USA (MNN) — International Steward has brought ministry leaders from around the developing world to the United States for training, but not the obvious kind. International Steward trains Christian leaders in the Biblical principles and skills related to the ministry of stewardship. The goal is to equip ministry leaders around the world to begin stimulating individuals within their local communities to grow in what they call 'grace giving.'
Doctor Charles Roost, founder of International Steward, says a symposium is currently underway in West Michigan unlike anything they've ever done before. "The symposium is the first time we have pulled together ministry leaders from the developing world. These are all people who have exhibited leadership in their own culture for the growing interest in stewardship and the grace of giving for their own cultures."
Leaders from 13 nations are participating in the symposium. Roost outlines one of the biggest problems facing ministries in the developing world. "Economic dependence that the developing church has on North America in many ways strangles their potential for outreach."
The goal of International Steward is to help developing world ministries to become more self-sufficient. Roost says this symposium is the first phase of their goal to "have 18 centers around the world where Africans are leading Africans and Indians are leading Indians, where the growth of stewardship and the grace of giving in the culture is lead by people in that culture."
This dependence upon the west has been, in part, created by the west, says Roost. "One of the unintended by-products of the generosity of the west has been this economic dependence that strangles them at this point."
Each participant will be presenting a report on how grace giving will impact their work in each of their countries. Roost says, "Our goal is that the energies and the activities will multiply as the result of the symposium," allowing evangelism, discipleship and church planting to flourish in each nation represented.
Pray that these leaders will devise ways that allow local Christians to support their work economically and spiritually.