Pastors Dig Into the Word with Training Leaders International - Justice & Mercy International

Pastors Dig Into the Word with Training Leaders International

You can’t be involved with JMI for long without hearing about our annual Jungle Pastors Conferences. But, did you know that we have a second program in the Amazon to train pastors? Our partnership with Training Leaders International (TLI) involves a smaller group of pastors and church leaders. They commit to meeting in Tefé several times a year, for several years, for intensive learning. Our Amazon staff member, Lucas Freitas, wrote about the impact of the first year of this program below.

Our time in Tefé was a truly transformative experience and different from the other trips we take throughout the year. We didn’t have a large team; we weren’t on our boat, the Splendor, and the itinerary was not focused on serving the riverside communities that we love so much. Our focus on this trip in partnership with TLI was to train pastors and local church leaders.

We took a plane from Manaus and headed to Tefé. The first impression we had when starting the training was the confused expression on the faces of some pastors. The methodology used was different from what they were used to, and we could see that for the vast majority of the class, the experience of studying the Bible through reading and in-depth study of the Holy Scripture itself was something new.

During these three training modules, we could see an incredible transformation happen in all of them. Those confused and lost expressions soon were replaced by determined looks and quick answers. The pastors demonstrated an incredible capacity for learning and a genuine thirst for real knowledge of the Word of God. Their questions evolved from simple queries to deeply text-based questions, developing a serious commitment to understanding the Word.

At the end of the third module and after seeing this general transformation in the class, the pastors had the opportunity to talk about what they thought had changed in themselves during this first year of the course. Many spoke about the change in the way in which they prepared to preach.

Before, no matter how much they used biblical texts, the focus of preaching was not necessarily on Jesus. But this training, through the grace of God, helped them to understand that all of the Bible and all of preaching has to point to Christ, the one who washes us from all sin and connects us directly to our Creator. They grasped that we should pray for humility and discernment to understand the Word of God, that we should read the text multiple times, analyzing context, literary genre, structure, how this text connects to Christ, how it transforms us, and how we can share the transformation with others. Learning about all these points has transformed how they preach and teach in their churches, and they are looking forward to the rest of the course.

Personally speaking, one of the most striking changes we observed as a staff was the evolution in ourselves. While we translated, we also learned. The relationship with the pastors of Tefé, their life stories, their simplicity and their passion deeply inspired us. Seeing those confused faces transform into happy faces from understanding the Word, with an enormous desire to share the Gospel, is undoubtedly a great blessing.

At the end of that first year, we not only saw the transformation in the local pastors, but we also experienced a transformation in ourselves. The trip to Tefé was not only a training mission but also one of mutual learning and spiritual transformation. Our prayer is that God will continue to call us to do His work and that we will be attentive to hear His call. May the Lord bless us.

Learn more about how JMI equips and trains Jungle Pastors here.

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