• What We're Doing

    There's a restaurant in our town that serves free cupcakes after your meal. Frequently, one of us (cough....cough...Gabe) will ask our server to bring the cupcake out before our food is even served. It's her favorite part. In a way, we are doing that here - It makes the most sense to tell you who we are first, but honestly, we'd rather rush to the part we are most excited about. So for those who want to get right to the good stuff, here goes...

     

    In short, we have been asked to create something that is virtually non-existent on the continent of Asia - a formal Christian counseling master's program. The best part of this endeavor is who's behind the request. The indigenous pastors and leaders around Asia are the ones asking, and they have been doing so for years.

    Unlike America, most Asian cities have an extreme shortage of mental health care workers. This reality, combined with strong cultural expectations on pastors to care for their communities, has created a tremendous need for Christian counseling training in Asia. Imagine living in a war-torn country or refugee camp (very real ABTS sites) and being asked to serve as pastor simply based on the fact that you were the first in your community to become a Christian. How would you help those experiencing trauma responses, anxiety, abuse, depression, or addiction? Imagine the feelings of helplessness as you try to work, lead, and care for those who are hurting - all without any formal training.

     

    This is where ABTS (Asia Biblical Theological Seminary) comes in. For 35+ years, ABTS has served alongside Cornerstone University, in Grand Rapids, MI, to provide an American accredited master's degree in Asia. Unlike most seminaries in the Western World, ABTS has built its entire infrastructure to be lightweight and portable. This has allowed them bring entire master's programs to the doorstep of these leaders in Asia. By setting up cohorts and asking the faculty to travel to these communities, teaching via 10 day onsite intensive classes, these students are able to study without the added cost of leaving their hometown. Additionally, ABTS subsidizes these classes with generous scholarships, allowing them to empower and equip those who both need it the most and otherwise could not.

    Over the course of those 35 years, ABTS has graduated hundreds of students from 25+ nationalities. They have provided academically rigorous theological training with the vision to, "produce global theologians and practitioners who are growing spiritually, thinking creatively, teaching biblically and serving contextually." They have done so with excellence, but until now have been unable to help fill the gap in counseling training.

     

    This is where Gabe and I come in. Given my background working in counseling, mediation, and pastoral ministry, ABTS has invited me to join the team in hopes of unfolding three ambitious goals:

    1. Partner with Churches to begin offering a selection of counseling courses across Asia
    2. Start a new Christian Counseling emphasis in the Master of Religious Education (MRE) program
    3. Create and direct a full masters degree track in Christian Counseling

    This is certainly an ambitious undertaking, but one that seems prized to help meet the tangible needs of these pastors and leaders as they care for their communities.

     

    Would you consider partnering with us as we partner with these leaders?

  • WHY GIVE?

    That's a great question! Most schools are able to pay their faculty, so why can't ABTS?

     

    This is one of the many ways ABTS is unique; most schools recruit students from areas of affluence. ABTS , however, is intentionally targeting some of the least resourced areas in all of Asia - places like refugee camps and developing nations where pastors and leaders face some of the toughest challenges while often possessing the least amount of training.

     

    This is why your donations are imperative to this work. Many of these pastors and leaders save for years to afford ABTS's deeply discounted tuition rate (often between $10-30/credit hour). Without the help of donors like you,

    the cost of this education would be out of reach for the vast majority of these church leaders. About 30% of every dollar we raise goes toward helping ABTS' general operating expenses, resources, teaching costs, and other direct ministry expenses. We've also included a full breakdown of these financial needs for you to checkout.

     

    Would you consider praying about joining our team?

    Be sure to select "Hirth Family-ABTS"

    from the dropdown menu

    For more information on our fundraising needs click HERE

  • Financial Need - $102,000 Annually

    Ministry

    Expenses

    Approximately 30% of what we

    raise goes to the direct ministry

    expenses of ABTS and the

    starting of a counseling

    program

    Salary

    For our family of four, we are

    requesting a salary of $45,000.

    Other Expenses

    Self-employment tax (15.3%); health

    insurance & anticipated expenses;

    retirement; and life insurance

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