CFCI Brings Training and Tools
CFCI Brings Training and Tools to Pastors in Nicaragua
By Bob Thurlow, Christ For the City International Missionary in Managua, Nicaragua
Pastoring a church is a great privilege and responsibility, however many pastors in Latin America are struggling because they lack both training and resources.
As a young man, Julio Pavon Leiva served in his church while working as a gardener. After doing this for several years he became the pastor. As a new pastor with no ministerial training, he says, "I often felt like I was blind.” Recently, Julio participated in a course directed by CFCI missionary Bob Thurlow called Pastor's Toolbox. The Pastor's Toolbox project equips pastors so that they can effectively pastor their churches. "Julio is not alone, I have heard a similar story many times,” says Thurlow. “It is safe to assume that approximately 80% of the pastors in Nicaragua are just like Julio." In the course, pastors learn how to study the Bible inductively. Thurlow teaches the pastors to ask three basic questions about a Biblical passage, "What does the passage say? What does the passage mean? and "How can I apply this passage to my life?" The instruction requires patience because many of the pastors have little educational background. Although they can read, they have not been taught how to analyze what they read. Their church services focus mostly on worship and prayer, with hardly any instruction from the Bible. So we must first teach them the importance of the Word of God and then teach them how to study it. “Brother Roberto (Thurlow) challenged us to correctly handle the Word of Truth. After the first session, I asked the Lord to forgive me for my ignorance of the Word. Now I am not the same with the Word. I read the Bible completely different," said Pastor Julio. Each pastor is sponsored by churches or individuals in the United States. In 2007, 29 pastors completed the course and received their study resources. Along with the course instruction, each pastor has the opportunity to purchase a Bible concordance and a Bible dictionary for a fraction of the retail cost. Most pastors in Nicaragua do not have a single Bible reference book. Pastors like Julio would have to spend the equivalent of two weeks pay in order to purchase these resources. “The course has made a difference in my church as well", Pastor Julio said. “The brothers in my church said that they see a different pastor. I am full of joy and want to learn more!”