Pastors Training Conference in Mission India Seminary, Nagpur
During the last several years of my father’s life, he set as a major goal to mentor and train younger pastors, sharing with them the wisdom that God had given him through his more than 50 years of ministerial experience. Together with my brother Steve, who assisted with logistical and technical aspects of the ministry, he put together a three-day conference for pastors in the States entitled What Every Pastor Ought to Know. They decided to call the ministry the Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute (PTI).
In the following months, God allowed them to put together several different Adrian Rogers PTI events around the country that were a real blessing to the hundreds of pastors who were able to participate. Six months before my father’s death, and one month before he was first diagnosed with cancer, Steve had the idea to professionally video-tape the entire conference. As a result, we have a high quality 10-DVD set of the entire 21 hours of teaching done before a group of about 100 pastors in Memphis, Tennessee. Steve has since edited the materials, put together a workbook, and packaged them attractively in a box, so that the What Every Pastor Ought to Know course is now available by purchase for pastors in the States (see http://www.pastortraining.com/).
Since my father’s death, several one-day, condensed version, What Every Pastor Ought to Know conferences have been organized and carried out in various places around the States, by way of DVD large-screen projection before a live audience. Thus far, the response to these events has been very positive. Upon praying and reflecting on what might be the best stewardship of these materials, though, Steve had the idea to make them available free of charge to pastors around the world, who, so many times, have very little access to training materials like these. As he began to publicize the availability of this key resource, various Christian ministries from around the world got in contact with him, inquiring about the possibility of holding Adrian Rogers PTI conferences in their countries.
Back in February of this year, the first international Adrian Rogers PTI conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya with a group of about 200 national pastors. Despite the cultural differences, and the fact that many of the attendees had never heard of my father, the overall response was extremely positive.
Among the other invitations that Steve received, two came from the country of India: one from Pastor Saji Lukos of Reaching Indians Ministries International (RIMI)/Mission India, and another from Pastor Sudhakar Rao of Newlife Ministries in the city of Hyderabad. After a lot of soul-searching, and not knowing quite what to expect, Steve began to make plans to travel to India, together with his wife Cindi, from Sept. 21 to Oct. 10. About a month before leaving, they suggested I might want to accompany them; and three weeks before leaving, I made the decision to go along as well.
I am very grateful to the Lord, Steve & Cindi, RIMI/Mission India, and Newlife Ministries, for the opportunity to participate in this tremendous venture. All told, we were able to share a condensed version of the What Every Pastor Ought to Know video-course with some 1,200 pastors and Bible Institute students in 6 different events in 4 cities in different parts of India.
The challenges were enormous, but the blessings were well worth the effort:
*We brought with us two DVD players, a projector, and a portable large screen. We used the local sound equipment. In spite of all the precautions we took, it was practically always a challenge getting everything set up and running on time. On several occasions, we had power outages. It was hard to explain to our local hosts, in way that they could understand it, exactly what we wanted to do. But, in the end, after a bit of fretting and running around, in each occasion, the “show did go on.”From a missiological point of view, one of the biggest questions is what will happen on an on-going basis, as a result of our visit, after we are gone. We are very pleased that the leadership of Mission India has taken on the vision of helping us to translate the materials into several local languages of India, beginning with Hindi and Tegulu, and continuing on with others, as the Lord provides the means. We were also able to leave the DVD players and screen with them, as well as train Mission India’s Director of Conference Ministries, Jesroon Levi Polepaka, in technical and practical aspects of the ministry. We are thrilled that Mission India has plans to take the DVDs to many places around India in the near future, and make the teaching a vital part of their on-going Bible Institute training and Conference ministry.
*Although English is widely spoken in India, we found the language barrier to be bigger than what we had expected. In each different state we visited, there is a different main local language. Although we had capable interpreters, with the teaching on DVD, it was not practical to do simultaneous interpretation. The solution we found was for someone, at the end of each 30-60 minute teaching session, to give a summary in the local language of what had just been said in English. In spite of drawing out the time quite a bit more than we had anticipated, the listeners were very patient, and did not seem to mind at all.
*Culturally, we wondered how well the concepts originally directed toward a group of American pastors would prove to be relevant in India. It is certain that a number of the jokes and anecdotes my father told in the original setting did not make much sense to the majority of the Indians. Also, the general context of the churches and ways of doing things made some of the teaching less applicable than in the States. However, if we were able to read correctly the reactions of the audience, they found the basic material to be extremely helpful. As we were presenting a condensed, one-day version of the 21-hour course, we were able to pick the sessions we felt would be most relevant and helpful for the Indians in their particular context. It was interesting to learn that many Indian believers and church leaders are exposed to a steady stream of Christian television from the West, a large part of which is comprised of “health and wealth” prosperity teaching. The teaching of my father on topics such as integrity in ministry, proper priorities, and a biblical view of spiritual authority, were very well received. The comments of the attendees were very encouraging.
Jesroon Levi Polepaka, Sudhakar Rao, Ebenezer Rao & MeOverall, despite the challenges and difficulties involved, it was incredible for me, as a veteran missionary, to see how God used this training in the lives of so many different pastors in such a strategic way. I am pleased that my father’s ministry continues to impact lives, even beyond the United States, to the far corners of the earth. I am also proud to be able to support and partner with my brother Steve, and the ministry of Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute, as he continues to work towards the global advance of this exciting and fruitful vision. Plans are already underway to take the training to pastors in places such as Russia, Nepal, South Africa, and Latin America. We would appreciate your prayers and support as God continues to open doors to use this training to bless pastors and believers among the nations of the world (for more information, see http://www.pastortraining.com/).