Contenders Discipleship Initiative

Contending for the faith

Testimonials From People Who Have Attended Contenders

printer-friendly Crusher
Sharing the Word On the Road
Contenders was a great learning experience for me. The areas I thought were going to be a challenge for me, were not the case at all. The instructors made it very easy to understand, and took time to help if I had questions.

I really liked the friendly classmates that I met in class as well. Everyone liked to help each other, and seemed to be very genuine.

After Contenders, I found it easier to share with people I would come across while traveling over the road as a truck driver. I was not planning on being a Disciple of Truck Drivers and/or people I met on the road. But the class sure did help with the confidence.

Steve "Crusher" Cote
Cote Racing Team, WASHINGTON

Summing Up What Contenders Has Meant To Me: Grace

If I had to describe what Contenders Bible School and Village Missions mean in my life, I would have to use the word "grace." After returning from 10 years in Germany with the US Air Force, where my wife (Serena) and I had come to the decision to give everything to our Lord, we were assigned to McChord AFB in Washington.

After arriving in Washington, Serena and I began to look for a church were we could do more than show up on Sundays and where we could become part of a family that would help us to grow in our walk with Christ; however, we found the search to be more difficult than we expected. David CarrThe Lord always guides and He opened the door for us to buy a small home which just happened to be two blocks away from Elk Plain Community Church, a Village Missions church located in Spanaway – so we decided to give it a try and for the next four years Elk Plain would become our church home, though the people of Elk Plain will always be our family.

After getting to know Pastor Len Phillips, Len began to guide me toward the Contenders program; however, at that time the Contender classes were only taking place at Machias Community Church which was more than 80 miles away and it would require driving to class two to three times a week after getting off duty at McChord, AFB – all of which seemed impossible! But then again, we should remember that it is often through the impossible that God blesses!

After meeting Pastor Ron Sallee at a men's retreat I started attending classes the following week and an amazing journey began. Although I had to drive almost five hours a night to get back and forth to school, the trips never seemed that long because the hours were so often passed by spending time in prayer and meditation over what we were studying in the class.

Then, during the time that I was not in class, Pastor Len allowed me to use what I was learning as he got me involved in the programs at the church. He began to disciple me and over time moved me into the role of assistant pastor. To put it simply, the time that I spent being discipled by Pastor Ron Sallee through Contenders, along with the discipleship which I received from Pastor Len Phillips (both Village Missions pastors) radically changed both my life and the life of my family.

Following my time in Contenders, where I learned to study God's Word and to cherish God's Word, we chose to retire from the military and apply to Village Missions. On July 4th of this year (2014), we will be celebrating our 10th year of serving as the Village Missionaries assigned to Lenwood Community Church, in Barstow, California.

To say that God used the Contenders Bible School program in our lives is an extreme understatement. What we have experienced in these past 10 years, as we have seen a struggling church grow from 20 to 90 people and as we have seen lives changed – especially ours – it has been nothing short of "GOD'S GRACE" and we praise God for both Village Missions and the Contender's Bible School program.

David W. Carr
Lenwood Community Church
Barstow, California

Building Confidence IN OUR CALLING

The Puffers The opportunity to attend Contenders Bible School came at a time when I had given up on being able to get a Bible education. Each school I applied to was either too expensive or impractical since we had five children.

The logistics, finances, etc, seemed insurmountable. That changed when we moved from Georgia to Washington State and started attending Machias Community Church. MCC had an in-house two-year Bible School. This was very encouraging! My wife and I were both able to take classes beginning in the Fall of 1998.

After completion of our studies at Contenders we began serving with Village Missions. We have used the Contenders curriculum in our ministry to train others how to rightly divide the Word of truth. Contenders is a practical course, it is hard work, but doable and very rewarding. The education we received has given us confidence in our calling as Village Missionaries as well as being a great benefit in our personal Spiritual growth.

Frank and Lynn Puffer
Village Missionaries
Land O Lakes Bible Church
Land O Lakes, Wisconsin

I Know What I Believe And Why I Believe It

Marie Fissori Attending Contenders forced me to learn how to articulate my beliefs in a systematic and organized way. I was challenged to come up with a doctrinal statement that reflected what I believed personally and I was given the tools to study the word of God in-depth.

The courses were a feast of spiritual knowledge and insight and the Holy Spirit used them to draw me into a closer relationship with Jesus as well as with other Christians. From the rules of hermeneutics to the mysteries of eschatology, the courses gave me the confidence to evangelize from an informed and firm position.

I know what I believe and why I believe it and am certain that I can explain my beliefs in a competent manner. It's important to me to study to show myself an approved worker who is not only well-grounded in the Bible and filled with the Holy Spirit but also able to handle the Word correctly. Attending Contenders has indeed equipped me to do the work of the ministry. I praise God for the opportunity to take these courses and the privilege of learning alongside so many future pastors and fellow believers. I encourage anyone who is curious or wants to solidify their own theology to take the classes and be blessed!

Marie Fissori

It Really Changed My Life
ryan Without the training I received at Contenders Bible School I wouldn't have the confidence to go into foreign missions.

Contenders equipped me to do His work in my own family and as a missionary in Haiti. Contenders equipped me to be able to more accurately and confidently share with others the reason for the hope and joy that I have.

It really changed my life as a Christian and helped me lead our family in prioritizing what we wanted to do with our brief earthly lives. I am forever grateful for the Bible training I received from Contenders and I hope everyone would have the privilege to have the same.

Ryan Dolan

Helping Equip the Saints

Mari Edgekoski-Hammond
My late husband Gary and I attended Machias Community Church for around 6 years before moving to Montana. I attended and graduated from Pastor Ron Sallee's first Contenders Bible School beginning in 1995 and ending in 1996. It was a very interesting and meaningful class. To this day, almost 19 years later, I still keep all the printouts and notes for quick access. It was a true joy to learn how to study the Word of God through definition, exegesis, hermeneutics, bibliology, typology, Bible culture and to learn, with assurance, the authenticity of the Old Testament and the New Testament, through internal and external proofs, the canon, the history of transmission and translations....and SO much more!

Today, living in Montana, my ministry is to write weekly Bible studies for a large group of women from around the world. The group is SWORDS (Strong Women Of Rightly Divided Studies). It was while reading and studying about 9 years ago, once again reading the "Twelve Questions to Answer" (Who is speaking, Who is being spoken to...), that I began to understand fully that while the whole Bible is FOR us, not all the Bible is TO us. 2 Timothy 2:15c made sense to me, and how we are to rightly divide the truth!

It is my belief that this is a powerful study to moving one's life forward in the Lord, helping to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry, which I believe is a two-fold ministry.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and Ephesians 3:9.

Mari Edgekoski-Hammond

chris immer

It was 1993 when I begin to serve as the Youth Pastor of Machias Community Church. Pastor Ron began the Contenders classes a few years later.

Having attended [a local Christian College], I had a fresh perspective of what was going on in Christian colleges. The level of instruction in every Contenders class was superior to that of every comparable class. The cost difference was of course a much better investment as well!

I served at Machias for 14 years, which if you know anything about youth pastors, that is a very long time to remain in a single church body. Being an assistant, as well as student over the years, has prepared me for pastoring a church and teaching Contenders classes.

Chris Immer
Island Chapel
Lummi Island, Washington


Learning What God Wants of Me
june When I started going to Contenders Bible School I learned a lot about things that I earlier knew little about, such as Anthropology, Hamartialogy, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Angelology, Pneumatology, false cults, apologetics, the attributes of God, the Calvinist and Armenian views of election, figures of speech in the Bible and more.

The first class I took was taught by Ron Sallee in 1997: Bibliology and How to Study the Bible. When I was 16 years old I had to quit school and get a job so my education was limited. That class was the hardest class of all that I took. But through it I learned about words and their meanings, figures of speech and much more. That class helped me want to know more of God and what God wants of me.

There were other classes that I took in 2002 on the Old Testament and New Testament. I cannot remember who taught them. In 2004 and 2006 Ken Ainsworth taught Bible Doctrine. I took this class twice and loved it and learned a lot. Vern Wilkinson taught the New Testament Survey class in 2008 so I took that again. I also sat in on the History of Christianity class taught by Ron Sallee and he had me write a paper on "Martyrs of the 20th Century."

I wish that I had kept better records because there were other classes I took and I enjoyed them all. I am now 87 years old and I love Jesus more every day. He lives in me, loves me, keeps me and give me peace and joy. Nothing compares to a relationship with Jesus.

June Thorne
Senior Saint
Machias, Washington

Without the Training I've received from Contenders, I don't think this would be happening

When I came across the website for Contenders, I was very excited. By the time I had an interest in attending Bible school, I had a family and responsibilities that prevented me from attending Bible school. Thank you so much for your time and effort to provide this Bible school tuition free. The classes have been both educational and challenging. I've gained a better understanding of God's Word and been given tools and principles with which to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

The classes have not only been interesting, but I feel much better equipped to teach as a result of the assigned readings, Bible timelines, and online study aids that were shared in class. The "Evangelism, Teaching and Preaching" class was very practical in providing experiences in delivering short messages that were topical and some that were expository.

We were given the opportunity to perform a wedding, funeral, preaching messages, and general presentations. It was a very practical experience. I believe God led me to Contenders in order to prepare me for the pastorate. My wife, Robin, and I are now serving as Village Missionaries at Bridge Community Church in Myrtle Point, Oregon. Without the training I've received from Contenders, I don't think we would have had the opportunity to minister here effectively! We're excited for the opportunity to preach the Word and love the people!

Darrell and Robin Weiland
Villiage Missionaires / Pastor
Bridge Community Church
Myrtle Point, Oregon