One of the people I admire is Dr. David Sills, professor of missions at Southern Seminary and President of Reaching and Teaching International Ministries. He works tirelessly at training pastors, mentoring missionaries, and challenging the church to finish the task of global evangelization.
The other day he was tweeting a lot about training pastors and the work he has been doing in Latin America.
Here are some of the things he was tweeting:
- SIM tested Bible knowledge in a Bolivian church w/Bible & their own pastor for 10 yrs. “Who was Adam's wife?” They responded, “Who is Adam?”
- In a pastor training event in Peru one thought you could not go to heaven if you are illiterate, saying they'd always been taught that.
- We asked a shaman pastor in a “reached” Ecuadorian tribe which they'd choose if forced, “Jesus or traditional spirits.” He chose paganism.
- Church leaders argued that witchcraft in shamanism is ok if meant for good, and only wrong if hurtful to another. #pastorswithouttraining
- Pastors w/o Bible in South American jungles reported that they preach on Sunday what they dream the night before. #pastorswithouttraining
- A 7-yr pastor in Africa asked a similar ministry, “If I eat the flesh of another man will I get his sins too?” #pastorswithouttraining
- A pastor (w/glasses & a Bible) was so excited upon hearing the Exodus story. He said he'd never heard that before. #pastorswithouttraining
- Where we taught Old Testament to leaders of 4 tribes in Peru, 2 of the 4 did not even have the OT in their language. #spongesfortruth
- Why is it wrong to live with my fiancé? A pastor told us it's the best way to assure compatibility? #questionsfrompastorswhocomefortraining
- What was that woman's name who saved and baptized Jesus? #questionsfrompastorswhocomefortraining
- When was Jesus born again? Before or after the resurrection? #questionsfrompastorswhocomefortraining
After reading his thoughts, I asked myself, “If senior pastors without training are saying these things, what are those who are in positions of youth leadership saying, since there is even less training for them?”
My desire is to help youth leaders get the training they need in order to know God's Word and be able to communicate it to young people in their churches and communities.
The majority of the time, the senior pastor of the church is the one who will be able to receive some training. Dr. Sills has quoted many of those who have been privileged enough to go to one of his training sand have those issues addressed.
However, there are many others who have no training. We need to be training both pastors and youth workers. That' why Reaching and Teaching exists, and that's why Youth Ministry International exists.