by Dr. Ramesh Richard
Editor’s Note: For your reference, Dr. Richard’s article appeared originally on the Lausanne Movement website and was featured previously on Christianity Today. Since the original article appeared on the Lausanne website in September 2015, many developments have taken place. Below is an update since its first publishing. We invite you to check back via the GProCommission site for future updates.
The Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers, held June 15 – 22, 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand, was a major step for better pastoral training of more pastoral leaders. Since trainers of pastors significantly influence the health of pastoral leaders who in turn affect the health of their congregations, our stated desire was to bring together up to 5,000 trainersof pastors reaching into 200 countries. RREACH, the convening organization, and many likeminded organizations sought to bring the right number and kinds of trainers of pastors (i.e., 500 good ones would be better than a bad 5,000) already engaged in pastoral training. This niche, specific, historic and task-focused platform witnessed 2,573 trainers of pastors from both the formal and non-formal pastoral training sectors representing 101 countries (with likely influence in all countries of the world). Together, they committed to aid in the GProCongress goal of seeing 100,000 better trained pastors and 20,000 pastoral trainers by the year 2020.
The GProCommission follow-up team seeks to capture in statistical form the number of pastors being trained by various initiatives until 2020 and for strategic purposes: to shed light on and provide more wisdom for future training efforts individually or institutionally, personally or organizationally.
The objectives of the GProCongress were to: build community, explore opportunity, discover resources, and exchange encouragement. A four-year follow-up plan implemented after the eight-day event (in addition to a four-year build up) is creating a global pipeline for pastoral training that is sustainable, measurable and even renewable for local church leadership anywhere.
Since the GProCongress in mid-2016, training reports as of this update: February 2018, indicate that 55,800 pastors have been better trained by pastoral training initiatives around the world. This number applies an 80 percent attrition rate to what has actually been reported by individuals and organizations, to account for oversights, errors or duplicate reporting. As of February 2018, commitments were made to train an additional 22,000.
Two additional, exciting developments have transpired, also helping achieve the objectives of the GProCongress to explore opportunity and discover resources.
We rejoice that ongoing encouragement and the building of community is being achieved through our GProCentral team, GProCommission newsletter, GProCommission website and GProConneXt community. Here are some updates as of February 2018:
We rejoice that the Lord continues to work through each pastoral trainer and pastoral leader for the strengthening of His bride worldwide. We are humbled at how much He has accomplished in a short time and how much more needs to be done, and grateful for our small but strategic part in it. To access any of the above-mentioned sites, click on the corresponding links. If you serve as a pastoral trainer, are a pastoral leader interested in training pastors, or have other questions, please feel free to reach out to our team at connect@GProCommission.org to learn how you can pray and work in this vision of connecting, uniting and strengthening large numbers of pastoral trainers. It will help enhance pastoral health, improve church health, and accelerate the delivery of spiritual health worldwide.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Ramesh Richard serves as the founder and president of RREACH; general convener of the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers 2016; professor of Global Theological Engagement and Pastoral Ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary; and founder and chairman of Trainers of Pastors International Coalition. He holds a ThD in Systematic Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Delhi.