As a missionary I am always thinking about how to make myself/ourselves dispensable. How do we train up leaders in such a way that the work goes on fine and even better in our absence? This is what is on my heart most often lately. I love the opportunity to lead this church and I have no intention of leaving before God’s perfect timing but I am always thinking how can I best lead and begin to prepare for the work to go on without our presence. This is a long process (longer than I ever anticipated). Specifically I have been studying the Scriptures, reading books, dialoguing with pastors, missionaries, team members and praying about this one thing: how do we establish local leaders? How do we establish elders? Of all the things we do this is probably the greatest and most critical task: recognizing, training, leading and establishing local elders, deacons and leaders.
Currently I am reading a book by Thabiti M. Anyabwile from nine marks ministry (some of you may have gone to hear Mark Dever from nine marks speak at Denton Bible Church). Here are some phrases that encouraged me,
“In order to find reliable men to serve as elders, the first thing we need to look for is men who desire this ‘noble task.’ We want men who have a heart for it, who ‘aspire to the office’… Practically speaking, one of the first things a pastor must do is clarify and teach godly ambition, including the godliness of aspiring to be an elder. Faithful pastors will regularly encourage young men (including twenty-somethings) to include in their personal aspirations the goal of becoming an elder…. The pastoral challenge to aspire to be an elder is good and godly. It’s another way of saying to Christian men, “This is what Christian maturity and Christlikeness look like.” Such maturity and Christ-likeness ought to be desired, not shied away from or downplayed. Can you imagine the Christ-exalting power of a church filled with men possessing a strong, godly desire to lead Christ’s sheep in their homes and their church?”
God has been gracious to bring us men who though like the disciples that Jesus chose have much to grow in, have a desire and hunger to learn, grow and even a sense of calling to this noble task. Some I have mentioned to you before. Here is a brief update on each one of them.
This picture is a bit old since their first baby has been born. He is our worship leader from Colombia. He is currently going through our Bible Training Center for Pastors and has been a huge help in the church in so many areas. He recently has quit his regular job (which was cleaning at the governor’s house) and stepped out in faith to take on various jobs as a music teacher and choir director that would allow him more time for ministry. Because of his new schedule we are beginning to get weekly time together (apart from some of the meetings we are in). I am looking forward to these weekly times of discussing the worship service in more detail together as well as a time to invest deeper in his life.
Enrique has quite a story and I believe I have shared it before but it has been great to see him grow and see God’s hand on his life both in salvation and now in how He has placed him in our church and in some very strategic internet ministry opportunities (a facebook page he developed with some others that focuses on placing gospel centered teaching quotes for the hispanic world has grown to 400 thousand likes in less than a year)
He is been really challenged in the BTCP. He told me the other day how much he had learned and loved studying the kings in the Old Testament. He helps with our website, facebook page and the cleaning ministry in the church. He recently was asked to join the gospel coalition spanish team so through him we have made a lot of contacts with pastors in the Spanish speaking world. He is married and has a young baby. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for him.
I first met Luis through a course I was teaching in the Bible Institute in La Plata. He is from El Salvador. My wife and I have been meeting with them to do premarital counseling. I will be marrying them November of this year. He is currently developing the children’s ministry of the church. He’s really soaking up all that he is learning from BTCP because he developed a course for the teachers on how to study their bibles based on what he was learning in the BTCP.
Need to get a picture of him. He’s Roger’s brother. He was in a Seminary but he just finished and is moving closer (from Buenos Aires) just so he can be in our church and continue to go through the BTCP. Like most seminaries in Argentina he realized as he went through the BTCP that the seminary he was at had a low view of Scriptures. He is happy to go through a training that teaches all of the Bible and has a high view of it. He will be needing a job to support himself as he moves to City Bell. He will be living in the church and helping with whatever is needed. Has a real heart to take training to other places.
There’s more… But these are some men that I wanted to mention to you for prayer, for thanksgiving, men which I have lately been encouraged to see God at work in their lives and looking forward to helping them in pursuit of their call and also hoping that among some of these will be the future leadership of our church plant.
BTCP and Broad Training in Argentina
Joe and Kurt have been able to give more time to this ministry in the last few months and we are seeing the fruit of it. We’re having more startups and more opportunities to help pastors across the country. Joe is also been giving his time to investigating the terrain of what is currently going on with regards to formal training across the nation that will help us better assess how we best fit in our attempts to provide biblical training to untrained Christian leaders.
Greg, Caro, Alaina, Wendy and Thiago….
Greg’s original prayer letter from which the above was excerpted can be read here: