A Changing View of Doing Missions

I had the opportunity to speak in a great church in the Boston area yesterday morning and share what God is doing through Global Baptist Training Foundation.  As I shared what has happened in the last six years even I was amazed to recognize once again all that has transpired.

I remember thinking that we would have to rely on Western missionaries to find out where the native pastors were located in various countries so we could arrange for training classes to be held.  I envisioned a lot of telephone and email exchanges trying to discover the location of nationals and then working out a strategy for how we would arrange a classroom.  What I didn't know is that this was never going to happen!

Six years later I have never made that first call or email attempting to discover the whereabouts of indigenous pastors and church leaders.  Starting in 2012 when our first website was created and our organization was online we began to be noticed.  However, most of our national hosts in Afric…

Why Did Jesus Stop Reading in Isaiah 61?

In Luke 4 we read the story of Jesus coming into His hometown of Nazereth to preach in the local synagogue.  As I read the story I was engrossed in this event of Jesus' homecoming at the onset of His  three year ministry.  This is where He grew up and of course, everyone knew the carpenter's son.  As Jesus stood up in the synagogue that morning there must have been a host of nostalgic mothers who were enraptured with Christ's commanding presence.  He stood up, asked for the Isaiah scroll and immediately opened it to the area of what we know as Isaiah 61, and began to read the opening verses,

The Spirit of Lord is upon me; because Jehovah has annointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of Jehovah's favor, ..........

Then right in the middle of that verse, the text then says that Jesus rolled the scroll back up …

A Time to Remember

This week before I open our first class in Mexico, Grace and I have had the opportunity to attend the weddings of two of our former college students.  It is both a joy and a poignant reminder of how fast time passes in each of our lives.  On Saturday we witnessed Chet and Legna's union in Kansas City.  Chet grew up with our son John and spent lots of time in our home eating, sleeping, and developing a long-term relationship with our family.  Chet is now starting a new church plant in New England.  Several times, we heard Chet tell us how much our home and family meant to him over those precious years.

On Saturday of this week we will attend another wedding with Kelsey and Nick in Maine.  Kelsey too, has been connected to our family and ministry for many years.  She was our first teacher in Rwanda at one of the schools with which we are associated through GBTF.  She is one of the bravest students we have ever had the privilege of training.

As we have the honor this week of interac…

Forgetting and Forging Ahead

It seldom matters who we are, where we have come from, or where we are going now, that the distant past doesn't rear its head so high in our rear view mirrors that we sometimes are overcome.  Yes, we can be overcome with fear, regret, or even a fantasy world re-creation of past situations that did not turn out the way we wanted or end the way we would have wished.
Sadly, many Christians are living in their past.  But we need to be reminded of something that is true for all of us as believers in Jesus Christ.  We can choose not to live there anymore!  That's right.  You don't have to don the victim mentality every time you get out of bed.  You don't have to respond to any given situation the same way you always have in the past.  You don't have to feel about people what you felt since you have known them.  You can change all of it by simply choosing not to.
The Apostle Paul gave us the exact prescription for how this can be done...every day.  Here it is:
Not that I …

A Fresh Reminder

Having just returned from Liberia, I have once again a refreshed perspective about missions being done through the local church.  Several times during the week I spent with the nearly seventy native pastors I talked with them about the best ways to reach their country for Christ.  Without any exception they believe that the keys to reaching their families, neighbors, and friends resides in trained Liberian servants of God who already know the language, understand the culture, and love the people.  
For many of us who either labor for Global Baptist Training Foundation or support it, it comes as no surprise that this is the sentiment of locals all over the globe who know Jesus Christ and desire to reach their populaces through the building up of Scriptural churches and pastors, that nationals want to take full responsibility for the evangelism of their nations.  I noticed this week when interacting with these pastors that they deeply sense the need for training and support to do the L…

Working the Plan!

Today is the final day of class in Gbarnga, Liberia and as we close it out I want to share what took place yesterday at the close of the class day.  Pastor Togba showed me a tentative list of those he and others had chosen to be the first Liberian trainers.  The choices of these men were not taken lightly.  The men represent the spiritual best and academically brightest men among the largest class we train.
As I looked at each of them yesterday, I saw a level of expectation and passion that was exciting to see.  One by one they gave testimony of how they have implemented GBTF materials in their communities and within special events.  I was thrilled to stand with them and listen to each one of them passionately communicate their plans to expand and build on what already has been done!
What are the ultimate goals?  First, the raising up and training of pastors and other church leaders who are passionate about taking their theological training and using it to build up their churches and…

The Rewards of Training the Indigenous.

Yesterday I was on my way to Gbarnga, Liberia when our car, filled with Liberian pastors stopped at a church for morning worship.  It just happened to be one of the church plants started one year ago through our GBTF/Advance Ministries partnership.  Our agreement is simply that GBTF trains the pastors and Advance helps fund these trained men to go out and start new churches all over Liberia.  In the past year thirty-four new church plants have sprung up around the country. 
This church was started by one of the younger pastors, and on this particular Sunday, there were about seventy-five people present.  I had the privilege of bringing the message to this new group of young believers.  Among them were a number of visitors. At the close of the service, six people trusted Christ and were added to their number. It was a great beginning to a new week of training pastors here in Liberia! 
When we got back on the road I turned to our host James and said, "How many years would it have …