Check out this post from Josh Montague, who is a friend of RVC and will be visiting with us in a couple of weeks:
Shortly before his ascension to the right hand of God the Father, Jesus gave this commission to his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19 ESV).
Jesus’ words here are regularly put forward as the church thinks about its mission of taking the good news of salvation in Christ to the world. Jesus commands his followers to make and baptize new disciples. But there’s another verse right after this, which includes “…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” On top of the evangelistic work, followers of Jesus are called to teach new disciples. Simply put, our missional engagement with the nations must include evangelism, church planting, and education.
If we see new disciples being made, but don’t follow up with good biblical education and training, the tendency of the church will not be toward biblical fidelity and gospel centrality.Worldwide, the church is embracing heresies like the prosperity gospel and syncretism. Many churches and church leaders around the globe don’t have access to solid theological education.The majority of theological education is not available in the areas of the world where the church is growing the fastest (Africa, East Asia, and South America).
David Sills, a professor of global missions at Southern Seminary, estimates in his book Reaching and Teaching that 10,000 house Chinese churches a year are lost to cults because there is no theological training for the church leaders.
So what is the church to do? Jesus gives us an answer:“Go…and teach.” In January of 2014 I went to Athens and taught 30 Iranian church leaders how to interpret and preach the Gospel of Mark. In October I’ll be in Togo,West Africa teaching New Testament Exegesis to west African church leaders.The organization I’ll be working with,Training Leaders International, was birthed out of a desire to fulfill this last part of Jesus’ Great Commission.
In the west, church leaders have tremendous access to theological education.Whether online or down the street, seminaries and bible schools offer great training opportunities for church members.Within churches, classes and discipleship courses offer members biblical and leadership training. But the church worldwide does not have access to this training so organizations like TLI are bringing the teachers to where they’re most needed.Teams of pastors, professors, and graduate students are sent to areas of the globe where solid theological education is needed most.
!What can you do? Go as a teacher perhaps. If able, support a team or teacher financially. But certainly be praying for the health of the global church and the advance of Christ’s kingdom.
I’ll be at Red Village Church on September 14th to share more about what TLI is doing in this crucial ministry in global missions.
Josh Montague is an International Trainer with Training Leaders International and a pastor at Damascus Road Church in Madison. He’s been married to Mary Ann for 17 years and has four children.