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Missions 101

Reformation Without Borders

Sep. 4, 2012By: Michael Littell

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” – Paul, Romans 10:14-15

The logic of missions

Here Paul argues from the natural mechanics of life that in order for a person to call on Jesus Christ for salvation, the following things must happen:

  1. Someone must be sent
  2. That someone must preach
  3. Another person must hear
  4. That person must call upon the Lord

A flaw in Paul’s logic?

Someone will no doubt call attention to the fact that successful missions take more than just four simple steps. This is not Paul’s problem, though. In a way his point is better felt than dissected. He says, “This is not complicated: If you want to spread the hope of Jesus Christ, you send someone.” Questions about who to send, how to do it, and what to do afterward are not considered here.

A time to sow, and a time to nurture

The early church was a lot like the church is today: growing at breakneck speed, yet falling into corruption and heresy almost as fast as you could open up a new church. The flock was just too big for the number of good shepherds available. So there were two options:

  1. The first was to stop spreading the gospel, and try to make sure there were enough pastors to lead people who were already Christians.
  2. The second was to foster the spread of the church, and at the same time train new pastors on the field. Paul chose option two, as is evident from Acts and the Pastoral Epistles.

The growth option

  • 85% of the world’s pastors have had no formal training.
  • Most trained pastors live in America and Europe.
  • 80% of foreign pastors who come to America for training stay here.
  • Yet every day new churches open their doors around the world.
  • To build the worldwide church, we must go to the worldwide church.

Training Leaders International (TLI)

TLI is designed to fight the worldwide theological famine. We partner with missionaries and send teams of teachers to the pastors who need it the most. We return to each of our locations three times per year for three years. Every course we teach is deliberately concrete, so that pastors can take what they learn directly into the pulpit.


Meet a pastor

Meet René Mpabonyimana. René pastors a church of 100 in Burundi, and has never been trained before. Through TLI, he is feasting on biblical Reformed training from our well-trained teachers without having to leave his church, family, or other work.

Sponsor a pastor

Now you can change the lives of a pastor and his church, and help strengthen the roots of the worldwide church. Our Pastor’s Sponsorship Program is designed to help fund the education of René and others like him. Find out more here


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