2022 Spring Leadership Seminars
Before March 2020 most people had never heard of Zoom. It didn’t take long before this became one of the most common words used around the world for communication. Zoom has been a useful tool for our ministry to maintain connection.
Like so many churches and missions, Engage Today has sought to use the technology available to us to continue in the ministry God has called us to. Leadership Seminars have been a big part of our work over the years and we have tried to conduct a number of these conferences during this season when we have not been able to travel.
Earlier this spring we conducted several conferences via Zoom for pastors, missionaries and students in various places in India. There were some late night, middle of the night, and all-night sessions. Leaders were able to gather together in person to take in the meeting in person while the teaching was virtually broadcast in.
Even though circumstances were less than ideal, some pastors took great pains to attend the meetings. One pastor travelled over 500 km to attend the conference held in eastern India in March.
One delegate in gratefully shared a testimony of God’s work in his heart through the Seminar. He shared,
I was so blessed these three days through the seminar. Teaching from the book of Philemon changed my heart. I came to this seminar full of anger with my sister’s family. … God’s word touched my heart and I confessed to the Lord and said “Lord forgive me”. And by the end of the session, I called my sister and asked for her forgiveness. I had a lot of joy in my heart. Thank God for having this seminar and for the team from Canada.
Pastor Pran, one of our partners, emphasized that the seminar was a great blessing for all of them because is was the first time they were able to gather for a meeting like this in over 2 years. Full notes were taken from the speakers and translated into the local language for distribution among other pastors labouring across the state. This gives us a little glimpse into the need and hunger for teaching from the Word of God.
One comment, which affirms our passion to travel to be in person with our partners, made by Pastor Pran. He said, “there is no substitute for meeting and speaking in person to the gathering.” We all have missed the face-to-face fellowship over these last couple of years.
First Leadership Seminar in Person in 2 years
I had the joy of travelling to Bangladesh in late April to meet with our partners there. Although it was the middle of the hot season (highs were 38 to 40 degrees each day), the pastors were so happy to have travelled to meet with me in the southwestern part of the country for a conference. It wasn’t an ideal time (because of the heart and because it was the middle of Ramadan), but they were eager to be together with me.
Over three full days we walked through the book of 1 Peter together. Louis, our partner there, commented that it was particularly fitting for their current situation. Persecution is on the rise, which is one of the most significant themes of 1 Peter. It was such a privilege to preach as they took in with joy every word over the very long three days together.
During one meal shortly after the conference had begun, Louis had a special message he really wanted me to hear. He abruptly changed the subject of our conversation and started with a more serious tone, he said, “you know, sometimes we really feel very empty, but when you come we get recharged.” There is something about in-person fellowship and ministry that is irreplaceable. I am so grateful the Lord opened the door for me to travel and visit our brothers and sisters at this time.