Last month Philemon Yong and I went to Brazil to open, in partnership with a church in Brazil, our first formal school for pastors. It was one of the greatest blessings of my life.
The Sunday morning service began with 25 baptisms, including many couples. Some husbands baptized their wives together with the pastor. A former member of a cartel was baptized with his wife. A young child with a clear testimony of Christ's saving power was baptized. It was all in Portuguese, but we could see and understand what was happening. After that there was a reconciliation, where a woman who had walked away from the church and had been put under church discipline for 10 years had now returned. Her now 20 year old son never stopped coming and prayed for her often as she fell away. She had come to the church and was asking for forgiveness. The pastor embraced her and then during a time of singing over 500 people came to the front to embrace and welcome her back. If that was not enough, the church then welcomed about 25 members.
At night I preached after they dedicated the opening of the school. There are 12 students in the initial class. They all kneeled in front of the whole church and we laid hands on them. I preached on the importance of capable leaders to protect the church from false teaching. To close the service the church commissioned a team to go to Cuba.
The idea for the school happened two years when a leader of the church asked me if I knew an organization that was involved in starting schools to train Christian leaders. I told them we were. A few weeks later Philemon was hired. He would be the one to outline the curriculum and structure of the school. The rest is history. We are happy to partner with friends in Brazil. May the men we train be able to carefully handle the Word of Truth and shepherd the people under their care.
Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International. As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.