A famine is spreading across the globe and if it remains unchecked, the consequences will be devastating. In fact, the repercussions are already being felt. The famine I am referring to is not likely what you are thinking of. While half of the world lives in poverty (living on less than $2 per day) and one billion in extreme poverty (living on less $1 per day), I am not speaking about a famine of finances or food (though this is true). I am concerned about the theological famine that is spreading across the globe.
It is believed that 75% of all Christians live outside of the US in the “majority world” (Latin American, Africa, Middle East, and Asia) (Weymann Lee, Training Leaders International). By God’s grace, the gospel is flourishing in these parts of the world. Yet, it is estimated that there are 5 million pastors outside the US, and an overwhelming majority of them (85%) have little to no theological training or even access to it (Lee).
To understand the theological famine in the “majority world,” let these ratios sink in:
The ratio of theologically trained pastors to people in the US is 1:230
The ratio of theologically trained pastors to people outside of the US is 1:450,000 (Lee)
For this reason, we are making an intentional effort to mobilize pastors and church leaders across the Kentucky Baptist Convention for the purpose of equipping pastors in the “majority world” for great gospel impact. Recently, we led a team of five to Africa to train pastors and church leaders throughout the country of Zimbabwe. In partnership with the Moore family from Kentucky, our team was able to assist in training around 100 church leaders in three different topics: doctrine of salvation, biblical interpretation, and expository preaching.
Kentucky Baptist church leaders can truly make a difference by investing in “majority world” church leaders what was invested in them through their theological education here in the US. The need for theological training outside the US is real and Kentucky Baptists have a genuine opportunity to partner in this great endeavor.
As one Zimbabwe pastor said to me, “What you are teaching us is needed for all of our pastors. When will you be back?” The solution to the theological famine across the globe is simple yet complex. It is simple in that the tide will turn as church leaders are trained to “rightly handle the word of truth.” However, it is complex in the sense that we need more co-laborers who will take Paul’s words to Timothy seriously: “The things which you heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). So, let’s push back the famine.