While news outlets continue to tell us the world’s troubles, some of what I see the Lord doing around the world reminds me of Colossians 4:3—and it’s encouraging.
In that passage, Paul invites believers to pray that God would open new “doors” for His word to reach new places. In the last few years—amidst the pandemic and other complications—men from our Training Centers all over the world have echoed Paul’s request, and you’ve graciously joined us in prayer. Today, I’m glad to tell you that God has indeed answered our prayers and opened new doors for His word to reach dozens of countries that desperately need it.
In the past year alone, God has opened doors geographically. He has opened doors relationally. And most importantly, He has opened doors spiritually—creating a hunger for the word in people’s hearts around the world. Here are just a few examples: In the past year alone, God has opened doors geographically. He has opened doors relationally. And most importantly, He has opened doors spiritually…
- First, thanks to a ministry contact in the Philippines, our Training Center there has been able to reach and remotely train pastors living deep within a restricted-access country. These pastors have already expressed their immense gratitude for this instruction, and recently, we were blessed to send one of our faculty members into the region to train these men in person.
- Second, in God’s providence, the president of a large seminary network in a predominately Muslim country has invited us to help train his pastoral students in the preaching of the word.
- Third, beyond that, we’re watching the next generation of our own graduates carry the word into regions that weren’t previously on our radar. Some of these countries rank high in Christian persecution, but through these men God is paving new ways for the word to reach them.
All told, we’ve been contacted by faithful men from 55 countries asking us to establish formal Training Centers in those regions. This is a historic opportunity, and we’re glad to say that we didn’t come up with the strategies to reach these countries. It has always and only ever been God who has sovereignly opened doors.
Now that so many doors are opening up, we need to continue trusting God to provide the men who will walk through them.
The greatest need in our ministry is faithful men of God. There are many ministries that benefit millions of people by creating sound content from the web, for which we are all grateful. But our philosophy is different. Our mission is to train approved pastor-teachers, and to do that we need to engage with men on the ground—in their villages and around their dinner tables. We desire to come alongside them and follow the Apostle Paul’s example by imparting “not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives” (1 Thess 2:8). This life-on-life discipleship is crucial in the Great Commission. Now that so many doors are opening up, we need to continue trusting God to provide the men who will walk through them.
To illustrate this, I recently heard from our school in Croatia that some of our students there had expressed the sad reality that they didn’t know how to be godly dads. To put things in perspective, some of these students are basically the only Christians living in their region, and they’ve simply never seen godly parenting modeled for them. That’s why personal presence will always be an essential element of our ministry. With so much opportunity on the horizon, we need God to give us men who not only know the truth, but who live the truth as well. No matter where God takes us, a transformed life will always be critical to the witness of the gospel—as Paul goes on to say in Colossians 4:5: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”
As we face the threat of political volatility and continued restrictions in the next year, please pray that God would send faithful men through each one of the open doors—men who will bring the good news to our troubled world.
Until they all hear,
Mark Tatlock, President