Our training in Chandigarh was the shortest of the three trainings, clocking in at two instead of three days. The training was arranged by a close friend of JC, a pastor with significant influence in northern India. Because of his leadership, his ability to network, and the relationships he has built over time, he was able to gather together over thirty pastors and ministry leaders from seven different Indian states (Kashmir, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, and Haryana). Many of them had no idea what type of training they were coming to, but had shown up out of respect for this man.
Our desire in those two days was two-fold. First, it was to cast for them the vision of LRI: transformation, multiplication, and movement. To see their hearts, homes, and churches transformed by the Word of God. To see them multiply or pass on the training they have received to other pastors and church leaders. And, by God’s grace, to see a movement of faithful, expository preaching spread across northern India. Second, it was to give them a taste of expository reading, studying, and teaching through the book of Ruth.
We had quite a unique mix of leaders present with us. Not only were these men from different states with fairly different cultures, but we had a huge range in terms of age. Some of the men were seasoned pastors, men with decades of pastoral ministry under their belt. Other men looked fairly young, even younger than me! And initially, there was a sense of hesitation. These men were not sure who we were or what to expect from us. They weren’t sure what type of training we would be giving or if it would be particularly useful. But as we worked through our first three sessions, introducing them to LRI, introducing them to the “transformation, multiplication, and movement” model of ministry, and introducing them to the concept of the expository reading, studying, and teaching of Scripture, we began to see barriers come down. Eyes began to light up. Heads began to nod in affirmation. And, by the end of the first day, everyone seemed to be excited, encouraged, and on board with what we were doing.
This was affirmed at the end of the second day when we spent some time receiving feedback from the participants. Several of them said, “When I first arrived, I had no idea what to expect. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited about the training. I thought I was going to be bored. But the tools you have given us in our short time together are tools I want to begin to use everytime I preach God’s Word!” The men seem particularly moved by dad’s final “demonstration” sermon in which he not only talked about Ruth 4:13-22, but also tied that passage into both the larger context of the book of Ruth as well as the entire storyline of Scripture. As the men watched dad weave together all of the threads we had been giving them over those two days, many of them were given a vision of what Christ-centered, expository preaching is all about.
Our prayer is that of these 32 pastors and church leaders, God would set apart around 20 of them who would commit to the four year, eight session training. And, that by the end of those four years, each and everyone of them would likewise be able to stand before their congregations and preach expository, Christ-centered sermons to the glory of God and for the spread of His Gospel!