Foretastes of the new heaven and the new earth come in many ways. For me, one came in October this year, as I listened to Conrad’s deep African rumble beside Patrick’s precise Asian accent, Rosalie’s musical Brazilian voice mingling with varied voices from the Middle East, the US and UK and elsewhere as together we prayed the Lord’s prayer, each in our own tongue.
This opportunity came at the annual Langham Partnership International Council meeting (LPIC). Globally, Langham Partnership is governed by an international council which meets once a year with representatives of National Boards, supported by the Program Directors and some key staff, with the Executive Directors of six member countries invited to participate. Six delegates from the Majority World provide insight and perspective from their regions, which this year some were able to do via Skype technology. So we also heard the deeply thoughtful, valuable contributions of Milton from Columbia and Corneliu from Romania.
The concept of “double listening” is a legacy from our founder, John Stott, and is fundamental to the way in which Langham seeks to serve the Majority World – listening to the Word and to the world so that the support and resources we offer are both deeply grounded in Scripture and relevant to the expressed needs and priorities of those grappling with the challenges of their own context.
The particular issues we heard from around the world included the challenges posed by the influence of the prosperity gospel and liberal teaching, of churches losing the joy and commitment of their first love, and of renewed pressure and persecution in regions that have recently been more accepting. At the same time, we heard of opportunities for increased impact on society and government in some places, an openness to studying and learning from the Bible even in secular institutions and a deep hunger for more knowledge, understanding and teaching of the Word. We also heard gratitude expressed from every corner of the world, for the support and assistance of Langham Partnership. While the name “Langham” is not well known in Australia, it is widely respected, appreciated and able to open doors throughout the Majority World.
In our last eNews for 2017, I want to share some of the work completed in the 2017 Financial Year thanks to the generosity of faithful supporters and donors:
Langham Preaching delivered 284 pastor training seminars in 63 preaching movements in countries in need of solid biblical preaching, with more than 9,900 pastors and lay leaders being equipped to teach God’s Word. More than 630 preaching groups of 7-10 pastors and leaders continued to meet regularly for ongoing training and mentoring.
Langham Literature supplied 20,808 Bible-centred books to 679 Majority World colleges across 78 countries to help students grow and mature in Christ. 19,568 Bible-centred books were distributed to Majority World pastors, students and ministry partners in need of study materials. 17 indigenous publishers were supported in the production of 35 local language titles and 12 local writers in 11 countries were supported through Writer Grants.
Langham Scholars supported 68 students from 36 countries in theological doctoral programs, and celebrated the graduation of 9 scholars – leaders who will go on to shape their nations with a biblical worldview as they teach in seminaries, start salt and light ministries, and serve at the highest levels in government. In addition, to support the ongoing development and contribution of graduated Scholars, we funded 10 Majority World postdoctoral scholars in an International Research and Training seminar research residency to assist them to produce papers, research articles and academic monographs.
The administration of Langham costs money too, and one of the challenges we face internationally is the willingness of people to give to specific programs (for which we give thanks to God!), leaving few funds available for necessary “overheads”, such as paying rent on office accommodation, or purchasing the new photocopier we desperately needed. This concern was highlighted at the November Australian Committee meeting, with a request to pray for unrestricted donations to increase, to cover such costs. In His grace and generosity, God moved immediately, and a major gift was received before the end of November “for use where most needed”.
So we finish 2017 in a spirit of deep gratitude for the provision of God, through His people, and thankfulness that the work accomplished this year will be able to grow and flourish in 2018.
We are so grateful that as a result of your generosity, we are able to fund new work from out of Australia including:
- Two new Scholars (one from Egypt, one from South Africa)
- The new Regional Coordinator for Preaching working in the Big Country in Asia
- Training for writers and editors to produce new indigenous literature
- Training in Fiji – for the first time
- Major support for our brothers and sisters in Indonesia
- Providing a basic resource pack for all indigenous coordinators of national Preaching movements.
And we are already enjoying the benefits of that new photocopier!
The LPIC Meeting concluded with a time of worship and thanksgiving, led by our own Australian delegate, Jill McGilvray. In addition to praying each in our own language, we were invited to share photos close to each of our hearts and contexts, which led us to be grateful to God. As we marvelled at the glories and wonders of creation, and rejoiced in the blessings of loved ones through these photos, we recommitted to the work that our Lord has given to our hands. May He continue to bless this work, and you, in 2018.
Best wishes to you as you celebrate our Lord’s coming to earth as Immanuel—God with us