Have you ever been encouraged and discouraged at the same time? Several weeks ago I was invited to present a Quichua pastors' conference in Guayaquil. All pastors and church leaders from the AIEBUME church association were invited. This week I spent three days there challenging and encouraging pastors from God's Word.
The most discouraging part of the week was the small number of pastors who showed up. The numbers gradually increased until I had 15 by the end. For the size of the city and the number of pastors who were invited, the group was very small. At least the group increased over time instead of decreasing! And it was very encouraging to see the deep appreciation expressed by those who did come. In the face of discouragement the biggest encouragement was the rock-solid commitment of the men with whom I shared fellowship this week.
We talked about the characteristics of a good pastor—his love for the written Word, his love for the Word incarnate, and his love for God's people. I encouraged them to increase their passion for delivering the Word to their flock. In several ways I challenged them to continue their education by taking opportunities to study the Bible. I took a few discounted books that are key resources for their ministry and sold five. We also discussed some specific doctrinal errors that are showing up in their churches and how to address them.
Pray that these pastors will be able to avoid discouragement from the lack of interest in their peers. Pray that God will move in this association of churches producing a greater hunger for truth.
|A planning meeting in Babahoyo for restructuring the seminary program.|