“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”1 Tim. 4:16
Words cannot express how excited I am for the future work in Asia (location undisclosed due to security reasons). In September we were blessed to hold a South Asian Leadership conference. This was a unique time, and unlike other conferences. The main purpose of the conference was to bring together like-minded pastors from all over the country so that they can build friendships, network, and work for the proclamation of the Gospel. We have been praying for a conference like this for years, and in God’s good timing and providence, we were finally able to organize it. We had 72 pastors and 24 observers (men who are in training for future leadership, church planting, or other leadership positions such as deacons) in attendance. Many of these men were meeting for the first time, and together they represented 49 churches from 16 different states, and 2 different countries. All of these men are reformed, or are reforming in their understanding of the Scriptures. Even though they come from various backgrounds, language groups, and situations, each of them hold to the one true gospel of Jesus Christ.
The theme of this conference was
“Watch your Life and Doctrine.”
We were able to assemble three well-known speakers to challenge the men through the preaching of God’s Word. The men were challenged to live a holy life, to cultivate and draw near to the Lord in the secret place of prayer, to preach a clear gospel, to be a man who studies the Scriptures, and to understand the nature of the Church. There were also breakout sessions were the men were given opportunity to interact with the speakers in a smaller group about church planting, church administration, and the importance of writing and literature. Along with the general Q & A sessions, these opportunities provided a chance for the pastors to ask very practical questions. By the responses to the questions asked, it was apparent that these sessions were extremely helpful to them.
Throughout the three days, different pastors were given the opportunity to share their testimonies and the work they are involved in. This was a sweet time, as the unmerited grace of God was displayed in these men’s lives and ministries. We took time after each testimony to pray for them. In closing, one of the indigenous leaders who pulled this conference together opened his heart to the men. He gave a call for unity, for the men to come together to build friendships and partnerships for the gospel in this part of the world. All the sessions were challenging and encouraging for the participants. Many responded with comments like, “We’re humbled at our call,” “We were cut to the heart,” “I need to be more faithful,” “We need accountability,” and “I’m going home with some serious commitments.” It was obvious that the Lord is at work. It is our prayer that these men will continue to cultivate their relationships with one another, and that the impact of this conference would lay a foundation in this part of the world that would continue until Christ’s return.
Lord willing, we hope to organize a similar conference in the future. It is our desire, that in the years ahead, a conference like this would be led by and taught by the national leaders. Given the political climate, and the difficulties involved with western speakers in this area of the world, we believe that it is essential for the health and the direction of the church, to see indigenous pastors raised up by the Lord, who are equipped and called to lead. We pray that this small effort is a step in that direction.
J.S. began working for HeartCry in 2015. As coordinator for Asia, North America, and Western Europe, he currently oversees the missionaries over 10 countries. J.S. currently lives in Virginia with his wife and four children.More By J. S.