The success of the Global Association of Theological Studies is dependent upon the Lord, and a fabulous group of men and women who work to bring our vision to pass. Our team is made up of international administrative personnel, regional directors, regional representatives, consultants from the Global Training Institute and those that assist us in developing courses, office work, and a host of other activities. All are integral in accomplishing our objectives and goals.

See the documents provided for details on the administrative structure for GATS and the Job Descriptions for GEC members.

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Administrative Structure of GATS
Job Descriptions of GATS
General Director of Foreign Missions
Bruce A. Howell, Ex-Officio Member of the GEC

Rev. Bruce Howell is the General Director of Global Missions. He is the former dean of Christian Education at Jackson College of Ministries, was appointed to El Salvador in 1979 and served there for about twenty years, became a Regional Director, and was elected as the general director in October 2001.

Brother Howell emphatically states, “Ministerial education is crucial to the future of the United Pentecostal Church International. The Church marches forward only to the extent that we evangelize the world and educate our converts. GATS is a cutting edge education program that uses the foundation of our past to build for the bright future of taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World by the Whole Church in the 21st century. I stand firmly behind the work of GATS and the Global Education Committee. I foresee ground-breaking changes in the way we go about Bible school training.”

Director of Education and AIM, UPCI Global Missions/Coordinator of GATS

James Poitras

James Poitras has a BEd from the University of New Brunswick, a BA in Biblical Studies from Indiana Bible College, and is actively pursuing a MA in Ministerial Studies (Education Concentration) from Global University. Additionally, he has attended the United Pentecostal Church Bible Institute. His wife, Linda, is also an educator with a Bachelor's degree from Troy State University. Both have been extensively involved in missions and Bible School administration for more than thirty years.

Brother Poitras served as the President of the African Center for Theological Studies and Director of Christian Education for UPCI Ghana. He coordinated Africa's regional theological education program for five years until February 2007 when he was asked to serve as the Coordinator of the Global Association of Theological Studies. His website is and He supervises several other websites and web-based projects for Global Missions.

Brother Poitras is the founder of Portable Bible Schools International and has authored its curriculum in four levels entitled Acts: God's Training Manual for Today's Church. This two hundred lesson series is widely used and translated into multiple languages. Literally thousands of students have studied under this program. He is a prolific writer, especially in the realm of curriculum and has written more than ten books. Linda has written two Bible College textbooks and multiple manuals for Reaching Africa's Children.

Brother Poitras talks, breathes, bleeds and lives Bible school education. His personal vision is found in 2 Timothy 2:2 "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."

The Poitrases served as career missionaries in Africa for twenty-eight years before becoming the Director of Education/AIM for Global Missions, UPCI, in January of 2012.

Regional Directors
Jerry Richardson, Africa Region

Jerry Richardson, an MK, graduated from Conqueror’s Bible College, pastored, and was appointed to Madagascar in 1974. He became the regional director for Africa in 1996. The church in Madagascar continues to experience phenomenal growth. Why? The Richardson family strongly believe in Bible school, evidenced by the extensive training program they established; one of the finest on the continent and around the world. Sister Richardson is an active and avid backer of Bible school training.

Brother Richardson once commented, “We have a complicated task, because we live in a complicated society. We have an advanced, highly educated society and yet there is the traditional which bring a slower paced, less educated society. The church must meet both.” To meet this need he actively pursued a foundational meeting of key international leaders, missionaries, and nationals to discuss continuous improvement in Bible schools within Africa. In June 2002 the Africa Association of Theological Studies was born. A partially standardized curriculum was established and has worked well.

Jerry Richardson is a visionary. He continued to lift his eyes from Africa, looking at the condition of Bible school training globally. In 2006, along with Robert K. Rodenbush, they petitioned for a Global Education Network gathering. The Director of Education, Lloyd Shirley, facilitated such a meeting in October 2006. The Global Association of Theological Studies and the Global Education Committee both were established in those pivotal sessions giving new direction in the way we go about Bible school education.

Michael Tuttle, Europe / Middle East Region

Michael Tuttle attended and graduated from Conquerors Bible College in Portland, Oregon, in 1975.  He went on to complete the Bible College's fourth year internship program in conjunction with the UPCI Missionary Helper Program.   He studied with university students at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. There, he was involved in witnessing, teaching Bible Studies and organizing a Christian Student fellowship.  During that year he also taught in the Bible School training program for U.S. Military personnel stationed in Germany.  He found it exciting and rewarding to teach the Word to hungry men and women.

After short-term missions work in Europe the call and the burden for Europe never left.  In September 1982, Mike Tuttle and his wife, Dianna (in her 7th month carrying their daughter), along with their seventeen month old son, Matthew, left for Germany to minister to U.S. and NATO Military personnel in Baumholder, Germany.  From AIM missionaries to full time career missionaries, from Germany to Holland, their lives became intertwined with the love for missionary work in Europe.

Brother Tuttle's convictions about training are obvious when he writes: “The future of the Church is in training.  Evangelism begins and continues through training.  If the Church does not take the reins in hand to teach and train, its destiny is dismal and will one day become a statistic in the history books of tomorrow.  I believe wholeheartedly in passionate Bible teaching!

It was a privilege to be involved in Harvest Bible College in Glasgow, Scotland.  Each year he paid his own way to Glasgow to teach in the Bible College.  He often took one of the young ministers, teachers or pastors from Holland with him.  When the door opened for young ministers from the UPC in Holland to go and teach, he helped pay their ways to go and be involved.  One learns more when challenged to teach others.  Therefore, go ye into all the world and TEACH!  Teaching is learning. 

Brother Tuttle writes: The GATS program is helping to unify the efforts of the Church around the world in training, teaching, preaching and evangelizing.  We must continue to teach and train those who have come to know the Lord Jesus.   The Church should carefully consider the new methods, new technology, and new ways to relay, to spread and to publicize the unchanging Gospel.  The heritage and the tradition of the Church are found in teaching and preaching the Word of God.   Furthermore, training and teaching is the future of the Apostolic movement of our day.  We cannot leave it for others to do for us.  It cannot be left to chance.  An organized, orchestrated, and methodical curriculum instructing others, who will in turn teach others also, is what the Church is all about.  What we do is who we are! And we are teachers, trainers, preachers and propagators of the Gospel message.

Lynden Shalm, Asia Region

Lynden Shalm has a long history of involvement with Bible schools and missions. He returned from Asia, as a MK, to attend Conqueror's Bible College and then graduated from Apostolic Missionary Institute. In addition to pastoring, Brother Shalm has served at the Apostolic Missionary Institute (Instructor), United Pentecostal Bible Institute (Dean of Men and then Principal), and New Life Training Center in Pakistan (Principal). He also helped establish training programs in Sri Lanka and served on the School Board for the Lahore American School.

Brother Shalm has served as missionary since 1984 and became the Regional Director of Asia in 2003.

Multiplied millions in Asia have an interest in continuing education. Times Online in December 2006 reported that India is targeted as the computer and Internet's most important emerging market right alongside China (with its 137 million online). That only scratches the surface of the potential for GATS to be a blessing throughout Asia.

David Schwarz, Central America / Caribbean

David Schwarz was raised in a Home Missions pastor's home, starting churches in Missouri and Oklahoma. At the age of 15, along with receiving the Holy Ghost, he felt a call to preach and to a Spanish speaking mission field.

After 12 years of ministry, he received missionary appointment to Costa Rica in 1988, where he served as President of the work for 19 years. He also served at the Bible School, and raised up a church in the capital city. He also served as Area Coordinator for the Southern Sub-Region of Central America for 8 years until his appointment of Regional Director of the CAC region in January 2012.

According to David Schwarz, "GATS is and will be one of the greatest tools that we have been given to prepare leaders to take the Word to the world. As we are able to put GATS in more nations, we will see greater results in reaching the lost and having stronger works and churches around the world."

Roger D. Buckland, Pacific Region

Roger Buckland received a BA of Apostolic Studies from the Apostolic Bible Institute and comes to GATS with an extensive background in Bible School ministry. He served as the President of the Apostolic Institute of Ministries, Davao City, Philippines for eight years before becoming the first UPCI missionaries to the Czech Republic. Brother and Sister Buckland have successfully founded The Apostolic Center of Theological Studies in the capital city of Prague, building the curriculum and having it translated into the Czech language. In January of 2008, the Balkan Bible Institute was also opened in Serbia under their leadership.

Brother Buckland is absolutely convinced of the tremendous value of such a comprehensive, globally standardized Bible School Training Program such as GATS. Training and developing national leaders in Apostolic doctrine, Apostolic ministry and Apostolic living has always been a top priority.

He wholeheartedly encourages the further development and advancement of GATS and GATS Faculty Advancement Seminars throughout the nations of the vast Pacific Region.

Darry Crossley South America Region

Brother Darry Crossley, Regional Director of South America, has extensive history of involvement in missions and Bible schools. He graduated from Conquerors Bible College in 1972. He taught a couple of courses there while waiting on resident visas to Argentina in 1976. He set up the first regular Bible school in Argentina in 1974-75, directed it for many years, and taught up to twenty hours per week. Through the years he has had the opportunity to teach every subject offered in the Bible school there, except the one for the Pentecostal Woman.

He states that his first calling is to the teaching ministry. He believes that Bible schools and formal class training is of incalculable benefit to the churches in South America. Most of the top level leaders are Bible school graduates. All of the South American nations have some type of Bible school training, and in most cases, two or three years of curriculum.

Brother Crossley is intent on continuing to expand the Bible school ministry by incorporating extension Bible schools in every country. Ecuador has just added four extension Bible schools. Columbia is in the process of expansion.

The importance of putting our international curriculum as well as Oneness doctrinal textbooks into Spanish cannot be over-emphasized. The worldwide Spanish community is continuing to escalate in population as well as hunger for the Word in their language. We must do our best to see these texts and curriculum either translated or written directly into Spanish.

Regional Representatives to GATS
Nick Sisco, Africa Region

A graduate of both Northeast Christian College and Indiana Bible College, Nick's passion is to help people succeed in life by living the Word of God. He believes in teaching, training and empowering individuals for the expansion of God's Kingdom.

In 1996, Nick began his missionary career in Ghana by compiling a fifty-two lesson discipleship curriculum and teaching in the Portable Bible Schools. In 1998 he began teaching at African Centre for Theological Studies (ACTS).

From 1999-2002, Nick served in various teaching capacities at The Learning Centre School in Botswana, culminating in his appointment as Principal of their Junior and Senior High School. He also taught at their evening Bible School and developed a New Converts Course entitled, I Want To Be Transformed. He was blessed with the opportunity to mentor several young men, many of whom now serve as pastors throughout the country.
In 2005, Nick returned to Ghana as Principal and an instructor at ACTS. Although he enjoys teaching in the classroom, another area of ministry that brings great joy is church planting. He loves helping Bible School students through the process whereby a church is born, nurtured and developed to walk on its own.

In addition to the main campus, there are presently four extension schools operating within Ghana. Through consultation, Faculty Education and collaboration, Nick desires to help Bible School training programs throughout Africa reach their maximum potential in apostolic ministry.

J. Prince Mathiasz, Asia Region

J. Prince Matthiasz obtained his Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees from Indiana Bible College. He was instrumental in establishing the UPCI in Sri Lanka and has served as founding pastor for many of the UPCI congregations there. He has written several textbooks for the Ministerial College of Theology and is heavily involved with its associate’s degree program.

Brad Thompson, Central America/Caribbean

Brad Thompson graduated from the United Pentecostal Bible Institute and immediately began his ministry in Guatemala with a vision to establish an effective training program. That he surely has done. Brother Thompson has one of the largest Bible schools in the UPCI with 244 students and 23 teachers. It has been very effective in producing ministers, training leaders, and providing stability to the UPC of Guatemala. This is evidenced in 175 established churches, 237 daughter works; among 188 licensed ministers, and over 18,000 members.

Brother Thompson is presently pursuing a degree in education and serves as the Regional Director of Education and as one of the Area Coordinators in the Central America/Caribbean Region.

Kevin Vacca, Pacific Region

Kevin Vacca, while performing secular work in Japan and Taiwan, founded churches in both nations. After receiving missionary appointment, Brother & Sister Vacca established six more churches in the nations of Taiwan and the Philippines. Our work in the Philippines is the largest outside of North America, with two thousand churches and fifteen districts.

The most important contributor to the growth of the UPC, in the Philippines, has been Bible schools. Five, two-year Bible colleges are currently operating. Brother Vacca states, “I have served in countries where the work was quite small, and where the work is large and growing. Without in-depth Bible based training, of men/women, who have a calling, no work will be able to increase by any large scale. GATS has the potential to encourage more of our called men/women to do long term in-depth Bible based study using a modernized curriculum. Those who complete these courses will automatically provide the needed base for growth, beyond the founding level, that hampers many of our works around the world, and to also encourage more students to attend Bible College thereby helping our larger fields to continue to grow.”

Shane Hayes, South America Region

Shane Hayes was raised in Chile as the son of missionaries. He graduated from Texas Bible College in 1994 and began his ministry assisting at Tabernaculo de Vida Houston and teaching in the Spanish Texas Bible College. Bro & Sis Hayes began their missionary career by pioneering the work in San Andres, Colombia. They were able to leave a self-supporting work with several preaching points. In 2010, Bro. Hayes saw his lifelong dream of moving back to Chile become a reality as God called them to labor in his “home” country.

Bro. Hayes passion is apostolic evangelism and understands that the key to reaching the nation of Chile is ministerial training and the Bible School. As such, he was appointed president of the Chilean Bible School where he immediately began implantation of the GATS program.

Ray Nicholls, Europe/Middle East Region

Ray Nicholls received a BS in Marketing Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and comes to GATS with an extensive background in training and establishing leaders in Eastern Europe. He was President and founder of New Hope Christian Schools of Belarus, being responsible for the establishing of several Christian schools and for directing teacher training. In addition to this, Brother Nicholls, taught, trained and mentored leaders who are presently serving as pastors in churches throughout Belarus. After pioneering the work in Belarus, Brother Nicholls pioneered the work in Poland, establishing and training national leaders to help shoulder the work, opening churches in six cities.

Presently Brother Nicholls is missionary to Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. He co-founded Revivial by Design, a strategy for continual revival and Bible training. Through this effort he has helped to open more than 44 Bible training centers throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Brother Nicholls is a strong believer in Bible school education and believes in the principles and goals of the GATS program. He wholeheartedly encourages the further developement and advancement of GATS and GATS Faculty Advancement Seminars through the nations of Europe and the Middle East.