By Lucy Begbie
‘Every church deserves a well-trained pastor,’ says Mark Armstrong who is Supporter Development Officer for Langham Partnership and running its stall at New Horizons Festival this week.
It’s one of his favourite mantras and fitting for an organisation that trains pastors, as well as equipping biblical scholars and distributing books to the local church all around the world.
“That is something we in the West, we in Northern Ireland very much take for granted. But we are very much the exception to the rule. In the majority of the world most of the churches do not have that privilege. Therefore we have that desire to get resources into pastor’s hands and see them trained so they can teach God’s word accurately and confidently,” Mark emphasises.
As former founder of Langham, John Stott, travelled the world preaching and meeting pastors he recognised the increasing trend for growth in the global church. He predicted there would be a crisis to train pastors.
Today Langham Partnership estimates that 80% of pastors around the world have little or no biblical training and with this awareness Langham Preaching was set up – one of the three prongs of the organisation.
Now, with funding, a local pastor can travel to an annual week long training seminar with other pastors and lay people. Afterwards the pastor returns to his community and sets up a Preaching Club.
Other local pastors join him to continue the training and support with the guidance of a Langham facilitator. “It says in the bible iron sharpens iron,” Mark adds with a smile, “as they (pastors) spend time together it helps to hone their preaching, teaching skills.”
‘If it is true (as Jesus said quoting from Deuteronomy) that human beings live not on bread alone but on God’s Word, it is equally true of churches. Churches live, grow and flourish by the Word of God, and they languish and die without it.’Langham founder John Stott