Uganda was dedicated to Christ at the turn of the Millennium. This was after decades of struggle with brutal corrupt dictators and the AIDS pandemic. Now after all the evangelism and church planting that has taken place, Ugandan pastors are in dire need of training.
Recently, a Ugandan church leader came to a small school of theology in the capital city to inquire if his pastors could be trained. When asked how many pastors needed training, the response was “30,000!” For this small seminary, this is an impossible task – they formally train about 20 students a year. This pastoral training deficit adversely affects the health of the church in Uganda, as well as the future of this small nation in Eastern Africa.
The Uganda story is not isolated however. Globally there are more than 2.2 million pastors, but less than 5% have any formal training to serve as a pastor. Over 90% of currently serving pastors are considered under-trained.
Think about the priority and necessity of training. Would you or I board an airplane with an under-trained pilot or visit a doctor who does not have basic medical training? Of course not. We trust our physical lives into the hands of well-trained men and women who are called to such critical professions.
How much more important is the spiritual health of billions of people? Often unaware and every week, many millions of Christians around the world trust their life-journeys into the hands of under-trained and isolated pastors.
Pastors who are not taught to think, live, preach and lead biblically cannot be as impactful in their calling as they should be. The challenge is not that these pastors do not want training. Most of them eagerly pursue whatever training is offered anywhere. The problem is that better training is either too expensive or inaccessible for the vast majority of pastoral leaders.
Also increasing the cause to make pastoral training a priority is the number of new believers every day. An estimate of 50,000 new believers are added to the Church daily driving the need for pastoral training exponentially, placing a greater demand on training initiatives for better training for more pastors.
How can Christian leaders begin to address this global challenge and opportunity of the 21st Century? Together. Together, we begin to think well about the priority of pastoral training and implement the systemic and collaborative delivery of pastoral training initiatives—from both formal and non-formal sectors.
According to a 2012 research project commissioned by RREACH, a Dallas based ministry focused on church health, there are presently over 7,600 pastoral training organizations with some presence on the internet. These organizations and institutions of various sizes represent both the formal (degree granting) and non-formal (skills and tools training) sectors of what can be called the pastoral training “industry.”
For the first time in Christian history, pastoral trainers are coming together for the Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers. RREACH is seeking to raise the missions profile and global platform of pastoral training. Significant advocates for the GProCongress include globally respected partners like the World Evangelical Alliance and Lausanne Movement. This event, with a four year follow-up process, aims to connect, unite and strengthen pastoral trainers to improve pastoral training especially where Christ’s Church is growing fastest - Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers is a once-in-a-generation gathering of up to 5,000 pastoral trainers being held in Bangkok, Thailand, June 15-22, 2016.
Pastoral training, as a missional priority of the 21st Century, requires recalibration around the urgent need to see pastors trained for accelerating Church health worldwide and the advance of our Lord’s Global Proclamation Commission.
To learn more and apply as a delegate please visit www.GProCongress.org.