While praying through Operation World, I could not help but notice a need that always seems to come up no matter the country: Leadership Training.
There is a pressing need for the development and training of leaders and when you consider the many people who may depend on ill-equipped leaders for spiritual guidance, that does not bode well for the Global Church. In Operation World’s section on “the World”, one finds this:
Leadership development is the crucial bottleneck to Church growth. There is a worldwide lack of men and women truly called of God and deeply taught in the Scriptures to lead the churches, people willing to suffer the burdens and responsibilities of leadership for the sake of the Saviour who redeemed them; in many contexts this means deprivation, scorn and even risk of death. Those who accurately and effectively expound the Scriptures are few, especially in areas where the churches are growing rapidly. New methods and
means of multiplying well-trained, godly, effective leaders must be developed; traditional methods alone will not suffice to produce the number and quality required to meet the need. Ministers who are seminary graduates are often the least likely to have a biblical worldview. Pastors, ministers and elders all need constant upholding in prayer. -Operation World, pg. 17
This may be surprising to some. After all, were not Jesus’ disciples “uneducated” and “untrained” men? (Acts 4:13) Indeed they were, but that testifies to the fact that formal training is not a prerequisite for following Jesus, not that it is not needed when following Jesus.
If anything, the disciples had each other to consult and keep accountable in their teachings. Furthermore, the book of Acts speaks of a Jerusalem Council that determined theological issues, thus providing instruction and guidance to the early Church (Acts 15).
One need only to look at today’s nation to pray for, China, to see the need for leadership training. For all the excitement about the explosive growth of the Church in China, one needs to look closer to see that cults aggressively prey on unsuspecting people who are confused about the truth because of this lack of trained leaders (Operation World, pg 222).
Our response? Target this need of leadership training when exploring any missionary endeavors. But more urgently, pray, for “pastors, ministers and elders all need constant upholding in prayer.” (Operation World, pg. 17)