I just got back from the international conference on missions in Rome (IBCM6 Roma) with over 700 servants of God from over 100 countries. What a wonderful time of fellowship and connecting with some giants of the faith who serve the Lord in some of the most difficult areas of the world. One brother talked about his ministry in a former soviet country, where Christians are routinely suppressed for their faith (one of his co-workers had just a few days earlier been martyred for his faith – beheaded and had his hands cut off for handing out a bible). Despite the difficulties, the brother giving the report was rejoicing at how many are responding to the Word and becoming followers of Jesus Christ and challenged us (in broken English) to not let the comforts and safety of life hinder our bold testimony.
People came from the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe, UK, Africa, "down-under" (Australia, New Zealand), Asia, former soviet union countries, etc. All serving the Lord in their own ways. What a testimony to the unity in Christ we have, and the solidarity of serving the same Master with the same goal.
There was considerable interest in the work of Biblical Eldership Resources. Many contacts were made and plans laid for working with groups in various locations to bring BER leadership materials to many areas. One regional area is considering translating the website into their language. Another area involves over 700 churches in great need of leadership training. A West Africa nation asked for help with leadership development in their churches. Another region involving 20 churches, where there are not elders or officially recognized leaders – asking for consultation on how to transition from a sort of "congregational" government to a recognized B.E. government. One couple in a Muslim dominated country desires help in training the leaders of their two church plants. And the there are many other requests for help. Leadership is proving to be THE critical need among God’s people around the world.
BER is partnering with a number of missions agencies to send out BER Offline to missionaries where the internet is not suitable for streaming videos. A number of bible colleges have expressed interest in partnering together with us to provide bible-college level leadership training.
Meanwhile back home, we are working on improvements to the BER Website, sending out copies of BER Offline (over 50 have gone out so far) and laying plans for a one-year leader/leadership training program. We have plans for 5-10 new topics for the Effectiveness Curriculum, covering such subjects as legal implications for local churchs, safety concerns, mentoring, Love among elders, leadership/elders issues related to church planting, etc.
Many of our BER core team will be traveling over the next six months, so pray for their safety. And next year BER will be involved in a growing number of conferences internationally, where we will be able to present this ministry resource and provide elder/leadership training to more and more workers, missionaries and churches.
Access to our website has been growing as well. We are averaging over 1,000 return visitors. That’s not just single, one-time hits, but that refers to people who come back time and again to the site to use our resources!
Join with me in praising God for all He has been doing and is planning to do through this ministry. He has supplied many people who have helped make all this possible. Pray that our faithful Lord would supply all of our financial needs for this upcoming year as this ministry continues to grow. If God should lead you to partner with us financially, you can do so online at our site (click here).
There is much to be encouraged about. Our prayer is that as we are able to strengthen leadership in the local church, they in turn will shepherd well the people of God in the great commission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.