Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the Torchbearer Foundation a church (denomination)?

A: NO. The Torchbearer Foundation is a trans-denominational grassroots Christian organization –a ministry development agency, involved in wholistic community development. The Torchbearer Foundation will never be transformed into a denomination. Also, the ministry does not offer ordinances/sacraments such as Lord’s Supper and baptism -torchbearers do these in their local churches. The Torchbearer Foundation may asst a local church to plant a church where there is need, but that will not be a Torchbearer Church.

Q: How is community development possible through prayers and Bible studies?

A: Development is building the people who build and maintain the infrastructure necessary for, and associated with community development. Prayer and Bible studies build people.

Q: How does the Torchbearer Foundation see the local church and pastor?

A: The local Church is the centre of Christian Community Development. As the church equips, motivates, encourages, supports and sends Christians to undertake missions, reconciliation and development. The local pastor is the equipper of the saints for Christian Community Development. We see him as a pastor of the community, not limited to his denomination. Torchbearers are therefore partners with the local churches and pastors in equipping the saints.

Q: Is the Torchbearer Foundation a business organization? Does it neglect the more important vertical issues such as commitment to God and holiness of life?

A: NO. The Torchbearer Foundation is a wholistic ministry development agency which uses entrepreneurial approaches in meeting individual and community needs. It also engages in business for purposes of sustainability and training.

“Spiritual development is a balance between our relationship with God and the outworking of that relationship with those around us. These two areas of growth should not be seen as being in conflict with each other. The Church for example does not consist of prayer and Bible-studies alone. To function effectively, it needs men and women who can express themselves through practical skills of service. As someone said: ‘we should work as if it all depends upon our efforts. At the same time we should pray as if it all depends upon God alone.’ There needs to be a practical balance”.

Q: What makes Torchbearer Foundation different from other NGOs?

A: Torchbearers are people who don’t just think of making a living, they think of rendering a service. Torchbearers are people who don’t just think of building a carrier, they think of building a legacy.

Q: Is the Torchbearer Foundation a funding agency?

A: The Torchbearer Foundation is not just a funding agency, but a ministry development agency.

Q: Can non-Christians become Torch and other Torchbearer small group members? Will non-Christians, for example, Muslims, be forced to change their faith if they are members of a Torch?

A: Non-Christians can become members but they would not become leaders. They will not be forced because they cannot be forced, to change their faith –faith is a matter of conviction.

Q: Why should the entire community be mobilized to get involved in projects started by Torches?

A: Christian Community Development (CCD) is not for Christians only. Although Christians champion the course, CCD is destined for the benefit of the entire community, irrespective of religion, political leaning, race, etc. Everyone in the community shares the same problems and challenges. For example, malaria attacks do not depend on if one is a Christian or a non-Christian, bad road is a problem to everyone living in the community, etc.

Q: Why is it required that only Christians be Torch and other Torchbearer small group leaders whereas non-Christians are allowed to be members?

A: The vision is Christ-centered and Bible-based. For this vision to be maintained, there is need for Christian leadership.

Q: Should a Torch member who attends meetings but does not pay seed money contribution be dismissed from the Torch?

A: He/she is not even a member, but an observer, so welcome and treat them with love until when they can back their commitment with seed money as members.

Q: Will seed money contributed by a Torch member who drops out or moves to a different Torch be reimbursed or transferred to the new Torch?

A: NO, like a church member who drops out or transfers to a different church does not ask for his tithes and offerings to be reimbursed or transferred, contributed seed money remains to do the work for which it was contributed in the first Torch.

Q: Is additional seed money collected during Beam, Spark and Flame meetings?

A: NO, seed money is only collected during Torch meetings.

Q: Can seed money be used for things like sending Torch members to attend seminars?

A: NO, seed money is collected for specific purposes –either to be used directly in solving the Torch identified problem or put into a project which generate income to solve the problem.

Q: Should new members of a Torch pay seed money arrears starting from when the Torch began?

A: NO, they should start seed money payment from when the join the Torch.

Q: What happens to the seed money held by the treasurer should a Torch dissolve?

A: The money should be sent to the Sub-Divisional office with an accompanying report.

Q: What happens if a Torch treasurer misuses Torch money?

A: It is an obligation for him to pay back the money. He should be asked (in love) to do so. The Bible requests us to be good stewards of all resources including money.

Q: Will a Torch member who drops for some months and then comes back be asked to pay seed money for the period he or she was absent?

A: It depends on the reason for which he/she was absent. The Torch should lovingly examine individual situations and determine what to do.

Q: How can one join the Torchbearer CO-OP?

A: Membership in the Torchbearer CO-OP is through Torch membership. Only active Torch members (those who attend Torch meetings and pay seed money) are qualified to take part in the CO-OP.

Q: Is the Torchbearer CO-OP registered following the cooperative law in Cameroon? Are the CO-OP profits distributed to primary co-op members?

A: NO, the Torchbearer CO-OP is not an independent legal entity –it is an integral poverty alleviation project/program of the Torchbearer Foundation – Cameroon. It also differs from other co-ops in that it does not have share ownership capital and that co-op business surpluses (profits) are not distributed to members -they are used in paying seed money contribution for members and the rest used for other Torch projects. This structure is to demonstrate the Torchbearer CO-OP’s concern for community. The CO-OP surpluses finally get back to the entire community either to meet the needs of the underprivileged such as orphans and widows, support community’s infrastructure such as schools, water supply, bridges/roads, etc.

Q: What happens if a Torch of 2 members does not grow for long? Should such a Torch discontinue?

A: NO, it should do more efforts in recruiting more membership through being faithful lovers of the true light, life and liberty; also making sure that the Torch’s identified problem is a real felt-need in the community.

Q: Can a Torch whose membership drops, for example, from 12 to 3, welcome those members who dropped should they come back when a Torch project materializes?

A: They should be welcome and encouraged to become active members (paying seed money in addition to attending meetings). However, they may by nature of the project not be able to benefit from certain advantages which are directly linked with past activities.

Q: If a Torch which is already carrying out a project multiplies, will the project be extended to the new Torch? Will seed money be shared amongst the old and new Torch following Torch multiplication?

A: Project extension to the new Torch is possible and depends on the nature of the project. Also, the seed money contributed in the old Torch would already have been committed to that Torch’s problem.

Q: If a Torch project such as a community grinder materializes, do Torch members in the community pay for the grinder services?

A: YES, for sustainability purposes, everyone who uses the services of such an asset should pay.

Q: Can a new Torch identify and focus on a problem which is already identified by an existing Torch in the same community?

A: YES, solutions to such problems may even come faster as more hands are put together.

Q: What criterion is used to share membership in a Torch which is ready to multiply?

A: Proximity (nearness) to Torch location is the primary criterion so that Torch members don’t walk over long distances to attend Torch meetings.

Q: Is there need for someone who attends his/her local church Bible Studies to attend Torchbearer Beams? How does a Torch Bible Study differ from that of a local church?

A: YES. Whereas local Church Bible study may be general -studying one Book of the Bible after the other, Beam Bible studies are specific -searching those portions of the Bible which talk about specific life issues the Torches are dealing with. The use of Bibles with concordances is thus highly encouraged in the Beams.

Q: Can a Torch change a leader who started it if his character becomes questionable?

A: YES, if he has failed to change after Torch members have lovingly called his attention to his character, Torch members should feel free to change the leadership with assistance from their facilitator.

Q: Should someone who is disciplined in his or her local church also be disciplined from his Torch?

A: YES, members of such a Torch should lovingly work for his/her restoration in his Church to enable his restoration in the Torch.

Q: Who are the trainees in our Leadership Development Institutes?

A: They are attended by current Torchbearer Facilitators and those who want to become Facilitators. However, to take part in the training, you must -

  1. be able to mobilize the community in small groups.
  2. be able to lead in small group discussions.
  3. be able to identify and analyze a community problem, conceived a project to solve the problem and execute the project for the development of the community.
  4. be able to train others.
  5. have enough character and competence, and be ready to use them for the development of your community either on a part time or full time basis
 
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The Torchbearer Foundation for Missions, Reconciliation & Development is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1999 by Dr. Martin Niboh (PhD Physics and Dr. Alfred K. Njamnshi (MD, MA, DMS, FMH Neurology) to train holistic community development and establish networks of integrated self-sustaining projects to achieve a healthy and economically improved faith-based lifestyle. © 2011 Torchbearer Foundation for MRD. All Rights Reserved