Training Evangelistic Leadership

"Go quickly and tell...that He is risen from the dead!" — Matthew 28:7

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Our Leadership

TEL's direction and focus is set by our international director, with full support of our board of directors and a high degree of input from field leaders.

Organizational Leadership

Rev. Roy & Phyllis Robertson, Founder
Roy was the first Navigator missionary, having been sent to Shanghai, China, in 1948. He married Phyllis in 1960, and she became the prayer power behind their ministry. They began TEL in 1970 as a project under the Navigators, then led it full-time after retiring from the Navigators in 1978. Roy served throughout Asia for 60 years until his promotion to Heaven on May 8, 2008. Phyllis preceded him into Heaven on November 26, 2007.

Dr. Sean Collins, International Director
Sean's first exposure to missions was when his college Navigator bible study leader brought him to visit a Navigator missionary in the Philippines. That missionary was Roy Robertson who was with the Navigators and serving the Billy Graham Crusade in Manila as head of follow-up. At the same time, he was also starting TEL-Philippines. After college, Sean joined the Navigators serving for 3 years overseas and in Illinois. Later he earned a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Arizona. He now works as a full-time engineer. Sean and his wife, Leslie, were trained in the Robertson home and have served in various capacities with TEL since 2000. They have 4 children and live in Austin, Texas.

Lillie McWhinney, Financial Manager
Lillie has been working with TEL for more than 20 years, initially volunteering with her parents-in-law to help Roy and Phyllis mail out TELGRAMs and Roy's "Ropeholder" letters. She started keeping the ministry's books in 1989 on TEL's first computer. Her husband Don joined the board and she managed the receipts with a program designed by her son, Jimmy--who later served TEL in Shanghai. Lillie is a crucial part of the TEL team, calling staff "my missionaries" from the early days. She says she loves the work and hopes to keep serving TEL for the rest of her life.

Carrie Barton, Assistant to Financial Manager

Board of Directors

Don McWhinney

Barry Bruff, Chairman

Susan Bruff

Dr. Noel Funderburk

Rev. Mark Lewis

Lee Allison, Secretary/Treasurer

Janet Lewis

Work with Us

Our Vision

Motivated by Christ’s Great Commission to preach the gospel to every creature, Training Evangelistic Leadership’s primary objective is to recruit, train, and send forth local Gospel teams that reap public decisions for Christ with personalized follow-up. In countries where public preaching is possible, teams are sent forth to publicly proclaim the gospel. In others, personal evangelism is emphasized. Emphasis is always placed on shepherding those who make decisions for Christ into local churches.

TEL teams operate with three primary ministry distinctives:

  1. SERVING the national culture and local society by leaving the fruit of our evangelism and follow-up within the local churches.
  2. BLENDING missionaries and nationals together with equal status and opportunities into a mutually uplifting relationship.
  3. CONTINUING our missionaries on a lifelong basis by their bonding with the language and culture and continuing to develop a living fellowship with Jesus Christ.

TEL labors to train Asian evangelists for the harvest in a home environment. We apply Mark 3:14 by inviting Asians to live “with us” in full-time training programs of several months duration, where they are quipped both in the classroom and on the job for effective evangelistic ministry. Graduates of TEL training programs serve in churches, mission agencies, and as TEL staff. TEL also helps equip church leaders in effective evangelism and disciplemaking through training seminars.

In addition to team evangelistic ministry, all TEL missionaries and national workers labor to multiply their witness through personal disciplemaking.

TEL Ministry
About TEL

Our Origins

Training Evangelistic Leadership (TEL) was launched in Singapore in 1970 by Rev. Roy Robertson out a recognized need to develop more full-time Asian evangelists. He invited six men from five Asian countries to live in his home for a year to receive on-the-job training in evangelistic ministry. The vision of TEL continued to expand as Roy and his wife Phyllis conducted similar training programs through homes in Japan, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines.

TEL was initially formed by Roy as a project of The Navigators but has since become an independent mission agency that operates with an international board of directors in Denton, TX. Roy, who founded and continues to serve as International Director of TEL, sailed to China in 1948 having been appointed The Navigators’ first missionary by the organization’s founder Dawson Trotman. Roy labored in the ministry of evangelism and disciplemaking through The Navigators in many Asian countries until his retirement in 1986. Upon his retirement, Roy renewed his commitment to continue the ministry of evangelism and training in Asia full-time through TEL. The resultant fruit of that commitment, TEL is now a mission agency which is blend of about half international missionaries and half national workers operating in multiple Asian countries and in the United States.

TEL continues to labor in South and Southeast Asia with a vision to preach the gospel to every creature through direct proclamation and through training others who also desire to labor in this vision. The harvest is still ripe in Asia and TEL is trusting God for full-time missionaries whom God has called to help complete the work of evangelism in Asia through serving in gospel teams and training others to do the same.

For information about serving with TEL, please see our Service Opportunities.

About TEL
TEL Resources

TEL Resources

TEL's ministry is to help equip God's people for effective ministry to others through evangelism and discipleship. Toward that end, we offer several types of materials for purchase and some of our overseas materials for direct download. Thanks to Discipleship Library (External Link), we are also pleased to make available many of Roy Robertson's messages from his 50+ years of missionary service.

May the Lord be glorified, His Gospel proclaimed and His Kingdom advanced through the use of all these resources.

TEL Resources
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