Sitting in my living room, surrounded by several theology books and with many others on my laptop, God planted the seeds of a vision that would become Books for Pastors. While preparing for a Honduras pastors’ conference, I learned that the average worker there barely made enough money to care for his family, and probably never made it to high school. Many other Majority World pastors are no different.
From this vision, God led me on His mission to equip pastors with high quality training and resources that they could never afford themselves. When churches and individuals give to provide books and training in the pastors’ heart language, we all work together in fulfilling the Great Commission call to make disciples—from our hearts to their hands!
This simple drawing describes the basis for our ministry:
Through good books and training, pastors can bring accurate Biblical teaching to their churches and more effectively reach their communities for Christ. Our goal at Books for Pastors is not only to give these pastors “good food to eat,” but to teach them how to “grow their own food” so they can feed each other.
I hope to be able to help people understand that living our lives involves a lot of moral and ethical decisions, and that the only way to know how to respond and relate to the society around us is to know what we believe about God. Once we know what we believe about God, we can answer the questions that come at us from all sides about our society and culture, and most importantly, we can answer the questions that come from an unbelieving and unchurched world about the hope that we have.
First is the realization that the need is incredibly great, and that as time passes, it gets even greater. As more and more people are being saved, they need to gather together, and as more groups gather, they need more leaders - leaders who may not be much further along on their spiritual journey then they themselves are. In addition, these leaders may not have the opportunity to get specialized Bible training like we have here in the US.
I think the second point for me is seeing the human side of the ministry. It would be easy to see the conferences we hold as just an event - some place where we show up, teach for a couple days, leave some books for them, and then go back home until the next time. But when you see a pastor hug one of the books, or kiss the book and offer it in praise to heaven, and then you see others thanking you with tears in their eyes, they you realize how special it truly is and how much a simple gift like a book means to these pastors.
The third point is closely related to the second point. At the conferences, we ask everyone to fill out a small slip of paper that asks them if the conference is worthwhile and why the books are important or special for them. Reading through comments like "thank you for this great book. I could never afford to get this" or "I have always wanted to know more about the Bible, but don't have money to go to school" demonstrated to me and all those around who heard the stories that God is doing a great work in these pastors!
I can still see that moment clearly in my mind. I was developing my notes for a pastors' conference in Honduras, and when I started to research the people of Honduras to better adapt my teaching to them, I ran across some statistics that said the typical Honduran did not go to school past middle school, and most did not graduate high school. Another statistic showed that the average income was less than $5000 US a year. There really would be no choice for these pastors between buying a book or going to training and feeding their family. Then, as I was working on my notes, I realized that I was sitting in my comfortable living room, with 3 or 4 different reference books in my lap, and many more on my computer. That's when the light went on for me and I knew that I had to find a way to provide something that would last beyond the few days of our conference, and God led me to the idea of getting the Theology reference books - in Spanish - for these pastors.