For years we asked the question, “What will happen to our work in a given country if we are not allowed to travel back in?” We were thinking of local unrest or a repressive government. Never did we imagine a pandemic would affect the work throughout the world.
But the question itself significantly shaped the way we have thought about our work for years, leading us to a strategy of empowering and entrusting local pastors to own the vision and do the work.
COVID came not only as a test for our strategy but also as a gift from the Lord. How?
FIRST, IT’S PROVED THAT THE MODEL OF MINISTRY WORKS. Since March of 2020, training has continued to take place all over the world. For a time, our staff was greatly limited in travel, but we continued to meet with many in-country leaders online, and they carried on the work of training with others in their part of the world. We are grateful to the Lord and are reminded of Paul’s words, that “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12, ESV), and that “the word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:9, ESV).
A workshop led by training partners in Central Asia, October 2021
SECOND, IT’S BEEN A TIME FOR IMPROVING THE MODEL. We have spent a lot of time thinking, praying, and refining. We have clarified our strategy, revised our Dig & Discover Principles for studying and proclaiming the Word, and rewritten curriculum that helps pastors prepare for workshops. We have also met with our field team to equip them for the days ahead. They, in turn, are meeting with their teams around the world.
THIRD, IT’S BEEN A TIME FOR RESOURCING THE MODEL. Communication, technology, staff, and partner relations are all necessary for the work God has given us to do. We are learning where we need to grow as an organization for the overall vision to succeed, and by God’s grace we are taking steps in the right direction.
COVID, a gift from God? It may sound strange, but when I step back and look at the big picture, that is what I see. God is in control. He has given us this time to grow and refine the work. He wastes nothing and is using even the days of COVID to cause His work to flourish around the world.
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