There are several reasons ACTION has a special concern for pastors in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and why we put a special emphasis on conferences for these pastors, Christian leaders, and Bible school students:
1. Pressure to conform to the world
Pastors and church leaders are being pulled in many different directions by the standards of the world and not God’s. It seems they are bombarded with ever-changing church growth programs, new methods, and styles of worship; and their congregations direct them in a multitude of directions seeking to have their personal preferences met. A minister is expected to make his church successful, always be on the cutting edge, produce quick growth, and keep everyone happy. There is pressure to perform rather than to grow in integrity and faithfulness. The church desperately needs to continue with the simple message of Jesus Christ, preaching and teaching the Word of God and the cross-centered life.
2. Lack of encouragement and support
Many pastors and church leaders are serving God in effective ways but without support, prayer, or encouragement from others. I met a pastor in Malawi who traveled monthly to the 60 churches he was responsible for—equipped with only his Bible, a well-worn bicycle, and a passion to assist many who lacked a local shepherd. I met similar pastors in Cuba who make only $5 to $12 per month and hero pastors in the Philippines seeking to meet the many needs of their desperately poor and needy people while at the same time trying to meet the needs of their own families on less than $20 a month. ACTION holds pastors’ conferences to put arms around these pastors by encouraging them and offering our concern and prayer.
3. A sense of hopelessness
Many ministers we work with are themselves poor and serve in very poor areas of the world. They are alone, discouraged, and ready to quit. Many feel like failures because they think they are not doing enough. These church leaders need an extraordinary infusion of encouragement.
4. Overwhelming ministry needs
The needs of these leaders are immense and their tasks are daunting. The calling of God on their lives is of immeasurable value, and yet it seems that “all hell breaks loose” seeking to bring them down. As we minister to these pastors and church leaders their spirits will be stirred, resulting in a powerful ripple effect on their churches, cities, and even nations.
5. Carnality in the church
It is easy for a church to slip into carnality and a lack of spiritual growth. As Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus, he gave many instructions which many pastors have not studied or applied to their lives and ministries because of a lack of teaching and resources. ACTION seeks to teach and train in the Word of God as well as supply evangelical theology books to assist pastors in their work. In the Philippines there are 41,000 under-trained pastors, and there are similar situations in Africa and Latin America.
What ACTION does:
ACTION works with these pastors in special one- to five-day conferences accomplishing the following:
a. We provide pastors a challenge from the Word of God as an encouragement for them to persevere in ministry. “Therefore, my beloved brethren [and sisters], be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NASB).
b. We encourage the pastor in his day-to-day walk with God and ministry for God.
c. We provide training in ministry on such topics as:
How to Teach and Preach the Word of God
How to Use the Word of God to Disciple the Church, Family, and Others
The Pastor and his Family
Working with other Churches without Compromising Convictions and the Truths of the Word of God
How to Network
Qualities of a Godly Man
Pastoral Tips in Ministry
How to Use Limited Study Books
The Gospel and Good Deeds
Training Elders in the Church
Ministry to Orphans, Widows and the Poor
d. We try to provide and foster fellowship for pastors.
e. We also provide resources for pastors by trusting the Lord for funds to print key evangelical theology books to assist pastors, church leaders, and Bible school students in their study, teaching, and preaching of the Word of God. At each conference we provide a set of two to five books. At a recent conference in the Philippines we gave a set of three books—The Heart of the Cross by Dr. Philip G. Ryken, Wasted Faith by Jim Elliff, and Get Involved: Developing a Church Missions Program by Dr. Met Castillo. In Cuba at a conference for 250 pastors and their wives, and Bible school students, we distributed six books donated by the authors—Fast Facts on False Teachings by Ron Carlson, Coffee-cup Counseling by Dr. Harold Sala, Created For a Purpose by Darlene Sala, The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn, and More Than Love and Parenting the Coming Generation by Wil & Jacquie Chevalier.
So, dear friend, pray for ACTION’s Pastoral Leadership Development as we serve needy pastors and church leaders in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. ACTION trusts the Lord for all expenses of the conferences, because we work with the extremely poor. For the special three-day conference in Cuba, the total cost to ACTION came to only $16 per attendee—paid by God’s people through ACTION. God is good!
We value the support of God’s people in making a difference in the lives of these needy pastors and Christian workers in the churches they serve through these conferences for the glory of God.
Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 398, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043-0398
(425) 775-4800, Website: www.actionintl.org