Over 2,500 of the most adventurous among them, from over 101 countries, traveled in buses, on planes, and trains across time zones to a gathering with other pastoral trainers at the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers (GProCongress). Pastoral trainers are leaders who provide support and strengthening for those that brave the grueling spotlight and testing ground of the Sunday pulpit. There are growing numbers of pastors who are often ill-equipped and overwhelmed. The Congress attendees brought with them their hunger for community, connection, resources and opportunity. Ten days later, the Congress concluded and they left challenged and changed. They came to Bangkok as strangers and departed as fellow soldiers, standing shoulder to shoulder, united in the bigger mission of seeing untrained pastors strengthened, the trained pastor duplicated and church health prioritized like never before.
At the GProCongress, Dr. Ramesh Richard stressed the burden of untrained pastors worldwide as he shared these sobering statistics:
“Pastors are at the center of God’s work in the world as they teach, shepherd and equip God’s people. Yet today, with an estimated 85 percent of majority world pastors who have little or no Bible training, we have a profound pastoral training crisis. With so few pastors equipped themselves, how can they possibly equip the saints for the work of the ministry? Is there a strategic and workable solution to this crisis? By multiplying trainers of pastors worldwide. This is the very goal of the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers—to celebrate and accelerate pastoral training efforts around the globe. I, for one, am eager to join in this movement.” Craig Parro, President, Leadership Resources
We celebrate that exactly one year ago, In Bangkok, Thailand, an unprecedented gathering took place of over 2,500 people involved in pastoral training from over 101 nations. Never before had aspirants, funders, administrators, pastoral trainers and aspiring pastoral trainers gathered under one roof from all over the globe. The Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers (GProCongress) connected, united and strengthened pastoral trainers in order to better deliver training to the world’s two million-plus under-trained pastors. The GProCongress, convened by RREACH, was for anyone involved in formal and non-formal pastoral training of any kind, anywhere. Pastoral trainers working in over 101 countries, including individuals, churches, organizations and institutions attended. This specialized gathering fulfilled its purposes by providing opportunities to Build Community, Explore Opportunity, Discover Resources and Exchange Encouragement. To carry momentum created by the GProCongress into the future, attendees committed to training, on average, 25 pastors a year until 2020.
Why: Pastoral health is systemically enhanced by better delivery of more pastoral training with coordinated follow-up. Healthy pastors lead healthier churches, and healthier churches are more able to reach their communities for Christ.
The Future Anticipated Outcome: The measurable outcome is 100,000 connected, united, strengthened pastors and 20,000 more pastoral trainers ministering in 200 countries by 2020.
RREACH‘s efforts to connect, unite and strengthen pastoral leaders dates back to 1997, when RREACH convened a meeting of leaders of 99 Western entities dedicated to non-formal pastoral training. Co-organized by the Billy Graham Institute of Evangelization, this meeting brought together convinced participants of the “sinfulness of doing the thing alone” in light of the fact that much more could and should be accomplished through an organized and cooperative effort. It was from this meeting that TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition) ) was born and exists today as an umbrella entity for hundreds of non-formal training entities.
In 2010, the effort to “link, unite, and strengthen” pastoral leaders to better provide training to the world’s unprepared pastors focused attention on reducing the disparity between formal and non-formal training. At the historic Lausanne 2010 meeting in Cape Town, pastoral trainers from both sectors came together to prepare the Pastoral Formation Statement, stating that “together we declare that we will strive to build trust, engage with one another, and build on the strengths of every sector in order to prepare pastors in the process of maturing, to proclaim the Word of God and to build up the Church of Christ in all the nations of the world. “
Now, as part of this 10-year mega project called the Global Proclamation Commission, RREACH convened the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers to bring together current pastoral trainers, the human core of pastoral effectiveness, as the means by which the health of the local church can best fulfill the Great Commission of God.
“When it comes to raising up a global network of servant leaders who are at the same time life-long learners, few things are dearer to my heart than cooperation between centers of formal learning and networks of grassroots pastor training. True discipleship involves assuming the posture of a life-long learner, and strategic pastor training means marshaling the full range of the Church’s resources to encourage, uplift, and shape the lives of the Lord’s shepherds. Overseas Council we support the ever-deepening integration of all modes of pastor training. Therefore, we support the efforts of RREACH and the Global Proclamation Congress to accelerate Church Health Worldwide.”
Dr. David Baer, President and CEO, Overseas Council http://overseas.org/
“I heartily encourage all our national alliances, global partners, church networks and denominations and associates to extend their voice and support in mobilizing pastoral trainers from both formal institutions and non-formal training initiatives to participate in this historic event and its follow-up until 2020. The GProCongress will meet a great and urgent need, and also will foster the expression of the unity of the Body of Christ among evangelical leaders worldwide.”
Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Former Secretary General and CEO, World Evangelical Alliance http://www.worldea.org/
“By some estimates, 85 percent of the 2.2 million evangelical churches worldwide is led by pastors with little or no training. These are deeply committed persons who love the Lord Jesus Christ and are serving their people, the best they can—often with little or no financial support. For most, a Bible college or seminary training is inaccessible or too expensive. Imagine the challenges they face—trying to nourish their own people while starving for spiritual food themselves. However, they will make huge sacrifices to gain a solid foundation in the Bible. Part of the answer is to multiply pastoral training ministries, especially where the church is growing. This Congress is a bold and critically important step in an effort to connect, unite and strengthen pastoral trainers around the world. I heartily endorse the vision and purpose of the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers.” Rev. J. Paul Landrey, Founding Director, TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition) http://topic.us/
“One of the most important leadership lessons from the Bible affirms that God mediates His blessings to followers through leaders. Leaders are to followers what a valve is to a pipe. They can enhance or restrict the blessings God has for a group of followers. Local church pastors are some of the most important spiritual valves in God’s pipeline of spiritual blessing for the church. The 2016 GProCongress will play a critical role in helping pastoral trainers and pastors around the world work together with God to release His blessing to their followers.” Steve Moore, President, Missio Nexus http://missionexus.org
“The Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers is an outgrowth of the Global Proclamation Academy that Dallas Theological Seminary has been pleased to host each summer and with which we have been a partner since its inception. I am pleased to announce my prayers and personal support for the 2016 GProCongress—that God will assemble a globally represented team of pastoral trainers for this unusual opportunity of training and encouragement.”
Dr. Mark Bailey, President, Dallas Theological Seminary http://www.dts.edu
“Moody Bible Institute has been preparing students for ministry since 1886, with a combination of biblical knowledge and practical training. Moody seeks to create partnerships that expand the impact of our ministries around the world through the equipping of students for global effectiveness and the establishing of global partners that assist national believers in their ministries. It is for that reason, Moody is pleased to affirm and enthusiastically partner with the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers, toward the mission of better trained pastoral leaders globally.” J. Paul Nyquist, Ph.D. President – Moody Global http://www.moody.edu
“WEA’s purpose is to strengthen local churches around the world to advance the good news of the Lord Jesus and to seek holiness, justice, and renewal at every level of society. The Global Proclamation Congress is a concrete way of fulfilling such purpose, for the strengthened Pastors will strengthen the churches.”
Bishop Efraim M. Tendero, D.D Secretary General – World Evangelical Alliance http://www.worldea.org/