The Luxury of Example
Less than 30 years ago in the country of Mongolia, Christianity was basically nonexistent. Russian Communism had eliminated nearly all religious worship nationwide, including traditional Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism. However, with the eventual collapse of the USSR the door to the gospel opened wide. In subsequent years, missionaries poured into the country and many Mongolian citizens welcomed the message of Christ. Today, nearly two percent of the population identifies as evangelical Christian.
But with this rapid and exciting gospel expansion come many challenges. As one local pastor shared, the Mongolian church lacks experience and maturity. Speaking to a seasoned TLI teacher he said, "Your children are so fortunate to have a father and grandfather who are Christians and godly examples." He then continued, "Mongolian believers don't have such a luxury."
At TLI's inaugural training in Ulaanbaatar this year we had the privilege of teaching nearly 40 pastors and church leaders, virtually all of them first-generation believers. They didn't grow up in homes with Christian parents. In many cases they're still the only believers in their families. So for them, serving in the church is like trying to ride a bike for the first time. These brothers and sisters are still learning the basics themselves while at the same time doing their best to lead young congregations.
This is what makes the opportunity to train these developing leaders so strategic for TLI, as we have a hand in the ground-floor growth of the Mongolian church. By bringing our training to them, we are helping them as they build on the sure foundation of God's word. But when we go we're doing more than simply provide theological education. We're also bringing pastors from the U.S. who can mentor them along the way, those who can answer ministry questions from personal experience as well as provide an invaluable example.