International (MNN) — For most Christians, Christmas festivities will include a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church service. Likely, the story of the Christ being born into the world will be told by a pastor who is knowledgeable and trustworthy.
But what if your pastor didn't know anything more than you? What if he didn't have the training or resources to preach anything beyond what he could glean from the text?
"Praise God we've sent the Bibles; we've sent teaching tools. But [pastors] sometimes need a better understanding of what they're reading so they can eloquently explain that to the members in their church," explains Jason Woolford, executive director of Christian Resources International.
CRI is dedicated to sending Bibles, book,s and training tools to believers in need across the globe. One of their most important ministries is delivering Pastor's Libraries.
"The Pastor's Library is basically comprised of a study Bible, New and Old Testament surveys, in addition to a [book of] Bible doctrinal issues," says Woolford. The tools in each library would usually cost about $250 to $400, an outrageous amount for many poor pastors who often can't afford a Bible, let alone these teaching tools.
The consequences of going without the tools can be devastating. Just as early Christians fell prey to false teachings in the absence of Scripture, believers around the world without proper resources can resort to unbiblical teachings.
Especially in Africa, Woolford says, CRI has seen confused pastors reverting back to old ways when they don't know an answer to something. "Some of these pastors…have been going back into some of their old religions or to tribal leaders asking them–who are not believers–to pray for church growth and financial growth and all of those things."
This sort of behavior can lead an entire church astray. On the other hand, a pastor teaching the Truth can lead a whole church in godly living and strong evangelism. Thousands of lives could change–for better or for worse–based on one pastor's teachings.
CRI sends Pastor's Libraries to make sure doctrinally-sound followers of Jesus Christ are being born around the globe.
The challenges to this work are significant. Pastors from all nations–including Burma, Ghana, the Philippines, India, and many more–request Pastor's Libraries on a daily basis. One pastor recently wrote a letter to CRI in such haste that he forgot to address it. (Miraculously, the letter still got to CRI. Read more about that story here.)
There are many requests, but few Libraries and funds are available to grant these requests. Due to deals with publishers, CRI is able to send a full Pastor's Library for just $150, but they need help to do it.
"People can go onto our Web site and donate $150; that will ensure that this Pastor's Library will be sent to a pastor around the world," says Woolford.
As you think about the integrity and knowledge your pastor has this Christmas, consider providing the tools another pastor needs around the world to gain those skills. To give to this important Gospel work, visit cribooks.org.