10 biblically trained leaders multiply themselves to more than 1,000

tnt-transformersIn 2001, we began a 4-year TNT (Training National Trainers) pastor training program with 10 mature, godly Christian leaders from an Asian country that is hostile to Christ and his Kingdom.

As members of a remote tribal group with few training resources available, the men were hungry to learn how to study, teach and preach God’s Word.

The 10 responded deeply to the Bible teaching, mentoring, practical experience, and accountability that we brought them. Immediately they set out to pass on the training to other church leaders in their tribe.

They graduated from the TNT program in November 2005. (We took the TNTers bowling as part of the graduation celebration. It was wild! These first-timers from the mountains didn’t believe in rolling the ball – instead they tossed them like bean bags! Those poor bowling lanes will never be the same.)

What happened next?

We re-visited the brothers 2 years later, in 2007. With a generous foundation grant, we conducted in-depth research to discover what had happened since the graduation. Did we end up launching a sustainable pastoral training movement, or did it fizzle out?

We discovered that the training actually grew and multiplied over the two years we were gone. Statistics from their reports show that these faithful 10 personally trained 354 fellow pastors and church leaders – and not just once, but multiple times.

Some of these so-called 2nd generation pastors then passed the training on to another 650 church leaders, a 3rd generation! Thus, the original 10 TNTers trained, directly and indirectly, 1,000 pastors and church leaders.

As if that wasn’t enough…

We interviewed men and women who had been trained (both 2nd and 3rd generation.) We spoke with elders who had not gone through the training themselves, but their pastors had.

The same message emerged – pulpits were newly empowered by the faithful preaching of God’s Word. Their churches were being transformed – disciples were being made, leaders were being raised up, new churches were being planted. You can imagine how thrilled we were to hear their stories.

But there was even more. Their churches had caught the vision to send missionaries to their ethnic neighbors – to one of the least-reached, spiritually-resistant peoples of the entire world – a place that has been a missionary graveyard for centuries.

No one told them they must do this – their burden came from the Bible. Here’s yet another remarkable demonstration of the transforming power of God’s Word.

TNT Transformers

Information is crucial in training, but it’s never an end in itself. The goal is transformation. Paul articulated this when he wrote about “the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness“ (Titus 1:1, ESV). We train pastors to study God’s Word so that their hearts and lives and ministries might be transformed by what they discover.

These 10 became transformers. God is using them to transform individuals, churches, and communities. Stay tuned – they may even transform a nation. To God be the glory!

From 12 to 2,000 (and Beyond): A Movement of God’s Word in Brazil

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