(Wednesday, Jan 18, Vijayawada) I have been greatly anticipating this leadership training class. The opportunity of speaking to almost 60 pastoral leaders for 3 days has been a great joy and also a solemn responsibility. The idea behind it is sound – teach those who can teach others. When I train pastors it is like throwing a pebble into a pond. The rings go out affecting those in their church. But when we train pastors who oversee and train other pastors it is more like throwing a bolder into a pond – the ripples have a much broader affect.
Knowing what to speak about for those 3 days (12 one-hour sessions) takes prayer and listening to God. There is so much that could be covered. Foremost in my thinking is to prepare them to pastor in their culture so I teach Bible principles, never American ways of doing things. There are many subcultures within India so they must apply what we teach to their own people group. I do much reading and research, talk to many who minister in India, and draw on my own previous years’ experiences to see what God would have me teach.
This year I gave them an overview of the whole Bible (4 sessions) using by Bible overview visuals, magic, talking in costume as Paul, group interaction and review. The session on Jesus is a highlight in worship and praise. I dressed as Nehemiah (2 sessions) and told them lessons of leadership from his life. We talk about what God expects of pastors (2 sessions) and give copies of my book by for them to use and give out. I taught them how to study the Bible (2 sessions) and we used Mark 5 where Jesus delivered the demonized man in Gadarenes as the passage we practice on. This leads into our closing sessions on spiritual warfare, concluding with prayer for deliverance from anything the enemy is doing in their lives. We also give copies of our Spiritual Warfare handbook for them to use and distribute.
In order to cover all this material we bring them together for 3 days. They have no resources so we pay for transportation, housing, all their meals, and give them a small financial gift to help with other expenses. They stay up at night and get up in the morning, fellowshipping, praying and singing. They stay in a large dorm room at the Catholic retreat center where we meet. The fellowship, support, friendships, sharing of burdens and blessings, group prayer and group worship starts at 6 in the morning and goes to 10 or 11 at night. It is a great benefit and blessing to them, well worth the cost (it is by far our greatest single expense but well worth it).
I’m never sure going into a conference here what the response will be but this was greatly received and the pastors were very positive in all their participation and evaluations. It is physically draining on me but very rewarding and a great blessing. They want to have another next year, but want it to be a marriage conference and bring their wives. A husband and wife training conference sounds great!
Thanks for your prayer support and financial gifts – that is what makes this possible. God will bless and reward each one of you for your part in this special event. Thanks again!
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization