Formal and practical theological training for church planters
Chris Marantika was born on the island of Nila in eastern Indonesia. At 12 years of age he had gained all the education the island offered, so he left to live with relatives in Java. As a teenager, through the witness of Baptist missionaries, Chris heard the Gospel for the first time and put his faith in Christ. After graduating from a seminary in the U.S., Chris returned to Indonesia to serve as a pastor and seminary instructor. Yet, his heart burned for greater impact and to see a powerful church-planting movement sweep across Indonesia. In the 1970s that passion would grow into a vision for a new and unique seminary that strongly emphasized evangelism and church planting. This dream came to be known as Vision Indonesia 1:1:1. Chris continues to serve as its president. He is married to Saria and has one son.
Ministry Vision & Strategy
Vision Indonesia 1:1:1 exists to mobilize the Body of Christ to plant one church in every one village of Indonesia in one generation. The main component of this vision is the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Indonesia (ETSI) which trains students in church planting. Partners has partnered with Vision Indonesia 1:1:1 since its inception and today it is the largest seminary network in the country.
Fulfilling God's Calling on My Life
I was born in southern Sumatra, but as a young man I left my family and came to Jakarta to work in a factory. One day, I was invited by a friend to attend a revival meeting. There I heard that Jesus died to save sinners like me. That night I committed my life to Christ. In time, I felt called to serve the Lord, but I had no training. I prayed the Lord would open the way for me. In 1979, I received a scholarship and was accepted to ETSI. I graduated with a theology degree after fulfilling my requirement of planting a church. The following year I was appointed as a teacher at ETSI. Later I served as the President of ETSI-Yogyakarta for many years. I praise the Lord for what He has done in my life and for the scholarship that made my start in ministry possible. —Parlaungan Gultom
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world with more Muslims than any nation in the Middle East
. Indonesia has more than 67,000 villages and 8,000 inhabited islands. It takes considerable cross-cultural skill to bridge the cultural and religious gap between people of different faiths. Those who become believers need strong discipleship to ground them in God’s Word and strengthen them against persecution.
One of our key and long-standing partners in this country is Vision Indonesia 1:1:1 which was born more than 30 years ago in the heart of Dr. Chris Marantika.
The ministry’s strategy is to train pastors, evangelists, and religious teachers through a broad seminary network. The main seminary in Yogyakarta has expanded into 16 seminaries and 15 centers of training all over Indonesia with a combined student body of more than 4,400 students.
The impact of their methodology (combining in-depth Bible teaching with grassroots church planting) and its graduates who are active in the Church as well as government and business is unprecedented.
Besides the usual academic requirements, each student must plant a church with 30 baptized believers before graduation. This approach has been remarkably effective—nearly 4,000 new churches have been planted to date.
SEMINARY TRAINING AND OPERATING COSTS: $3,250 per month
Seminary Operations, ETSI
ETSI trains hundreds of students each year in the Bible, theology, and church planting at its main campus in Yogyakarta. Over its more than 30 years of existence, the ministry has expanded to start branch seminaries where students can receive quality Bible training in their local area. Some train in short-term programs then return to their homes to serve in their local church; others pursue more advanced training at the main campus or larger branch campuses. One of the greatest advantages of these branch seminaries is that they extend the ministry’s outreach to new areas. There are now more than 30 branch seminaries located throughout the country.
Because each student is required to plant a church in an unreached area before graduation, small worship groups are formed in the areas surrounding each campus, building up strong regional church networks.
In addition to its evangelistic efforts, the seminary has taken great strides forward academically by developing programs for masters and even doctorate-level degrees. Today, hundreds of ETSI graduates serve in important positions of leadership in education, politics, business, and government.
The purpose of this project is to assist in the operating costs of the branch seminaries scattered throughout the archipelago. Half of the seminaries’ costs are raised locally within Indonesia which is significant considering that some of the branches exist in poor areas and in areas without a large church base for support. Students also pay part of their way. However, this does not cover all the schools’ costs. Partners is helping with the remaining operational costs which include a portion of instructors’ salaries, utilities, administration, and supplies until the branches are able to achieve full self-support.
UNREACHED PEOPLE TEAMS: $1,925 per month
Unreached People Teams, ETSI
ETSI enlists all of its staff members and students to engage in evangelism and church planting. Spread throughout Indonesia, the staff and students establish worship groups that are formed into churches. These churches become the base for reaching surrounding villages and towns. Most of these churches are established within unreached people groups who are strongly Islamic and are often initially unreceptive to Christianity. Some are Hindus, Buddhists, and animists as well.
Because the staff and students are connected to a nearby ETSI branch, they are able to recruit other volunteers to help in outreach, and they have a strong support structure to not only share in the work, but also provide fellowship and accountability. Your gifts will help cover the costs of transportation, supplies, and other support for these outreach teams.
STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS: $760 per student per year
Student Scholarships, ETSI
One of ETSI’s most critical needs is for scholarships for students. Tuition fees at ETSI are purposefully kept low to enable as many students as possible to enroll. However, some students, especially those from remote areas, do not have the financial resources to attend seminary without scholarship help. Other seminaries in Indonesia offer substantially more money for scholarships. Thus, ETSI faces a double obstacle in recruiting students—they require each student to plant a church and they have limited scholarship funds. These two challenges limit new student enrollment.
Partners is committed to seeing passionate young leaders in Indonesia receive the theological training they need to be effective in ministry now and in the years to come. With their unique emphasis on hands-on evangelism and church planting, students leave ETSI well prepared to lead churches after graduation. We hope to provide partial scholarships for 100 students.
SEMINARY ACCREDITATION: $62,500 per seminary
Seminary Accreditation, ETSI
A law was passed in Indonesia in 2005 stating that no school or seminary would be allowed to operate unless it receives accreditation by the National Accreditation Body before August 2012. Failing to do so means that the school will be deemed illegal, subject to heavy penalties, and forced to close.
A prerequisite for accreditation is an operating permit, which, in the case of seminaries, is granted and evaluated periodically by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Six campuses including the ones in Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Palu, and Medan have already received their operating permit. These schools are now moving forward with the process of acquiring accreditation status from the National Accreditation Body. Seven other branch campuses are working to complete the requirements to receive the operating permit and accreditation, however this will require significant investment to upgrade the facilities of these seven branch campuses.
The ETSI board, led by a well-known attorney in Indonesia, is working on this matter. ETSI will need to raise an average of $62,500 for each of the schools in Ambon, Batam, Lombok, Manado, Pontianak, Purwokerto, and Samarinda to complete this project. The funds will be used to upgrade their facilities over the next year, which includes the construction of additional buildings, adding library books, and hiring additional staff. Accreditation is required to allow these branch seminaries to continue as centers of education and evangelism. This is the highest priority for ETSI over the next year. Partners hopes to raise funds for four of the seven seminaries this year.
ANNUAL PASTORS CONFERENCE: $40 per participant
Annual Pastors Conference, ETSI
Each year Vision Indonesia’s pastors and church planters gather for an Annual Pastors Conference. This event offers ETSI alumni a time of spiritual, emotional, and physical refreshment as they take a break from the demands of their ministries. They are also able to meet with fellow workers and receive encouragement and further training.
Many ETSI graduates are pastoring or planting churches in the remote areas of Indonesia. These churches, especially those located outside Java, are often too small or too poor to sponsor their pastor’s trip to Java where the conference is held. It is therefore necessary to assist these workers financially so that they can attend the conference. Funding is also needed to support staff from some of the ETSI branches to attend the conference, especially those located far from Java.
Each year between 800 and 1,000 participants attend the conference which will be held in June 2012. This event is a key time for networking, training, fellowship, and evaluating progress toward the achievement of Vision Indonesia 1:1:1.