A Pastor's Greatest NeedRich Stigall
Orphan care is complex. Without a firm foundation, it can be easy to get discouraged and forget the biblical mandate to care for the fatherless, found in verses such as:
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” – Psalm 82:3-4
This is especially true in places like Haiti, where pastors are seen as, “rainmakers.” In addition to serving as spiritual shepherds, pastors are also expected to provide their congregations with jobs, educational opportunities, and access to healthcare. In remote, rural communities, Biblical resources and pastoral friendships can be hard to find. With mounting pressure from the community and seemingly insurmountable challenges, even the strongest leader can lose heart.
At GO Project we recognize that if the pastor isn’t doing well, it won’t be long before the children aren’t doing well. A few years ago we set out to actively support them by asking, “What are your greatest needs as a pastor?” The overwhelming response was, “More theological training.”
After spending a few days praying over this need, I received an email from a local Kansas City church leader, asking if someone at GO Project would be interested in meeting John Gillespie. John, a 25+ year pastor, volunteers his time working for Global Training Network. John flies around the world teaching Systematic Theology to dozens of pastors in developing nations. I met John for coffee in Kansas City, and two months later, we met for the second time in Haiti in order to launch the first session of a 30-hour Systematic Theology training course for GO Haiti pastor partners.
After the first session, John remarked at the lack of resources available to the Pastors of Haiti and brought this problem before his church. John’s church, Westbrooke Church, responded with tremendous generosity by committing to purchase 25 copies of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology in French. Unfortunately, the French version is not widely available. After weeks of searching, Westbrooke contacted the Zondervan Publishing affiliate in France and express shipped 25 hardcopies to their church office in Kansas City. Thanks to the unrelenting folks at Westbrooke Church, each member of the course received their own copy of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology in French.
Over the next 18 months, John traveled to Haiti four times, delivering 30, individual, training sessions on Systematic Theology. The 18-month course culminated last week, in a humble graduation ceremony held at the Jumecourt Inn.
Bound by their common burden to care for the orphan and their love for Jesus, 25 pastors/church leaders met to discern the word of God, pray, and share their struggles. The Holy Spirit was present as they delved into the Word together, with a hunger and thirst for more of Jesus in their lives and ministry. What a victory for the Kingdom and for the 975 children God has placed in their care!
We are thankful to Pastor John Gillespie and Westbrooke Church for their humble-hearted service to the pastors of Haiti. We are thankful for our pastor partners in Haiti and around the world who continue to serve the orphaned and abandoned children in their communities. Most of all we are thankful to the Lord that He lets us play a small role in His redemptive plan for His people.
If you would like to help fund ongoing pastor trainings, please click HERE. Under the “Fund” drop down, please choose “Other,” and then type “Pastor Conference” in the description.