Prior to COVID, I spent several weeks a year training believers overseas. I look forward to starting those journeys again not only because I want to help believers, but also because I get great joy out of the task. Pastors, here are some reasons you need to make this commitment, too:
- Others are already on the front lines, and they welcome the help to train those they reach. In fact, I would argue that the best short-term trainings are those we do in direct coordination with missionaries on the ground. Our job is to support them, not get in their way.
- Many of us, if not most of us, can find the resources to get there. Even if we don’t have the funds personally, I’ve never seen someone committed to Great Commission training who has not prayerfully come up with the resources. Ever.
- We usually have more training than others around the world—which means God will hold us accountable for using that training. I’ve been in places around the world where believers would welcome even fifteen minutes of good training. In fact, they’d pay attention for 15 hours if we offered that much training.
- Most of us need to learn from the global church, too. The best pastoral trainers I know go overseas as students more than teachers, as listeners more than talkers, as recipients more than givers. The global church is much bigger than our little world—and we need to realize that reality (in fact, here’s a post about what we can learn from believers around the world).
- We will be better communicators after having to work through a translator. Translation requires simple language with few idioms and only illustrations relevant to the receiving culture. Frankly, most of us pastors need to work on all these things—even when we’re communicating in our language to people who think like we do.
- Teaching cross-culturally almost always pushes us to pray more, and that’s good for us. We know the task is bigger than we are, and it moves us out of our comfort zone—so we pray more. We ought to see everything we do, regardless of culture, in that same light.
- Opportunities are waiting. Organizations like World Hope Bible Institute provide curriculum, recruit students, secure a meeting place, and pave the way for committed pastors who want to train. All we must do is make the time and cover our expenses—which takes me back to #2 above.
Pastors, despite the ongoing issues with COVID, I encourage you to plan toward the future. Prayerfully consider what role you might play in training the nations.