success of the Global Association of Theological Studies is dependent
upon the Lord, and a fabulous group of men and women who work to
bring our vision to pass. Our team is made up of international administrative
personnel, regional directors, regional representatives, consultants
from the Global Training Institute and those that assist us in developing
courses, office work, and a host of other activities. All are integral
in accomplishing our objectives and goals.
See the documents
provided for details on the administrative structure for GATS
and the Job Descriptions for GEC members.
(right click and save target as)
Structure of GATS
Descriptions of GATS
Director of Foreign Missions
A. Howell, Ex-Officio Member of the GEC
Howell is the General Director of Global Missions. He is the
former dean of Christian Education at Jackson College of Ministries,
was appointed to El Salvador in 1979 and served there for about
twenty years, became a Regional Director, and was elected as the
general director in October 2001.
emphatically states, Ministerial education is crucial to
the future of the United Pentecostal Church International. The
Church marches forward only to the extent that we evangelize the
world and educate our converts. GATS is a cutting edge education
program that uses the foundation of our past to build for the
bright future of taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World by
the Whole Church in the 21st century. I stand firmly behind the
work of GATS and the Global Education Committee. I foresee ground-breaking
changes in the way we go about Bible school training.
|Director of Education and AIM, UPCI Global Missions/Coordinator of GATS
James Poitras has a BEd from the University of New Brunswick, a BA in Biblical Studies from Indiana Bible College, and is actively pursuing a MA in Ministerial Studies (Education Concentration) from Global University. Additionally, he has attended the United Pentecostal Church Bible Institute. his wife, Linda, is also an educator with a Bachelor's degree from Troy State University. Both have been extensively involved in missions and Bible School administration for more than twenty-eight years.
Brother Poitras served as the President of the African Center of Theological Studies and Director of Christian Education for UPCI Ghana. He coordinatoed Africa's regional theological education program for five years until February 2007 when he was asked to serve as the Coordinator of the Global Association of Theological Studies. His website is www.reachingthroughteaching.com
Brother Poitras is the founder of Portable Bible Schools International and has authored its curriculum in four levels entitled Acts: God's Training Manual for Today's Church. This two hundred lesson series is widely used and translated into multiple languages. Literally thousands of students have studied under this program. He is a prolific writer, especially in the realm of curriculum and recently completed his ninth book entitled Growing Leaders. Linda has written two Bible College textbooks and multiple manuals for Reaching Africa's Children.
Brother Potras talks, breathes, bleeds and lives Bible school education. His personal vision is found in 2 Timothy 2:2 "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
| Regional Directors
Richardson, Africa Region
an MK, graduated from Conquerors Bible College, pastored,
and was appointed to Madagascar in 1974. He became the regional
director for Africa in 1996. The church in Madagascar continues
to experience phenomenal growth. Why? The Richardson family strongly
believe in Bible school, evidenced by the extensive training program
they established; one of the finest on the continent and around
the world. Sister Richardson is an active and avid backer of Bible
once commented, We have a complicated task, because we live
in a complicated society. We have an advanced, highly educated
society and yet there is the traditional which bring a slower
paced, less educated society. The church must meet both.
To meet this need he actively pursued a foundational meeting of
key international leaders, missionaries, and nationals to discuss
continuous improvement in Bible schools within Africa. In June
2002 the Africa Association of Theological Studies was born. A
partially standardized curriculum was established and has worked
is a visionary. He continued to lift his eyes from Africa, looking
at the condition of Bible school training globally. In 2006, along
with Robert K. Rodenbush, they petitioned for a Global Education
Network gathering. The Director of Education, Lloyd Shirley, facilitated
such a meeting in October 2006. The Global Association of Theological
Studies and the Global Education Committee both were established
in those pivotal sessions giving new direction in the way we go
about Bible school education.
||Michael Tuttle, Europe / Middle East Region
Tuttle attended and graduated from Conquerors Bible College in
Portland, Oregon, in 1975. He went on to complete the Bible
College's fourth year internship program in conjunction with the
UPCI Missionary Helper Program. He studied with university
students at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. There, he was
involved in witnessing, teaching Bible Studies and organizing
a Christian Student fellowship. During that year he also
taught in the Bible School training program for U.S. Military
personnel stationed in Germany. He found it exciting and
rewarding to teach the Word to hungry men and women.
short-term missions work in Europe the call and the burden for
Europe never left. In September 1982, Mike Tuttle and his
wife, Dianna (in her 7th month carrying their daughter), along
with their seventeen month old son, Matthew, left for Germany
to minister to U.S. and NATO Military personnel in Baumholder,
Germany. From AIM missionaries to full time career missionaries,
from Germany to Holland, their lives became intertwined with the
love for missionary work in Europe.
Tuttle's convictions about training are obvious when he writes:
“The future of the Church is in training. Evangelism
begins and continues through training. If the Church does
not take the reins in hand to teach and train, its destiny is
dismal and will one day become a statistic in the history books
of tomorrow. I believe wholeheartedly in passionate Bible
was a privilege to be involved in Harvest Bible College in Glasgow,
Scotland. Each year he paid his own way to Glasgow to teach
in the Bible College. He often took one of the young ministers,
teachers or pastors from Holland with him. When the door
opened for young ministers from the UPC in Holland to go and teach,
he helped pay their ways to go and be involved. One learns
more when challenged to teach others. Therefore, go ye into
all the world and TEACH! Teaching is learning.
Tuttle writes: The GATS program is helping to unify the efforts
of the Church around the world in training, teaching, preaching
and evangelizing. We must continue to teach and train those
who have come to know the Lord Jesus. The Church should
carefully consider the new methods, new technology, and new ways
to relay, to spread and to publicize the unchanging Gospel.
The heritage and the tradition of the Church are found in teaching
and preaching the Word of God. Furthermore, training
and teaching is the future of the Apostolic movement of our day.
We cannot leave it for others to do for us. It cannot be
left to chance. An organized, orchestrated, and methodical
curriculum instructing others, who will in turn teach others also,
is what the Church is all about. What we do is who we are!
And we are teachers, trainers, preachers and propagators of the
Shalm, Asia Region
has a long history of involvement with Bible schools and missions.
He returned from Asia, as a MK, to attend Conqueror's Bible College
and then graduated from Apostolic Missionary Institute. In addition
to pastoring, Brother Shalm has served at the Apostolic Missionary
Institute (Instructor), United Pentecostal Bible Institute (Dean
of Men and then Principal), and New Life Training Center in Pakistan
(Principal). He also helped establish training programs in Sri
Lanka and served on the School Board for the Lahore American School.
Brother Shalm has served as missionary since 1984 and became the
Regional Director of Asia in 2003.
Multiplied millions in Asia have an interest in continuing education.
Times Online in December 2006 reported that India is targeted
as the computer and Internet's most important emerging market
right alongside China (with its 137 million online). That only
scratches the surface of the potential for GATS to be a blessing
||David Schwarz, Central America / Caribbean
David Schwarz was raised in a Home Missions pastor's home, starting churches in Missouri and Oklahoma. At the age of 15, along with receiving the Holy Ghost, he felt a call to preach and to a Spanish speaking mission field.
After 12 years of ministry, he received missionary appointment to Costa Rica in 1988, where he served as President of the work for 19 years. He also served at the Bible School, and raised up a church in the capital city. He also served as Area Coordinator for the Southern Sub-Region of Central America for 8 years until his appointment of Regional Director of the CAC region in January 2012.
According to David Schwarz, "GATS is and will be one of the greatest tools that we have been given to prepare leaders to take the Word to the world. As we are able to put GATS in more nations, we will see greater results in reaching the lost and having stronger works and churches around the world."
||Roger D. Buckland, Pacific Region
Roger Buckland received a BA of Apostolic Studies from the Apostolic Bible Institute and comes to GATS with an extensive background in Bible School ministry. He served as the President of the Apostolic Institute of Ministries, Davao City, Philippines for eight years before becoming the first UPCI missionaries to the Czech Republic. Brother and Sister Buckland have successfully founded The Apostolic Center of Theological Studies in the capital city of Prague, building the curriculum and having it translated into the Czech language. In January of 2008, the Balkan Bible Institute was also opened in Serbia under their leadership.
Brother Buckland is absolutely convinced of the tremendous value of such a comprehensive, globally standardized Bible School Training Program such as GATS. Training and developing national leaders in Apostolic doctrine, Apostolic ministry and Apostolic living has always been a top priority.
He wholeheartedly encourages the further development and advancement of GATS and GATS Faculty Advancement Seminars throughout the nations of the vast Pacific Region.
Crossley South America Region
Crossley, Regional Director of South America, has extensive history
of involvement in missions and Bible schools. He graduated from
Conquerors Bible College in 1972. He taught a couple of courses
there while waiting on resident visas to Argentina in 1976. He
set up the first regular Bible school in Argentina in 1974-75,
directed it for many years, and taught up to twenty hours per
week. Through the years he has had the opportunity to teach every
subject offered in the Bible school there, except the one for
the Pentecostal Woman.
that his first calling is to the teaching ministry. He believes
that Bible schools and formal class training is of incalculable
benefit to the churches in South America. Most of the top level
leaders are Bible school graduates. All of the South American
nations have some type of Bible school training, and in most cases,
two or three years of curriculum.
is intent on continuing to expand the Bible school ministry by
incorporating extension Bible schools in every country. Ecuador
has just added four extension Bible schools. Columbia is in the
process of expansion.
of putting our international curriculum as well as Oneness doctrinal
textbooks into Spanish cannot be over-emphasized. The worldwide
Spanish community is continuing to escalate in population as well
as hunger for the Word in their language. We must do our best
to see these texts and curriculum either translated or written
directly into Spanish.
Representatives to GATS
Sisco, Africa Region
graduate of both Northeast Christian College and Indiana Bible
College, Nick's passion is to help people succeed in life by living
the Word of God. He believes in teaching, training and empowering
individuals for the expansion of God's Kingdom.
1996, Nick began his missionary career in Ghana by compiling a
fifty-two lesson discipleship curriculum and teaching in the Portable
Bible Schools. In 1998 he began teaching at African Centre for
Theological Studies (ACTS).
1999-2002, Nick served in various teaching capacities at The Learning
Centre School in Botswana, culminating in his appointment as Principal
of their Junior and Senior High School. He also taught at their
evening Bible School and developed a New Converts Course entitled, I Want To Be Transformed. He was blessed with the opportunity
to mentor several young men, many of whom now serve as pastors
throughout the country.
In 2005, Nick returned to Ghana as Principal and an instructor
at ACTS. Although he enjoys teaching in the classroom, another
area of ministry that brings great joy is church planting. He
loves helping Bible School students through the process whereby
a church is born, nurtured and developed to walk on its own.
addition to the main campus, there are presently four extension
schools operating within Ghana. Through consultation, Faculty
Education and collaboration, Nick desires to help Bible School
training programs throughout Africa reach their maximum potential
in apostolic ministry.
Prince Mathiasz, Asia Region
Matthiasz obtained his Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees
from Indiana Bible College. He was instrumental in establishing
the UPCI in Sri Lanka and has served as founding pastor for many
of the UPCI congregations there. He has written several textbooks
for the Ministerial College of Theology and is heavily involved
with its associates degree program.
Thompson, Central America/Caribbean
graduated from the United Pentecostal Bible Institute and immediately
began his ministry in Guatemala with a vision to establish an
effective training program. That he surely has done. Brother Thompson
has one of the largest Bible schools in the UPCI with 244 students
and 23 teachers. It has been very effective in producing ministers,
training leaders, and providing stability to the UPC of Guatemala.
This is evidenced in 175 established churches, 237 daughter works;
among 188 licensed ministers, and over 18,000 members.
is presently pursuing a degree in education and serves as the
Regional Director of Education and as one of the Area Coordinators
in the Central America/Caribbean Region.
Vacca, Pacific Region
while performing secular work in Japan and Taiwan, founded churches
in both nations. After receiving missionary appointment, Brother
& Sister Vacca established six more churches in the nations
of Taiwan and the Philippines. Our work in the Philippines is
the largest outside of North America, with two thousand churches
and fifteen districts.
The most important
contributor to the growth of the UPC, in the Philippines, has
been Bible schools. Five, two-year Bible colleges are currently
operating. Brother Vacca states, I have served in countries
where the work was quite small, and where the work is large and
growing. Without in-depth Bible based training, of men/women,
who have a calling, no work will be able to increase by any large
scale. GATS has the potential to encourage more of our called
men/women to do long term in-depth Bible based study using a modernized
curriculum. Those who complete these courses will automatically
provide the needed base for growth, beyond the founding level,
that hampers many of our works around the world, and to also encourage
more students to attend Bible College thereby helping our larger
fields to continue to grow.
||Joseph Anthony Bir, South America Region
Anthony Bir and his wife Loretta are graduates of Texas Bible
College with a BA in Theology and Christian Education, respectfully.
They pioneered a home mission work before being appointed as missionaries
in May of 1986. He served as President of the UPC in Paraguay
from 1990-2010. Since May of 2003, Brother Bir has served as the
Area Coordinator for the Southern Cone of South America which
along with Paraguay includes Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. In
February of 2008 their appointment was expanded to include the
country of Peru.
The Birs became involved in the Bible Institute in Paraguay as
soon as they arrived on the field. Sister Loretta Bir has a passion
for education and children's ministry. She authored the project
that approved Apostolic Bible Institute of Paraguay as an accredited
institution with the Paraguayan government and the Ministry of
Education. She is the administrator of New Heights School that
was started to educate and give a salvation experience to the
street and neediest children that live near the Central Church
Educating future leaders is the mandate of the church and the
heartbeat of God. The Birs are firm believers that the GATS program
will unite and facilitate revival of the church globally. They
are excited about being a part of the GATS program in South America.
Ray Nicholls, Europe/Middle East Region
Ray Nicholls received a BS in Marketing Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and comes to GATS with an extensive background in training and establishing leaders in Eastern Europe. He was President and founder of New Hope Christian Schools of Belarus, being responsible for the establishing of several Christian schools and for directing teacher training. In addition to this, Brother Nicholls, taught, trained and mentored leaders who are presently serving as pastors in churches throughout Belarus. After pioneering the work in Belarus, Brother Nicholls pioneered the work in Poland, establishing and training national leaders to help shoulder the work, opening churches in six cities.
Presently Brother Nicholls is missionary to Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. He co-founded Revivial by Design, a strategy for continual revival and Bible training. Through this effort he has helped to open more than 44 Bible training centers throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Brother Nicholls is a strong believer in Bible school education and believes in the principles and goals of the GATS program. He wholeheartedly encourages the further developement and advancement of GATS and GATS Faculty Advancement Seminars through the nations of Europe and the Middle East.