Venezuela (MNN) ― There's a saying that goes: 'Make hay while the sun shines." It means: take advantage of a circumstance while you can.
That's been true for Global Advance. Venezuela has been growing increasingly isolated, and there have been scattered reports of harassment of Christians. Before the opportunity was lost completely, the team helped sponsor a Frontline Shepherd's Conference in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
David Shibley with Global Advance says, "Over 580 senior pastors and about 1700 other pastoral leaders and church leaders came together for the first-ever conference. They came from 12 states. It was our very first Frontline Shepherd's Conference, and the response was overwhelming."
Church leaders are overworked and under-resourced. Many were discouraged at the outset of the seminars. They came asking: "How do I continue?" and Global Advance answered. By the end of the training, "Over 1000 leaders committed to go into cross-cultural missions. 600 of those who attended committed to plant a new church within the next 12 months." Hundreds of young women leaders also committed to missions.
Given the tools and training, these leaders have exponential capacity to reach the world. Shibley explains, "I think we saw the desire for that in these 1000 Venezuelan church leaders who said, 'We want to go cross-culturally.' So we need to be praying that the resources and the necessary political developments will occur that would make it possible for them to access other parts of the world."
The potential for fulfilling the Great Commission is mind-boggling. "Even if a quarter of them were to do that, that's going to be a major advance for the cause of Christ over the next year."
There was healing of division between churches as well as the promise of discipleship. Shibley notes, "We were able to hand out 1500 copies of a Bible-school curriculum that is church-based (Joshua Nations two-year discipleship curriculum). All of these leaders together said that there would be approximately 10,000 students within the very first year of these Bible schools being handed out."
The president of the Pastoral Alliance
in Zulia State said,
"Never before have we had a conference like this in our city or in our country where our pastors and leaders were so open to receive the Word! We believe that this conference and the visitation from God in our hearts will help us to change and accomplish what God called us to do. Our lives were changed, and we will be different!"
Aside from going, Shibley encourages you to pray for these rejuvenated leaders. There is a sense of urgency that comes from shifting political winds. "Pray that they will remain hopeful, encouraged, that they will have the resources they need in a very devastated economy, and that they'll be courageous, loving, and exude the spirit of Christ."
Global Advance has one more tool in the tool belt. Generous friends of the ministry have come together to offer a $200,000 matching grant challenge. From now until the end of the year, a gift to Global Advance will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $200,000. This is a great opportunity to have a double impact! Click here if you can help.