The gospel’s proclamation and protection are paramount, even across cultures. This is evidenced not only in our own country, but throughout the world, where many seek to distort the gospel or declare a different gospel. This can even be seen in how the church lives out its primary responsibilities, in both the congregation and in matters of leadership. Thus, it’s crucial that we preach and teach a faithful and biblical understanding of the gospel and how the church is to display, in both the way she carries out her duties and helps promote and protect that faithful witness. It’s to that end that over the course of this week, we (the ‘Ryans’) led a pastoral training on elders, deacons, and the congregation for refugee pastors.
We were incredibly encouraged during our time. These pastors, many from Zimbabwe and the DRC, received such teaching with humility and with careful thought and response. They are clearly thinking through such matters and were challenged by the biblical truths they heard. They asked good questions as they sought ways to practically implemented the marks of healthy church leadership into their own cultures and contexts.
Many of these pastors are coming from difficult circumstances in the countries they have left, and currently facing many struggles in the flocks they lead here in Durban. These struggles range from sheep looking for a job in a new country to being separated by miles from family. The work of shepherding is a challenging and yet rewarding task, even among the sojourner and stranger in a very literal sense, as they see lived out on a daily basis. We came away with a deeper appreciation for these brothers to see the Bible be held up as the rule by which we help lay the groundwork for a faithful, corporate gospel witness. We are also better attuned to how to pray for and encourage these men, as they serve both the Word and the physical needs of the body of Christ.
Durban needs healthy churches. It is ripe with opportunity for the gospel to be made known, particularly in the hard and often-overlooked refugee community in which the Yngsdals serve. We pray that our short time with these pastors will bring about fruit not just in their own lives, but in the lives of the churches they shepherd. Pray with us that the Lord would build his church in Durban on the solid foundation of His Word, and that these churches would lead and love one another in such a way that the glory of God and the good news of Jesus Christ is clearly put on display for the whole world to see.
Ryan Martin & Troglin