While studying the Cebuano language and Filipino culture in language school in Mindanao, Philippines, the Lord gave Dr. David Nelson a vision for equipping and multiplying pastors and church leaders. Many jobs in the Philippines were passed on through an apprenticeship model of on the job training with an experienced person. He also saw that Jesus trained the twelve disciples in the same way. He decided to apply the same strategy in planting churches.
In November 1987, he and his family moved to Guindulman, a rural town in the province of Bohol. Shortly afterwards, he started three evangelistic Bible studies using the storytelling method of teaching the main stories of the Bible beginning with Genesis through the life of Christ. Dr. Nelson wrote thirty lessons highlighting the character and nature of God, man, sin, and salvation through Christ. At the same time, three men accompanied Dr. Nelson to these Bible studies. As they grew in spiritual maturity, he entrusted more responsibility to them. After nine months, word spread about these Bible studies and people began responding. The number of evangelistic Bible studies grew to over twenty. Dr. Nelson, these three men and two Bible school interns from Tagbilaran, Bohol led these studies. Dr. Nelson then began training these men in studying and preaching the Bible, Bible doctrine, the contents of the Old and New Testaments and other basic courses.
In 1989 after attending a pastors’ conference in Mindanao, Dr. Nelson and these five trainees were riding on two small motorcycles on the way home. While rejoicing in the Spirit and praying to the Lord, Dr. Nelson asked the Lord to let him do this the rest of his life. Just as they were passing through a small town, two dogs ran out in front of him. He hit one of the dogs which caused the motorcycle to go out of control. However, Dr. Nelson was able to stop the motorcycle three feet in front of an approaching truck. When they got off the motorcycle, he knew that the Lord would answer his prayer. A few years later, he discovered the Bible Training Centre for Pastor’s (BTCP) training manual on a colleague’s desk. Intrigued by it, he picked it up and browsed through it, concluding that this is what they needed at the Bible school and various churches. A month later, Rev. Randy Gardner from BTCP visited Dr. Nelson and they decided to partner together. After four years of leading BTCP classes and conferences, BTCP invited Dr. Nelson to serve as the coordinator for the Philippines (1999). At that time, there were 7 BTCP classes with about 60 people in training in the Philippines. Two years later (2001), Dr. Nelson began serving as the Asian Coordinator, visiting and serving in China, Vietnam, Thailand and other countries throughout Asia.
In 2005, the board of BTCP decided to expand only through partnerships. Thus with the blessing of BTCP, in late 2005, Dr. Nelson organized Crossing Cultures International (CCI) under the auspices of The Crossing Church in Tampa, FL. As the ministries of The Crossing Church and Crossing Cultures International grew, it became apparent that CCI needed to become a separate organization. On October 16, 2006, Crossing Cultures International was officially incorporated in Brandon FL. In July 2007, the IRS granted 501c3 non-profit status to CCI. By the end of 2016, the Lord was pleased to expand the ministry to 550 training classes in 31 countries with 6,200 pastors and church leaders in training and 3,500 graduates. Over 65 national coordinators oversee the training. All of this has been accomplished by the grace, power, and provision of our great God.
One of the greatest contributions we can make to the emerging church globally is ministry equipping (a.k.a. theological education). Our goal is a Christlike, empowered effective leader. By praying and giving, we together can reach the world for Christ.
Dr. David Nelson
Founder & President