part of Teleios, you get those materials, but you're also getting the Third Mill materials that they have kind of reproduced a little bit to fit them. Not only that, you're able to keep up with your students and interact with your students and distribute the resources a little better through the Lystra platform. But all of that to say the partnership with LMW, Leadership Ministries, Third Mill, The Grace Institute, and the Argentina Bible Society, everybody has been so great about not having to put their brand on everything.

To work together, right?

Will: To work together. And because of that everybody is propping each other up and they're bragging on each other, and everybody has just really come together. The end goal for each ministry is a well-trained pastor who is engaging with the Bible, well-trained church leaders who are being influenced by the Bible.

Who can be instruments to produce maturity in all those in the church, right?

Will: Goodness. Within the first month 600 students signed up. I get pictures. You see them on Instagram all the time.

So 600 students without even like a formal launch, right? This is like word of mouth?

Will: No, no. The formal launch is going to be in November at the big conference.


Ah, so we're going to be down there in November. Tell us what that conference is about and what's going to happen. This is really exciting.

Will: Alright, so the conference is a 500-year celebration of the Reformation.

Right, the Protestant Reformation.

Will: A pretty big deal.

It's a big deal. That's right.

Will: And so the Bible Society is doing that and they're bringing in a lot of big name Latino speakers to come do the plenary sessions. But you are going to be doing a couple of breakout sessions about the seminary and then just…

That's right, workshops. We'll talk about "the church is always reforming." One of the values of the Reformation is that we're always to be changing, or growing, or maturing in accord with the Word of God. And so, yeah, it really fits the teleios theme there. So that's one of the sessions I'm going to do.

Will: And do you have another one?

Yeah, the other one, as you mentioned, is going to be about how seminary education is really changing. And we're committed together in our partnership to making sure that obstacles to seminary education, whether financial or geographic, or just to obstacles in terms of how curriculum is delivered get removed so that there is a well-trained pastor for each Christian community. So we're going to talk about some of those changes, how technology is affecting it, how economics are affecting it, but also how we can construct these curriculums to produce maturity in the Christian life. And I know that's what Grace Institute is committed to.

Will: Yeah, and they're excited about you coming.

I'm looking forward to it.

Will: They're very excited about you coming, and it's going to be a great time down there. But that's going to be the official launch. Within the bigger scope of the conference, Teleios will be officially launched to a lot of the surrounding countries. Now, they've already gone over and introduced it to about eleven countries who want it right now. They went over to Australia.


So the Bible Society is introducing it to other Bible Societies? Is that what's happening.

Will: Oh, goodness yes. I mean, Argentina is a big country so they have a lot of influence. So the surrounding countries of Chili, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, they all want it. And so even just within Argentina, I mean, it's everybody. A prison chaplain wanted it for the prisoners.

Oh, okay. And police academies?

Will: Yeah, multiple seminaries have asked for a police academy. They have hundreds of students a year, and they're going to be provided the course on The Gospels and Christian ethics, Making Biblical Decisions by John Frame. Imagine if every policeman and policewoman in the world had a course on the Gospels and biblical Christian ethics.

Yeah, true justice, right?

Will: Yeah.

That's right, a commitment to true justice. So how many courses are translated and are provided to Teleios now? And what's coming?

Will: We are finishing up with our sixth one. Let me see if I can remember what we have. I think we have The Gospels, Primeval History, Paul's Prison Epistles, the hermeneutics class He Gave Us Scripture, Kingdoms, Covenants and Canon of the Old Testament, Revelation, and then we will start in January with a new three. And then we'll hopefully have six each year.

Now, so what is the goal? And I'm excited to hear about this multiplication throughout other Spanish-speaking Bible Societies. Can the Lystra Global platform, can it take care of all of those students?

Will: They say they can. I hope so.


But what is a student in your group — because a lot of people count students differently — what is a student for Grace Institute and the work you're doing with the people at Teleios?

Will: People who have been in a process or are in the process right now of actively going through courses, and who you can track and who you can, when they're finished with a course, you can say, well, how did this influence your life? We're not such an academic ministry; we're not going to ask a lot of true/false tests and multiple choice regurgitation type of testing. It's going to be more like, how has this transformed and impacted your life and your congregation? Give us a story. And that's what they're going to be pretty much required to do, especially through the Bible Society who is not an accredited academic platform as well. Now, seminaries, we've had seminaries use this material and they have, you know, made it part of their program to have actual testing. Well, that's fine too. That's part of the contextualization. But what I want a user to be, if you're just asking The Grace Institute in a vacuum, what a user is, is someone who is actively involved in the coursework of Third Mill.

And part of one of these transformational learning communities that you guys talk about, right?

Will: Yeah, I mean the individual learning is fine. I did it. I learned some stuff and it was good. Being part of a group, having a facilitator who's trained or a mentor who's trained who is helping you walk through the application of all of this rich material, it's almost … I'm not going to say it's necessary, but it sure is beneficial.

It's like being in a greenhouse, right? Where the fruit can really come out?

Will: You know what, I live in Memphis, Tennessee, home of FedEx, and there's people who say, "Well, why can't you just give them a flash drive." I say, "Well, you're a FedEx pilot, and I've flown in a plane before, and I sure do like flying. I'm interested in learning how to fly a plane. Can you give me all of your material that you know, all your thoughts on a flash drive? Well, I'm sure you can, and I can, I promise I'll learn it. If I've never flown the plane or you've never been in a cockpit with me showing me how to do everything, even though I know the material, would you trust me to fly a plane?" They go, like, "No, heck no." I'm like, well, we have these pastors who, they learn the material, they have content in their head, but they've never sat beside a dying person, or they've never gone through a divorce with somebody, or a child who's been tragically killed, or this, that or the other. And they need that help with the application, just like a young seminarian needs that from a professor.

That's right.

Will: So, we look for the mentoring and the facilitation within those learning communities.

What a great name for what's happening in Argentina. Teleios, right? — Maturity. Will thanks for being with us.

Will: Hey, thank you. It's been a pleasure.

4 the World is a production of Third Millennium Ministries where we are reimagining biblical education for Christian leaders in a global church. Each week we bring you conversations to cultivate your curiosity about God's word, to inform your intercessions for God's people, and to equip your efforts in God's mission for the world. Our host is Dr. Greg Perry. Our sound engineer and editor is Christopher Russell. Our web designer is Ra McLaughlin. Production assistance is provided by Stephanie Mathis. And I'm your announcer, Cindy Sawyer. Today's podcast was brought to you by The Grace Institute and by listeners like you. Thank you.