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July has been a deeply encouraging time for me and my family. From worshiping with our brothers and sisters in Christ at other churches to renewing and applying for all of our passports, we have stayed busy.
At the same time, I was reminded why my family is moving to South Africa after reading a recent article by Brian Considine, “The Urgent Need for Trained Pastors and the Great Commission.” He writes:
“We must recapture a missions emphasis on well-trained pastors who are able to think, live, preach and lead biblically, especially if our aim is to ‘finish the task’ and complete the Great Commission….
“According to a Gordon Conwell mid-2015 study, there is a structural imbalance of congregations (4.3 million) to ordained clergy and pastors (1.4 million). This does not include the many bi-vocational and un-ordained pastors. How then can churches flourish, experience both growth and health if many churches are without a pastor, and only a small percentage of pastors are trained to lead their congregations effectively?
“The urgent need today, and perhaps one of the most important missions strategy for the 21st Century, is for more trained pastors. Who better to mobilize the workers and pray-ers for the coming harvest? Who better to prepare and send workers to a nearby ‘unreached’ regions? Who else is charged with the spiritual shepherding of the people of God?”
This is why African Pastors’ Conferences exists, and I can’t wait to begin serving as their next Conference Manager, where I will be involved in equipping pastors throughout southern Africa!
While my family prepares to move to Africa, the July APC conferences took place in Zambia. I want to share with you an encouraging report about these conferences from the current Conference Manager:
“By God’s grace, the 2015 Zambian run of African Pastors’ Conferences went well yet again. While the Reformed Baptist movement is strong in Zambia, so is the influence of Prosperity Gospel. Most of the delegates were pastors from Prosperity Gospel churches. We were honored to have Dr. Cary Kimbrell from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Laurel, MS as our guest speaker. APC conducted two conferences on the run—one in the Copper Belt city of Ndola and another in the capital, Lusaka. Hundreds of delegates were expected but turnout was lower in Ndola than anticipated due to three other conferences going on in the city at the same time. This will be rectified in next year’s planning. Despite the lower than expected numbers, the delegates were hungry for books. APC broke sales records on the run with many hundreds of good Reformed books distributed. We are looking forward to being back in Zambia next year and already planning for 2016!”
However, this report reminds us of one of our greatest challenges—our time frame. APC’s current Conference Manager completes his missionary service at the end of August, which leads the ministry to need someone else to handle these responsibilities. Unlike other missionaries whose international ministry does not begin until they raise support and move to their new home, I will be serving with an existing ministry which has regular conference commitments. Thankfully, the Lord has provided some temporary time relief by providing a Zambian, Grave Singogo, to serve from September through November. Still, this means that my family needs to move to South Africa by the beginning of December so that the 2016 conferences can be carried on without any problems.
With this in mind, my family has taken steps for such a rapid move. My employment with Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary will conclude in October, and we will need to move out of our rental home by the end of October as well. My family has also registered for pre-field orientation with Mission Training International, which will take place in Colorado from October 26th through November 21st. We have taken all of these steps while trusting that Christ will provide our needed financial support by the end of October. So please pray that many churches and individuals over the next few months will Join the 33! and partner with us in equipping African pastors in the word of truth.
We have made a lot of progress in a short amount of time, having reached over 40% of the monthly financial commitments needed to begin serving with African Pastors’ Conferences. And I have several more opportunities to preach God’s Word and to present on African Pastors’ Conferences. Here are the upcoming opportunities which have been scheduled so far:
- August 23: Central Fellowship Baptist Church, Macon, GA
- August 30: Grace Baptist Church, Madison, AL
- September 20: Heritage Reformed Baptist Church, North Canton, OH
- September 24-26: Georgia Association of Confessional Baptists General Assembly, Jackson, GA
- September 27: Berean Baptist Church, Powder Springs, GA
Please pray that Christ will bless these opportunities as I share more about His kingdom work throughout southern Africa. May we see the fruit of more prayer partners and financial supporters joining with my family for the glory of God and the gospel of grace spreading throughout Africa!
Because of His grace,