Celebrating the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers

IMG_6153Last week my son Jonathan was in Bangkok as one of 3,000 evangelical Christian leaders from 120 different countries attending a world congress on theological education, and I was so thrilled hearing about it that I wanted to share a little of what’s happening with you. Did you know that around the world there are about 50,000 people converting to Christianity every day? That sounds like an incredible number, until you consider that the world population is growing by 200,000 per day, and that 31.5% of the world’s population are Christian. So, despite the huge numbers, Christian growth is not keeping pace with world population growth. Nevertheless, the central issue addressed at the Global Proclamation Congress is how to care for the needs of the staggering numbers of daily converts. How can they be nurtured in their faith and receive the pastoral care they need? IMG_6105During the intensive week (Jon was gone from his hotel room 7am-10pm daily!), there were plenary sessions where keynote speakers such as Ramesh Richards (from Dallas Theological Seminary) pastored the pastors by teaching, sharing stories (many of martyrdoms occurring every day), and encouraging communication and prayer support among the attendees. There were also many round-table discussions and seminars. IMG_6058Jonathan (Dr. Armstrong) presented on “Extending the Reach of the Traditional Seminary Classroom,” a concept he’s been working on incessantly in recent years. Jon said that 19 men signed up for his seminar, but it generated so much enthusiasm that they asked for a second meeting, which Ramesh Richards spontaneously announced to the entire assembly, and for that meeting 190 seminary presidents and senior administrators gathered! Long story short, Jonathan has been supercharged to continue his efforts to make global theological education within the reach of any person who desires to grow in grace, and he’s been using the internet as a major means of making such teaching available. IMG_6160Jon said the language barrier at the congress was probably the biggest challenge. Each plenary session was immediately translated into 11 of the most major languages, but just being able to communicate effectively is a huge problem. At any rate, Jon came home very excited about how to meet the overwhelming needs of the Christian church today, but he also feels great hope, as he saw God working in many miraculous ways. (Just one example: Two imprisoned Nepalese pastors were prayed for—and liberated—during the conference and able to fly in to attend before it ended!)IMG_6041 Jon is taking up the task of writing to those 190 interested in his seminar, praying through how in the world they can stay in touch and help each other work out the problems associated with Christian growth. As he wrote in his last news letter: “The lesson in all of this for me is that prayer really does move mountains. ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26; ESV). What are the places in our lives and circles of influence where we believe God would like to see us live and serve differently? It’s time we start identifying these impossible asks and take them straight to God in prayer.”

Beyond his role teaching at Moody, Jonathan started the Aqueduct Project in 2009, where his goal is to make Christian teaching available to all. If you think you might be interested in getting involved, either in learning or in teaching, please check out his website at http://aqueductproject.org/

IMG_6129Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

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