While riding in a car in India, I am attempting to write this article. Over the course of this trip, we have met with several groups of pastors in five different states; totaling over 200 pastors. In each meeting, I am amazed by the devotion and sacrifice of these pastors. Many of them labor in very difficult regions or conditions. Some of them traveled 4-5 hours just to be with us, which was a challenge for them.
However, they are hungry for teaching and for our Scripture discipleship materials that would aid not only them, but also their church and ministry. While biblical teaching flourishes in the US, with more resources than we know what to do with, it is the opposite for many pastors around the world. Sometimes they are the only ones that even possess a Bible. In most cases, they themselves lack any biblical teaching, training or systematic Bible study, let alone their congregation.
One pastor, for example, told us how happy he was to receive Scripture resources from us. There simply are none in his region, and he is unable to purchase them elsewhere. The only material he did have was a little book on God. It just so happened that the day we were there, we were launching our fifth book in The Basic Series program, and that book is all about God! He also had no resources to give to people during his Christmas outreach, but this year he will!
Another pastor told us how The Basic Things You Need to Know About Prayer booklet changed his congregation’s mindset about prayer. Prior to reading this book, they would call him to pray for them over every little thing. But after reading the book, they don’t call him as often because they have now realized they have access to God, and he is answering their prayers!
While the books we publish are much needed materials for many pastors and churches, the pastor gatherings we host for them are also extremely needed for several reasons. One reason is that this is perhaps the only time they receive biblical training and teaching. While in India, I taught several sessions on who God is, and many of the pastors commented that they had never received such basic teaching on the attributes, character and Names of God revealed throughout Scripture. If pastors are not taught, how can they teach their flock? Teaching is greatly lacking in India, specifically systematic and solid biblical teaching.
Secondly, pastor conferences offer an opportunity for pastors to come together for much needed fellowship and prayer time. Frequently, pastors do not work together, yet these gatherings promote unity and stir up visions bigger than themselves. It also allows them to share their burdens, or share with others how The Basic Series is having an impact in their churches. Also, we can provide resources for them to bring back to their churches, rather than us continually visiting each individual church. This saves costs in the long-term.
Lastly, for any pastor who might read this, or for any person who shows this letter to their pastor, I would like to invite you and encourage you to come with me to India and to speak personally to pastors. Or maybe your church would be willing to help us host some pastor meetings. Through these conferences, I’ve realized that the impact is far greater than the usual stories we receive weekly. Also, our vision is actually much bigger than what we are presently able to accomplish. We want to impact all of India, and many other countries as well, with God’s Word. We want to come alongside, train and equip pastors so that they will be more effective in their ministry and see more fruit. They certainly do not lack passion, devotion, faith and sacrifice. In fact, in most cases they put us to shame! Oftentimes I have said: What we lack, they possess. And what they lack, we possess. So, if our two worlds could ever meet, it would be dynamic and mutually beneficial!
In the end, all I can say is what Nathaniel said to a skeptical Philip: …Come and see. Words fail to adequately convey what you will experience, if willing to respond and see for yourself! Contact us for more information or check out our mission trip page: weservenow.org/mission-trips.