In Australia, we often take it for granted that our pastors and ministry workers are well-trained in theology and ministry. Throughout Australia, there are countless institutions you can study at to become well-equipped to work in ministry. This is not the case in many countries around the world.
For the Majority World, it is common for pastors of local churches to have limited training or none at all. It is estimated that this is the case for over 80% of pastors. This is over 2 million ministry workers who are not equipped to help believers in their churches understand and apply God’s Word.
For the sake of current and future generations of Christians, church leaders need training, and this is what Langham Preaching does around the world.
Langham’s Approach to Equipping Future Leaders
Enabling scholars and training preachers create a multiplication effect throughout the Majority World. Scholar Antonio Carlos Barro founded South American Theological Seminary in 1994. Since the college was founded, it has served over 5,000 students in Brazil, growing new Christian leaders and churches as a result.
One local pastor in Kenya who has been trained by Langham has since had many young people join the church in response to the biblical preaching and training there. A youth church member shares, “Young people have started coming to church. People listen to the messages and they are magnetic.”
In Latin America, new generations of leaders are very purposefully involved, equipped and empowered. In the spaces of the escuelitas (“little schools”, sometimes called ‘preaching clubs’), there are young people coordinating, being part of the national teams and facilitating. People under 35 years of age are intentionally invited to the schools.
Langham Scholar and member of the Latin America Preaching Team, Jocabed Solano, shares, “Some people like me started [being involved] very young when we were in our twenties and in college. This has helped us and [we] continue to be part of Langham.”
The reality of young people today is very different to many experiences of other church and ministry leaders. With changing technology like artificial intelligence, social media, video and more, communication and teaching are changing. Where some have only ever read and spoken to learn and communicate, new generations are bringing different experiences and methods.
Jocabed says, “There is an emerging generation that is very sensitive to all audiovisual media and technology. I think it is a beautiful challenge to continue communicating intergenerationally, without losing the strength of youth and the wisdom of old age. The church is so diverse throughout the world, with many cultures, languages, ways of being, learning and living. It is important to continue enabling emerging generations to read their contexts and realities, and to continue teaching us to be relevant for today.”
In Latin America, Langham has contributed a lot across the generations in the student movements, as well as within the community and church. Jocabed herself has been working with younger generations to create engaging ways to teach the bible to and through young people.
She shares, “I have been working as part of the emerging generation with other generations younger than me in the guna (indigenous) community, from videos, poetry, orality, visual arts and dramas that recreate the other ways of preaching. That has been energizing because many young people want to continue studying the Bible in context and they preach in their churches.”
This approach to engage new generations where they are at, and use their ideas and skills to preach and study the Bible faithfully, is an exciting model for Langham everywhere. Over time, more workshops and training for emerging leaders will become important, so that many regions can have more young people training to minister in their context – both geographically and generationally.
Pray for young and emerging leaders
Pray that God would continue preparing the emerging generations to be light in the areas where they live and beyond. May they be on fire to ignite with the presence of the Spirit the places and forms of preaching.
Pray that they love and live the gospel through their deep study of the Scriptures so that they can share the good news. That they proclaim justice and that their feet and hands walk with the most vulnerable in society. That they look with discernment at today’s reality and can communicate the gospel in a pertinent way with current languages.
Pray that like Psalm 1, they may be trees that bear fruit and are fed by streams of water. That they know how to dialogue with acceptance and humility with others different from them. That in their testimony Jesus can be seen working in them and that they remain faithful to the gospel.
Pray that they may be faithful witnesses of the Word of God, loving others and living as those who recognise the multiplicity of God’s grace in the world.