John Ewart on God’s Servants in Zambia

I have the privilege of writing this just before Christmas from the campus of the Baptist Theological Seminary of Zambia in Lusaka. I am here teaching courses to a cohort of leaders from around their convention and churches. These men are pastor/teachers who seek to develop other leaders as well. They are a sharp and godly group! They humble me.

No matter where I go and how often I have the opportunity to be a part of the incredible team at Southeastern that helps train leaders in the international church just like these men, I am always struck by how universal and cross cultural the needs of discipleship and leadership development truly are. God has created His church and maintained ownership of it from the beginning. We, as mere stewards and servants, are asked to help guide and lead His people under His command. The task is great but the resources He provides are even greater. They are supra-cultural. They transcend culture.

I recognize and am teaching this week about the reality of contextualization and its great importance. I understand and will expound upon the fact that our specific methods and approaches to church life, missions and discipleship are greatly affected and often specifically defined by context and culture. First Corinthians 9:19-23 shows we must be willing to adapt and be sensitive. But underneath that willingness lays a firm foundation we must always acknowledge that is never changing and wholly dependent upon God.

I have been learning from my students here once again about the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer. I am being schooled on what concepts like total dependency upon God and amazing faith in the Word look like in real world practice. I am being blessed by testimonies of victory and triumph over darkness. It is good as the teacher to also be the student. I appreciate the early Christmas present I am receiving by being here.

As we seek to train trainers in our local churches, our schools and for the nations, I pray we will study well the lessons learned from others. It is good to learn from those who went before us and succeeded at impacting others. The principles we can find in books and conferences or even a blog like this are often valuable, challenging and encouraging. They also give us something to footnote!

Ultimately, however, may we never forget the primacy of Scripture and the Holy Spirit in the fulfillment of the Great Commission to make disciples and leaders. To remember that our relationship with others must be squarely based upon our relationship with our Father as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 22:34-40. To never forget that no matter what role we play in the process, God, in the end, is the One who causes the growth to occur as Paul writes in I Corinthians 3:5-7.

I have already finished teaching these leaders in a course on evangelism. Now I must expand the discussion to missions. I pray I can teach them well; teach them something of value. But if I were to be honest, selfishly, I am really praying they will teach me more as well over the next few days. Good leaders must never stop being good learners. I will be looking for that next early Christmas present as I meet with these dear brothers!

The CGCS on Planting Churches to Fight Ebola

Every Wednesday we highlight the work of Southeastern’s Center for Great Commission Studies. Recently, Keelan Cook wrote about the efforts of a TN church to fight Ebola through church planting. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Several years ago, First Baptist Church in Humbolt, TN adopted the Susu people group in West Africa. The Susu are an unreached people group and staunchly Muslim. The spiritual soil is hard indeed. However, through obedience to the Great Commission, God has used this church to do miracles in West Africa.

 

The following update briefly discusses their missions strategy and its effectiveness. In addition, the villages where they worked to plant church are the same villages reeling with Ebola. Yet, God is working miracles in his church in this area. Read and see what it looks like for a church to roll up their sleeves and get involved in a specific area.

 

Read the full post here.

The Spurgeon Center Authenticity Series

Each semester the Spurgeon Center hosts several events in the Authenticity Series: An Honest Look into the Life of a Pastor. These conversations look into various issues often arising in the life of the pastor and those in ministry. The first installment of this series covered questions related to expository preaching. This video includes Drs. Danny Akin, Alfonza Fullwood, and John Ewart as they discuss the first set of questions related to this important topic.

Watch the video here.

 

Be sure to check the Spurgeon Center’s website for more recommended resources & videos like this one.