Mission Matters: Training Leaders for Community Transformation
A Challenge for All Presbyterians to Accept
World Mission's International Evangelism Catalyst Haemin Lee is equipping U.S. Presbyterians to engage in international evangelism in more holistic and context-appropriate ways.
One of the most effective ways to grow the Church around the globe is to train local leaders to address the specific challenges they face in their own community, whether hunger, a natural disaster, injustice or the persecution of the Christian community,” Lee said about his role. “I’m helping Presbyterians form movements around international evangelism”
Our global partners recently challenged the Presbyterian (U.S.A.) to help equip their leaders become agents of transformation—not with imported, “cookie cutter” solutions, but with training that enables leaders to reflect theologically and to lead their community towards local solutions.
Working with our global partners, mission networks, presbyteries, congregations, individuals committed to evangelism, World Mission staff and mission personnel, this movement of “Training Leaders for Community Transformation” is focused on life-changing solutions, including:
1) Equipping pastors and church leaders with sound reformed theological education that empowers them to address pressing local needs and challenges.
2) Leader training that combines theological education with the development of practical skills such as agricultural development, literacy training, health, teaching and peace-building.
3) Leaders trained in Community Health Evangelism to address the overall health of the community—basic health, hygiene, food security and respect for human rights, all while sharing the Good News of the Gospel.
“Church leaders have an important role to play in many of the societies and cultures in which PC(USA) global partners and mission co-workers serve,” Lee said. “Equipping them with both pastoral and practical skills, therefore, has potential to generate a sustainable impact – addressing the needs of the local community both in spiritual and physical ways.”
“Our ultimate goal is to maximize the capacity of the sweet spot so that we can inspire, equip, and connect Presbyterians for God’s mission geared toward faithful, effective discipleship.”
That means inviting you and your congregation to take part or to expand the work you’re already doing. Here is a current list of 10 things you can do to get involved in this campaign.
Transformed Leaders can Transform Communities
In our interconnected, globalized world we can learn from our global partners about evangelism building a mutual, reciprocal relationship/partnership with them and better nurture their congregations.
Transforming Ministry in Taiwan:
Pastor Hsin Ren and his wife, Fong-joon, were both students at Taiwan Seminary in the capital city of Taipei, Taiwan. They had planned to work with youth in a large city-based church. Instead, they were called to a rural church in a farming community – with only 8 people attending worship, all elderly.
Rather than give up – they transformed themselves to meet the need within their community. They visited the schools, getting to know the teachers and principals. They walked the streets of their new town introducing themselves to parents and children. They opened the doors of the church after school as a place where kid could get help with their homework. They offered music classes and began a praise band. The children and youth started to come.
Now – a church that was once on life support is full of children and youth. Neighbors now see the church as vital in changing their children into good students, helpful sons and daughters, and all-around good people.
Supporting Pastors in Zambia:
The shortage of trained pastoral leaders has become one of the most critical issues for our mission partners in many non-Western countries. For example, the ratio of a pastor to congregants in the Church of Central Africa
Presbyterian (CCAP) in Malawi is about 1 to 7,000.
Lee recently visited a rural theological college called Chasefu. It was built “in the bush” with few resources. Pastors will also come out with skills that can help to support themselves in ministry. CCAP hopes to expand the theological college to offer courses in education, agriculture, and nursing – all needs within their community.
That includes helping women, like Naomi Daka, who wanted to be a church leader, even though there were no female pastors in her denomination. She ultimately registered in seminary at Chasefu Theological College, where she graduated, the only woman in her class. She is now not only leading others but in a country where 65-percent of girls are not enrolled in secondary school – she is now an example of how he church can transform lives.
Click here to go back to the main Mission Matters page. Learn more about John McCall or Rev. Kari Nicewander.