General Questions

Like its parent mission, ELI was established to train and equip leaders in local Christian congregations. However, in 2009 ELI was established as a separate mission to broaden its focus to include Christians serving as business and education leaders.

ELI is one of many like-minded organizations with similar objectives and similar strategies. ELI targets networks of rural, village-based leaders who have little access to resources or training, and who have little exposure to formal Biblical or theological training.

ELI has no “bricks and mortar” facilities. ELI’s faculty and staff are spread mostly throughout North America, with some located elsewhere in the world. ELI’s “home office” is where the Executive Director lives, currently in St. Augustine, Florida.

ELI uses a secure web-based communications platform called Workspace by Google to support and facilitate its work. In addition to email and calendars, Workspace provides other tools that allow for communication, collaboration, and coordination. All part-time or full-time faculty and staff receive an “ELI Workspace” account as part of their work with ELI.

As of May 2022, in addition to its over 50 current partnerships, ELI is at some point in conversation with nearly 50 more leaders from 24 countries for help to train and equip leaders in their various communities.

Yes. ELI is an IRS-recognized 501.c.3 charitable organization. All gifts to ELI are tax deductible.

As a 501.c.3 organization, ELI is audited annually. Moreover, since ELI has no “bricks and mortar” facilities and property to maintain, 100 cents of every dollar donated to ELI directly supports its staff and its ministries. The 3% “administrative fee” helps to underwrite the stipends and expenses of support staff and funding organizational objectives.

No. While many ELI faculty and staff have PCA roots and associations, ELI is an independent mission organization. We are committed to a reformed understanding of Scripture and the Gospel, and we work closely with other reformed organizations, including the PCA mission agency, Mission to the World. However, we minister across denominations, making common cause with any that share our commitment to see Christ glorified, His Word faithfully proclaimed, and His Kingdom come.

Yes. ELI is Biblically and theologically orthodox, believing that “Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, we believe that Scripture is entirely trustworthy, without error, and authoritative for every human endeavor.

Yes. ELI partners with many other mission agencies, formally and informally, sharing personnel, resources, strategies, and often teaming together on projects.

Questions about Serving as Faculty

Yes. You may be currently serving a congregation as a pastor or assistant pastor. Or, you may be a late-career business leader with a somewhat flexible schedule, or a teacher (at whatever level) with the ability to travel in the summer, or take a sabbatical. ELI allows you to serve to whatever extent you are available. At the same time, serving with ELI will likely refresh your vision of God’s Kingdom, which will benefit your students or congregation.

While ELI’s core strategy has involved travel to various locations to conduct in-person conferences, seminars, and coaching, it has begun to supplement this strategy with video-conferencing technology (such as Zoom). Most ELI partnerships include courses taught via Zoom (or similar technology), which creates opportunities for those unable to travel to participate in teaching.

Yes. If you are ordained and you need a “Letter of Call” so that your ordaining body can approve your work with ELI while maintaining your ordination status, ELI will produce such a letter as part of your “on-boarding” process.

Yes. All ELI faculty and staff, whether volunteer, part-time, adjunct, or full-time are “self-funded.” That is, they are all responsible to raise (or otherwise provide for) their salary, benefits, and ministry expenses. Full-time and part-time faculty are provided an ELI account to which donors contribute, and from which ELI disburses salary payments and ministry expense reimbursements.

“Raising support,” as it is most commonly known, is developing a team of “ministry partners” (think of “partnership in the gospel,” Philippians 1:5). A ministry partner commits to participate with you through prayer, encouragement, financial support, and possibly even co-teaching.

Your responsibility is to share the story and extend the invitation. The Spirit motivates the giver and the gift. Therefore, yes, you absolutely CAN raise support; in fact, it is a Kingdom privilege.

The amounts needed to raise vary from person to person, depending on stage of life and particular circumstances. Some questions to answer are: Will you need to raise salary and benefits? What will you and your family need each month for this stage of your life to meet your financial obligations?

Here is a ballpark figure for ministry expenses:

  • Travel Expenses for a 2-week trip: $1800-2800 roundtrip (as of May 2022);
  • In-country expenses for a 2-week trip (lodging, meals, transportation, conference expenses): $2000-4000 per conference or seminar (varying more or less depending on how many attendees are expected. You, along with other teaching at an event, cover the cost of the conference for all participants.)

Most full-time faculty who raise salary, benefits, and ministry expenses have an initial monthly goal of $10,000 (as of May 2022).

Yes. Through a partnership with Support Raising Solutions, ELI provides resources, training, and support through the support-raising process. Beginning with the book, “The God Ask,” followed by the on-line “Foundations” course, and then the weekend long “Support Raising Bootcamp,” we provide training. Support Raising Solutions also provides a number of helpful print and linked resources to give you a head start and ELI staff are available to answer questions and provide encouragement along the way.

This will depend on the level of your involvement. New full-time faculty members begin by raising some amount of salary and benefits, along with ministry expenses (travel, conference/seminar expenses, etc.). This means most of your first year will be focused on developing your support team. It will likely also include teaching several times by Zoom, and possibly traveling once or twice, to give you an experience of the work to help you communicate more effectively with potential supporters.

Part-Timers and Volunteers who are self-funded or only raising funds for ministry expenses, will likely be able to teach and travel within a few months of “settling into” the work with ELI.

Yes. Over the years ELI’s faculty has developed its curriculum in the context of active training partnerships. This curriculum has come to function as the foundation and framework for ELI’s training content.

Yes. While ELI has developed a foundational curriculum, we recognize and encourage the various gifts within ELI as part of God’s continuing provision for His mission through ELI. ELI does have formatting and theological guidelines to help in the development and implementation of additional courses.

ELI’s curriculum has been developed organically over time in the context of early partnerships. The curriculum has now come to serve as the foundation for our training partnerships. Most faculty use the ELI curriculum as their core, but it may be supplemented with material from partnering organizations (for example, MINTS or ThirdMill), or materials which they develop themselves in cooperation with the national partner.

The experience of teaching over Zoom or comparable tools varies from place to place, depending on availability of technology in the target country. Using Zoom requires significant forethought, planning, and intentionality. Producing effective slides to support and amplify the content is a discipline that benefits both teacher and student alike. Developing student-centered activities and small group discussion ahead of time helps to bring focus to the teacher’s presentation and to the students’ attention and participation.

Yes!  Email Daniel Gilchrist, Director of Recruitment, at dgilchrist@equippingleadersinternational.org with your name and email address.  He will find several upcoming Zoom classes for you to choose from.

Questions about Partnerships

As of May 2022, ELI has just over 50 faculty serving 46 active partnerships in 27 countries throughout the global south.

An ELI “partnership” or “training partnership” is a key component of the mission of ELI. A “training partnership” consists of a national Christian leader in another country who is matched with an ELI “Partnership Coordinator” (sometimes known as “Project Director”) to train and equip the national leader’s network of Christian leaders. Some of these networks are denominationally based. More often they are cross-denominational networks with a shared hunger to know Christ through His Word, and faithfully lead His people. In some instances these networks develop into denominations.

Christian leaders from around the world find and contact ELI through personal relationships, word of mouth, and even internet searches. This begins a conversation in which both ELI and the prospective training partners get to know each other: ELI listening carefully to learn what the training needs and objectives are; the prospective partner listening to learn ELI’s theological commitments and what training resources it may be able to provide. If there seems to be a match of needs and objectives with ELI’s available resources, the Christian leader is received as a “National Partner” and connected with an ELI “Partnership Coordinator” and the partnership is formalized.

A “Partnership Coordinator” (sometimes known as “Project Director”) is an ELI Faculty member who partners with a specific national leader to develop, organize, resource, and accomplish their leadership development and training objectives. The national partner brings the vision and the opportunity; the Partnership Coordinator brings experience and encouragement while coordinating personnel, training materials, and financial support to the partnership.

In cooperation with their national partner and his or her leadership team, the Partnership Coordinator plans the curriculum sequence and the schedule for training; recruits co-teachers; and raises funds to implement the training. The Partnership Coordinator may provide other support, encouragement, coaching and advice for the national partner.

ELI’s partners are spread across the so-called “global south:” Latin America, sub-saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

A typical ELI trip lasts two weeks, though three weeks is not uncommon.


  •  faculty will depart the US on a Friday, planning to arrive in-country on Saturday;
  • Sunday is a day of rest and recovery, frequently involving worship in a local congregation associated with the local partner; or, travel to the conference/seminar venue;
  • Conferences/seminars usually follow a “3-day + 1 or 2-day” pattern: 3 days of presentation to a large group followed by 1 or 2 days of more in-depth study for a smaller, select group of leaders (see FAQs 11 and 12).
  • A two-week trip includes two such conferences/seminars: multiple conferences with a single partnership; or conferences conducted with several partnerships.
  • Usually, the team departs the country on Saturday, arriving back in the States on Sunday.
  • The particulars vary from partnership to partnership and are coordinated by each partnership’s ELI Project Director.

An ELI conference is usually 3-4 days (often followed by a 1-2 day seminar; see next FAQ). Teaching is usually 6-8 hours a day with lunch provided. Start-times and end-times are fluid, depending on the cultural context. The focus of the conference is to present material, model skills, and allow a larger cross-section of the respective networks to become familiar with ELI and its values.

An ELI seminar is usually a 2-3 day event (1-2 days if attached to a conference; 3 days if stand-alone) focused on a smaller, select group of emerging leaders from a given network. The participants are selected by the national partner. The goal is for seminar participants to become “Certified Trainers” who re-teach the material to other leaders. Seminars, therefore, involve a slower consideration of the content, development of skills and habits of faithful Biblical interpretation, and application to their respective leadership contexts, discussion, and practice.

ELI aims at a 2 Timothy 2:2 strategy to “train those who will train others.” A CCI (Certified Course Instructor) is a leader who has taken a course, participated in the more in-depth training seminar, and presents the material to other groups of leaders. A CT (Certified Trainer) is a leader who has been “certified” in the 12 foundational ELI courses selected by the partnerships, and so is certified to study and teach any of the ELI material.

The timeframe for a given partnership depends on the national partner’s vision and training objectives. If a partnership simply uses ELI’s curriculum and strategy “out of the box,” it would have an initial team of trained trainers (CT’s) after 3-5 years. ELI would remain in contact with that partnership as that newly trained training team works through the curriculum to train another generation of leaders, with ELI providing coaching along the way.