Uganda (MNN) — It’s no secret that national workers are the hands and feet of AMG International wherever they have partnerships.
AMG President and CEO Tasos Ioannidis explains, “National pastors are extremely effective in reaching their people. They know the country, they know the language, and they know the culture. It’s very easy for them to be used to spread the Gospel among their own people.”
However, in developing nations, this poses a unique challenge. “What happens a lot of times is: they don’t have even basic training. Their education level may be very low, they may have had no formal training whatsoever. They may completely lack resources.”
Problem number one: “When you look at the pastors in Uganda, 50% of them have only basic education. 38% have no training whatsoever. 50% lack even basic knowledge of the Bible.” This is especially true in Uganda, Ioannidis says.
Problem number two: another issue they face is very similar to one facing the Chinese Church. “You have a country where there is a lot of hunger for the Gospel, where people are very open to the Gospel, so the Gospel has been spreading very quickly.”
By some estimates, 85% of churches in the world are led by individuals who have no formal training in ministry (David Livermore, Serving with Eyes Wide Open). To leave new believers without the tools to study God’s Word and grow in maturity is to leave the work of mission half-done. Many nationals only have access to a portion of God’s Word, not an entire Bible. They have never seen a concordance or Bible dictionary and have no idea how these resources could help them.
Because national workers are especially crucial to their projects, AMG decided to come alongside the pastors to help equip them to be more effective. Ioannidis says, “We teach them the methods of how to study the Bible. We give them some resources on how to study the Bible. In turn, those people are going to train other pastors in their area; it’s a knowledge that keeps being passed on to help equip more and more people.”
Over the year AMG has been training in Uganda, over 200 pastors benefited. Another training session in Uganda is slated for next month. The impact can be far reaching, too. “We just concluded some training in Uganda. We’ve trained more than 200 national pastors over the past year in Uganda.”
Ioannidis says what it boils down to is pastors mentoring pastors. “We are partnering with pastors and other Christian leaders in the United States. They travel abroad basically, on a short-term mission trip. They go and train the trainers.”
Ioannidis goes on to explain that “the training takes place usually over a week period. Pastors will come from a variety of places, from hundreds of miles away, even. In the latest training we had in Uganda, we had people come from as far away as Rwanda and Burundi.”
Many of AMG’s nationals are directly involved in equipping pastors for ministry. And for those who are ready for higher education, AMG has a formal seminary in Indonesia.
Will you pray for volunteers to go with AMG to train pastors and for local pastors in other countries to be receptive to that training? These partnerships help breathe new life into churches around the world, sharpening and strengthening the witness of the Gospel in cultures very much in need of transformation.