I have taught off and on at ABC since arriving in Ethiopia and I have really come to love the students there. Chris is teaching there for the first time this semester and I am teaching again. This time, instead of English, I am teaching Psychology and Christian Counseling–which is MUCH more up my alley. I LOVE it. I love my class, I love the discussion they generate and I love being with the students.
On Monday, as I sat in chapel listening to one of the 4th year students preach, I was reminded that these students are world changers. This young man is from an area in Ethiopia where it is not particularly safe for me to go. After his four years of training are complete in May, he is going back there to pastor a church. He is going to unreached people groups, people I really can’t reach. He is going to change that part of the world. A missionary’s time invested in students like this could never be considered a waste.
I know that financial support for Bible colleges has dropped off as support for other areas have increased, but after living here I can honestly say that if you want your missions $ to go far and to make a huge, lifelong impact, Bible colleges are where it’s at. Do not hesitate to send missionaries to do trainings at Bible colleges. I have seen missionaries come and provide food, but that food gets eaten and there are more hungry people in this country than any one team could feed. I have seen missionaries come and provide medical trainings but the medical needs in this country are still so great after a team leaves and even Chris has been so limited by the government here in what he can do with his medical degree that not much of an impact is really made. These needs are great and I LOVE it when teams come to meet even one person’s needs, but if we want to talk about missions dollars going far…train up a pastor. Or several dozen pastors. Train them throughout the world, equip them to preach the Gospel. They will start churches in areas foreigners can’t go. They will preach in the native tongue of people that has never been learned by any foreigner. They will become missionaries to places that would slam the door in my face. They will change the world.
Just like any other area of life, there are fads in missions. Bible colleges used to be the fad. They aren’t anymore, but they should be. If we want to reach unreached people groups, what better way than to train up one pastor from each of them and then set him loose to preach the Gospel in his native tongue? Of course, that one man or woman has to receive the Gospel first and come to salvation and that may take a missionary living among them for that to be accomplished. I would love to do just that in the future, honestly. I just don’t want to see Bible colleges fall by the wayside as other “trends” come and go in missions.
Please pray for the students at ABC, that they would answer God’s calling in their lives to go to the tough places. Please consider sending missions dollars to Bible colleges that have already been established throughout the world. Please sincerely pray before cutting financial support to any missionary because they don’t fit your “ideal” any longer. If you and/or your church want to reach unreached people groups, don’t cut support to missionaries that train up indigenous pastors. When the missionaries leave, and they almost always do, the mission only continues if someone steps into their place. That someone needs to be a local pastor who has been trained.
I love the students at ABC. They are world changers. How fortunate we have been to play a small role in their training. I cannot wait to hear reports on the work they do throughout the world. Knowing them has been one of my greatest blessings during our time in Ethiopia.