The Past ... International Training & Equipping Ministries (ITEM) was officially established in December 2003, but the current ministry was actually initiated in January of 1998 when Dr. Steve Van Horn accepted the invitation of his longtime friend, Dr. Lazarus Seruyange, to teach a course at the Nairobi International School of Theology (NIST) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Steve's life and ministry were touched and a vision for an international ministry was born.

Three of Steve's students approached him during those two weeks to talk about continued partnership. Pastors Bosela Eale and Banda Banda -di- Mamoso asked Steve if his church would be interested in starting churches in their home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Another student, Pastor Julius Twongyeirwe from Uganda, became a close friend and together they heard the call of God to begin training pastors and leaders for the church of Uganda.

Steve traveled back to Kenya in August 1998 and again in January 1999. By that time the elders of his church agreed that God was leading the church in this bold new direction and approved both ministries. By May of 1999 Pastor Steve had transitioned into being the church's full-time Missions pastor in charge of developing the expanding vision.

Between 1999 and 2003, Steve was instrumental in helping to start nine churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The number of churches has grown and national pastors are leading all of these churches. He was also the primary teacher at numerous training seminars in Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Kenya.

In March 2005 Steve finished the transition from pastoral ministry and began devoting full time to training and equipping pastors and church leaders.

Since 2003 Steve has made three trips a year to Africa conducting 2-3 Bible and theology seminars per trip, training between 500-600 pastors and church leaders per year.

The Present ... Ministry is going on in ten African countries with open doors in several others. Each country has a coordinator and approximately six other nationals (referred to as “trainers”) who are being trained to conduct ITEM training on their own. Many have already begun training their fellow pastors and church leaders using ITEM resources. US based trainers are traveling to Africa to help equip the ITEM teams there.  

The Future ... By the end of 2018, all coordinators and trainers will be trained to begin implementing the ITEM E-4 Church Strategy (see our Vision), leading to strong, vibrant, healthy churches. US based trainers will be available to help implement the strategy.

By the end of 2020, it is expected that up to 2500 pastors and church leaders will be enrolled in a mentoring fellowship where they will become godly examples, equippers, and Bible expositors, which will lead to strong, vibrant, healthy churches.