International (MNN) — Despite the threats of a witch
doctor, Seogo tried to plant a church in a town unreached with the Gospel. The witch doctor incited a riot, and the mob
stoned Seogo. As he lay bleeding, he
said, "If I die, my blood will only testify to you how Jesus loves you."
"Seogo did not die, he recovered, and he stayed courageously
in that village," said David Shibley, president and founder of Global
Advance. "[He] brought his family there,
and the Lord has given them a tithe of that city. Ten percent of all the people in that town
now are members of Seogo's church, and he has planted ten other churches out of
that single church."
This pastor in Burkina Faso is only one of
thousands of "hidden heroes" or "Frontline Shepherds" who receive training
from Global Advance every year. Many of
the pastors "are under suspicion by the government or by some other group,"
Shibley said. They risk their lives and
travel great distances to attend the conferences.
"It's literally not the highlight of their year but the
highlight of their life in ministry, those few days that someone comes from the
outside and says, ‘We care about you,'" Shibley said.
The pastors receive practical tools to help them in their
ministries, instruction in growing their churches spiritually and numerically,
and training in basic Scriptural doctrine.
"Only eight percent of pastors in developing nations have
any formal training for ministry," Shibley said. "And so 92 percent of them are out there just
slugging it out as best as they know how, often in a climate of very serious
hostility against them, against their families, and against the Gospel."
Many pastors employ a mix of biblical doctrine and heretical
doctrine in their work, not by choice but because they have not received any
training. They are eager to purify their
understanding of the Christian faith, Shibley said.
"We address simply the basics of the Gospel, making sure
that they are correct on the basics of how a person comes to a living faith in
Christ. When they come into contact with
the Scriptures, being taught them in a reasonable and practical way, they
immediately come to a very clear, evangelical faith."
Global Advance has already held 50 Frontline Shepherds
Conferences this year and plans to hold about 50 more. Two conferences in the next few weeks will be
held in restricted access nations.
"We need prayer that there will protection for our teams,
for the pastors whom we serve," Shibley said. "And we certainly need financial support in going
onsite to these men and telling them that they're not forgotten by the rest of
the Body of Christ and what they are doing has enormous impact for the
fulfilling the Great Commission."