It is wonderful to train biblical leaders and preachers in our own country, but it is also fantastic to be able to do so in other more needy parts of the world. That was my privilege this past August, as I traveled to Cali, Colombia to work with the Langham Partnership as keynote speaker for a conference on the preaching of the prophetic books of Scripture.
Langham is an organization that was begun by John Stott and funded through his book royalties. It continues today as an organization that works to develop biblical preachers in developing countries around the world. This past year they offered more than 100 such seminars and training opportunities globally.
In my case, I was able to work with about 100 pastors and preachers for several days. Their hunger to learn more about the craft of preaching and to better appreciate the interpretation and proclamation of the prophetic texts was a beautiful thing to experience. I was then given the further opportunity to travel farther inland to the city of Armenia where I engaged a large lay leader training event and preached at Shalom Church, where a couple of thousand had gathered to worship.
As a seminary president I have plenty of opportunity to travel, but not often for this kind of purpose. I remember from my earliest days hearing stories about Colombia from furloughing missionaries. For several decades, our churches in British Colombia have been sending missionaries to Colombia. These missionaries have done a tremendous job and today the El Redil network of churches is one of the most vibrant movements for the Gospel that I know.
Colombia is a great example of the kind of place a seminary like Northwest needs to be engaged. The time for the career foreign missionary is over in a place like this. The national church is strong and their witness is vibrant. Now the time is ripe for seminaries like Northwest to come alongside and work on the development of a great cadre of national pastors and leaders. As long as those opportunities exist, I will be thrilled to participate.