"How then can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?" (Rom. 10:14-15).
This passage sounds the call to go to the lost and give them the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Notice that Paul calls for a "preacher"-someone who will boldly proclaim the Gospel and lead his hearers to "call on the name of the Lord." The Gospel is not a concept that comes naturally to people. It must be preached in order to be understood.
After the message takes root, though, it is critical for new believers to be taught. The deeper they grow in the faith, the more they need to see God's truth lived out and taught by their own people in their own tongue. Missionaries must always seek to give the tools to teach and preach to local pastors who can impact a community long after they are gone. To this end, with the help of faithful partners just like you, AMG ministers through national workers whenever possible and strives to equip established local pastors for their work in God's Word and among His people.
One country in which AMG has invested heavily in building up local pastors is Uganda, where national director Reuben Musiime and AMG board member Jim Everett (and his wife Drew) have led the charge to bring solid Gospel training to these men who want to be faithful to the Lord in their teaching.
I personally had the privilege to visit Uganda earlier this year and participate in our AMG annual training conference for pastors. Despite their lack of resources, these men are being used in amazing ways to spread the Gospel. Dozens of churches have been planted and thousands of new believers have come to know Christ as Savior as a result of the ministry of these pastors. One who came to know Jesus as Savior in a bar has founded more than ten churches since then. Where the bar was, there is a 500 member church and the former bar owner is the senior pastor.
But the pastors for all these new churches desperately need training and resources. Many rural pastors were called into ministry simply because they possessed a copy (or even just portions) of Scripture. Few of them have ever had any formal education in the Word. They labor in faithfulness, but need the skill to interpret the Bible faithfully and the discernment to reject false teachings.
Jim and Drew Everett spend several months each year living in Uganda directly working with small groups of pastors. Jim writes of his last trip: "I am so very excited about the training, and I pray that the effort may increase so that many more pastors will be able to receive this. The curriculum has been developed over several years to specifically meet the needs of the more rural pastors in Uganda. The training uses less lecture, and much more student demonstration and practical participation. This method is mainly centered on students demonstrating the actual level of their understanding of the presented material."
The lessons for these rural pastors include four essential segments: systematic Bible study, basic Bible doctrines, Bible truth presentation (basic homiletics/teaching), and training multiplication (enabling these pastors to train other pastors and the leaders in the churches). Additionally, at the annual AMG Uganda pastors conference that I mentioned above, up to 150 pastors (who have already completed more basic education) come from across Uganda and several neighboring countries for four days of intense training. From this, Reuben is developing a training manual that can be translated into various tribal languages for pastors who only speak their native tongue and lack the ability to travel to the conference.
These critical efforts are far less costly than sending these pastors through college and seminary, but significant funding is required to provide books and teaching tools, as well as food and lodging for the pastors during the training times. The annual conference costs approximately $110 per pastor to attend. The estimated cost of writing and publishing the training manual is $3,400. Of course, there are also ongoing needs for sponsors to support the work of Reuben and AMG's other national workers, many of whom are themselves pastors.
Everything we do in ministry is only by God's grace and is all supported by the faithful generosity of ministry partners like you. Your gifts make the work of pastor training possible, not just in Uganda, but in Mexico, Indonesia, India, and many other countries where AMG is involved in this work. Thank you!
Anastasios "Tasos" Ioannidis became president and CEO of AMG International in 2013. He has served since 1989 in many different roles with the organization.
To learn more about AMG's pastor training ministries in Uganda and around the world and how you can partner with us, please visit www.amginternational.org or call 1-800-251-7206.
Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel (AMG) International is a non-denominational, international missions agency based in Chattanooga, Tenn. AMG's distinctive has always been its reliance on national workers to carry the Gospel in their own cultures. Today, they operate ministries in over 40 countries around the world through partnership with national believers.
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