The recent pastors’ conference went very well. God blesses each one. No two are exactly, and some touch me more than others for various reasons. This recent one was specifically significant and touching to me. It was in the same conference building as my very first pastors’ conference 10 years ago this month. In fact, 3 of the pastors with us for this conference were at that very first one. I’ve really been thinking about all the conferences since and the difference in me between then and now.
At that first conference I was totally inexperienced and without confidence or rapport with the men, but they accepted me anyway and God used what I tried to say. Since then I’ve had 120 days of conferences in India (over 400 teaching sessions) and taught over 5,000 pastors and 1,500 wives. I’ve written 5 books with almost 50,000 copies in print. I’ve spent a total of over 7 months in India. It’s totally humbling to be part of what God has been doing during this time. I’ve changed and learned quite a bit in these 10 years. Not to mention that I’ve gotten 10 years older!
I’ve grown tremendously from the hard stretching I get when coming to India. I’ve also learned much about training pastors here. In the early years I worked must hard and put in longer hours. I’d teach 4 session a day to pastors, then visit several churches in the afternoon and evening. We’d stay in pastor’s homes, using their bed while they slept on the floor. I eaten their food, drawn water from their wells and picked fruit from their trees, used their bathrooms (a bucket of water and hole in the floor) and extensively used every mode of travel in India. Those were wonderful experiences and rich times of fellowship and learning. I’m very glad I experienced them, but I’m just as glad I don’t do ministry here that way anymore.
Now I teach 3 sessions a day, we drive in a car that has been provided for Pastor Moses, we have a well trained and very efficient cadre of pastors preparing our meetings in each place we go. We stay in very nice hotels with free continental breakfasts and we get to bed at a decent time each night. We have larger venues than in the past and hold 2-day conferences instead of one day. So we train a greater number of pastors and have each of them for twice as long without increasing the length of our time in India (always about 4 weeks).
I like to think we work smarter, not harder now. The quantity of what we do is not as great, but the quality more than makes up for that. And the influence of many thousands of books in many thousands of homes reaches far more people, and in a deeper way, than I could in 12 months of teaching and visiting all day every day.
From the bottom of my heart I say this is totally all God’s doing, He makes all this happen and uses it for His glory. For 30 years He has been training and equipping me for this season of ministry. I am completely humbled, beyond words, at the end of each conference to be part this important effort. What a glorious privilege it is for me to meet and teach these pastors – the front-line foot soldiers fighting for God’s Kingdom in India. What wonderful, dedicated, sacrificial but still sinful and in-progress men they are! Thanks so very much for your prayers and financial gifts, for without them none of this would be happening. (January 30, 2016 Hyderabad, India)
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all things that I have commanded them, and lo, I am with you, even to the end of the age!”