Our world is on the move. The gospel is advancing as diaspora (people dispersed from their ancestral homeland) Christians spread and scatter God's Word wherever they go. Training Leaders International has developed Diaspora Training to strengthen the growing diaspora church in the West by collaborating with and equipping its leaders for ministry.
We work through ongoing partnerships to promote a healthy movement of diaspora pastors who are empowered to study and teach Scripture, developing the next generation of church leaders as we work together for the sake of the gospel. The four strands of our DNA are:
- Collaboration – We work together with churches and leaders from differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds for the sake of mission in their communities and around the world.
- Relationship – We gather diaspora pastors for ongoing mutual encouragement and fellowship centered on the study of God's Word.
- Empowerment – We equip diaspora pastors to empower other leaders to speak God's Word faithfully and powerfully.
- Development – We sharpen the skills of diaspora pastors to communicate God's Word clearly and relevantly from different genres of Scripture using sound hermeneutical principles.
What We Do
We partner with local churches to sponsor a collaborative and relational mentorship program with diaspora pastors focused on sharpening the skills of preaching. This program includes eight preaching workshops that span three years and is intended for a cohort of diaspora pastors (that is, from non-majority cultures) of 10–15 preachers and teachers. Interspersed with insightful equipping sessions, each workshop allows the participants to explore the text of Scripture itself while developing genre-specific skills together. The sequential workshops are modular in order to be accessible and affordable.
Accessible and Modular
Many diaspora pastors are bi-vocational and lack access or opportunities for personal growth and skill development. We provide an access point for them through the local church. Our training is conducted in two-day workshop modules spread over two to three years. This way diaspora pastors can explore texts of Scripture together and be equipped without disrupting their normal ministry rhythms and responsibilities.
Participant-Driven and Dynamic
Our preaching workshops encourage active participation and provide opportunities for dialogue. Lessons alternate between exploring the Scriptures as a cohort and equipping by a workshop facilitator. We don't aim to download information in lectures, but we seek the synergy of mutual blessing of learning from one another. Hence, each workshop is designed for a cohort of 10–15 pastors. This promotes a dynamic atmosphere in which listening, sharing, fellowship, and communal practice are essential parts of the learning process.
Biblical and Reproducible
Participants will experience how to understand and communicate select passages within each major type (genre) of writing in Scripture: narrative and law; Gospel; poetry; letters; prophecy; and apocalypse. At the end of each workshop, participants receive full access to a larger curriculum for reproducible use in their church or other mentoring contexts.
How We Do It: Partnerships
We cannot fulfill this vision without the partnerships of local churches and ministry organizations, as well as individual facilitators. We desire site partners who share our DNA and want to serve diaspora pastors, to empower them for a faithful teaching ministry through ongoing relationships for the advancement of the gospel.
Our site partners own the program's vision and responsibilities and sponsor the costs. They provide a facility, lead the workshop at the site, maintain the program's relational and educational goals, and provide the meals and travel expenses for facilitators.
Our volunteer facilitators go through certification (training and apprenticing) off-site, prepare for the training, and commit to facilitating one workshop annually.
Training Leaders International recruits facilitators and participants (with the help of site partners), provides curriculum and workshop certification, along with transcultural experience and guidance, and maintains the logistics of the program.
Why Diaspora Training?
Some estimates count over 60,000 diaspora or "ethnic" churches in the US (nearly 15% of all churches in the US). In Canada, 22% are foreign-born, with 55% self-identifying as Christian, yet only half of these seem to take it seriously by praying daily and going to weekly church services.* As churches assemble according to language and cultural customs, the Church becomes increasingly disjointed. Furthermore, the Church continues to divide along economic and ethnic lines.
Therefore, Diaspora Training exists for these reasons:
- God calls for unity in the Church (John 17:21–23; cf. 1 Cor. 1:10–13ff.);
- Churches are strengthened through the faithful preaching of God's Word (2 Tim. 3:14–4:4);
- Many pastors lack opportunities to develop themselves as preachers (see 1 Tim. 4:13–16);
- Collaboration multiplies what we learn from each other (Prov. 18:1; cf. Gal. 6:1–6).
Preaching Workshop Sequence
Introduction: The Book of Ruth in the Bible's Story
Narrative and Law: Exodus
Doing the Ministry of the Word: 2 Timothy
* SOURCES: Pew Research Center; “5 facts about religion in Canada” Michael Lipka,