If we reshape the ministry and restructure leadership training along biblical lines in the Third World, I believe that we will see the release of a spiritual dynamic in the churches that could produce a great awakening for world evangelism.
A busy pastor’s life doesn’t allow much time, if any, to improve his pastoral skills, increase his knowledge, or sharpen his “iron” against the “iron” of other spiritual leaders. While a pastor should never become indispensable, his prolonged absence from his church for training can result in hardship for the congregation. Few pastors in developing countries can afford to pay for theological training even if the opportunity presents itself.
Such was the case in Honduras. Through an incredible series of providential circumstances, the congregation of Huron Park Baptist Church in Woodstock, ON was asked to oversee the pastoral training of the Honduran Baptist Convention, an association of 350 members. After a year of meetings, a strategy was developed to reinvent the way the convention trained its pastors. The “new” church-based model was actually the old one used by Christ and the Apostles. Huron Park’s congregation accepted the challenge, and formed a team, accountable directly to the church board, to lead the new ministry. Initially called LeadersFor Latin America, it was envisioned that this initiative would spill over into other Latin American countries. As the team grasped the magnitude of such a ministry, they realized the wisdom of looking for other resources to help them with their mission. That brought them to Fellowship International.
After attending one of the training sessions in Honduras, Fellowship International’s Associate Director, Norman Nielsen, enthusiastically recommended to the mission’s then Director, Richard Flemming, that a partnership be formed to build on Huron Park’s initiative. The partnership brought together the expertise and networking ability of mission, with the passion and vision of the congregation. As global opportunities have emerged, the name of the ministry has changed from Leaders For Latin America, to LeadersFor.
LeadersFor connects Canadian pastors with their international counterparts for the purposes of leadership development. It uses the international church-based curriculum produced by BILD, The Biblical Institute of Leadership Development. Currently, there are two Certificate levels being offered, consisting of five courses in each level. Ministry, personal enrichment, character, academic and first principles are themes throughout the program. Throughout 2010 and into 2011 courses have been, and will be, offered in El Salvador (July and November 2010), Guatemala (August and September 2010), Honduras (November 2010), India October 2010 as well as October and January 2011), Uganda (January 2010) and Kenya (May 2011).