Why does a young father dedicate his life to rescuing women off the streets? Why does a busy mother of three start a school in the middle of a slum? Why does a widow dedicate her life to caring for orphans? Why does an educated man work diligently to care for lepers? Why does a successful US businessman use his hard-earned money to help build dorms for orphans in Congo? Why does a group of US men and women go to Africa to work with traumatized children? Why? The answer lies in the truths of God’s Word! James 1:27 says “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
Recent studies indicate that 85% of churches in the world are led by individuals who have no formal training in ministry. To these statistics, Paul’s words in Romans speak, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:14)
It is to this work that Christ has called the global church - “to equip God’s people to do his work.” (Ephesians 4:12) Across Africa, we have labored to equip men and women, local church leaders and pastors with the Word of God. They desire knowledge of the Scriptures along with a biblical approach to the many facets of ministry – church organization, financial transparency, the emotional health of their members and care for the widows and orphans.
To what end?
We are walking alongside these men and women, discipling, mentoring, and teaching them, so that as the Word of God matures them, they build thriving communities, pointing others to Christ. Here is the good news: we are not alone in this work! Every one of the pastors and church leaders in our courses are contending with us toward maturity – not just their own but for others around them! For almost 20 years, we have helped equip leaders who are maturing in their faith and growing their impact.
We have seen communities where police and government officials in a war zone learn how to work with traumatized children. We know a community where the local chief, the Muslim Iman, and the local pastor worked with the government to build and maintain a clean water well during an Ebola outbreak. We’ve celebrated with a group of students who has graduated with a new study Bible and the Word of God buried in their hearts as they go to pastor the churches they have been called to.
And in each of these solutions, these leaders push back against statistics like 85% of leaders have no formal training. They have become a part of the solution. They have partnered with friends across the United States who are pursuing the maturity of the saints. Together, we are the global church. Contending with Jude, for the faith God has entrusted to us.