Building a strong church

means investing in its leaders

BMS World Mission is committed to empowering strong and effective indigenous leaders for God’s people around the world.

“If mission agencies do not invest heavily in leadership, it’s bad stewardship,” says Rev David McMillan, a BMS worker in the Netherlands. “It’s critical that indigenous leaders are raised up, trained, equipped, and resourced for the good of Christian witness.”

An important part of BMS’ five-year strategy is to empower strong and effective indigenous leaders. We’re doing this by equipping people with leadership skills and with biblical understanding. By 2020, we want to have developed missional thinking among 20,000 people in the UK and 10,000 people overseas. The work David and his wife Dorothy are doing at the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTSC) in Amsterdam is helping us to reach this faith-stretching goal.

If people learn to lead well, the Church and the missionary world can work much more effectively.

BMS worker Dorothy McMillan is helping to build up Christian leaders for Europe and the world through her work at the International Baptist Theological Study Centre

BMS partner IBTSC exists to provide high-level theological education to current and future Christian leaders from across the world, with a particular focus on Europe. Their former students are leading churches, seminaries and mission agencies and are serving in countries such as Czech Republic, Russia, Moldova, Lebanon and Ukraine. Amongst its graduates is the centre’s current rector, Rev Dr Stuart Blythe.

Some may argue that training well-educated leaders is not important in comparison with life-saving health work, the provision of justice, or sharing the gospel – but we believe training leaders has a vital role to play in 21st century mission. We need strong leaders in order for all the life-saving work to be supported and enabled. We need them to be influences for good and to shape the future of our churches, our communities and our world. These leaders can’t and shouldn’t all come from rich Western countries. We want to empower leaders from the World Church, called to serve in their own countries and contexts. Leaders who we can, in turn, learn from.

“If people learn to lead well and to think strategically then it’s much easier for people to follow,” says BMS worker Dorothy, “and the Church and the missionary world can work much more effectively.”

BMS worker David McMillan says that “If mission agencies do not invest heavily in leadership, it’s bad stewardship."
BMS worker David McMillan says that “If mission agencies do not invest heavily in leadership, it’s bad stewardship"

Master’s and PhD-level education through IBTSC is just one of the ways BMS is supporting future leaders. We’re proud to be training leaders from a huge range of backgrounds and experiences. In Lebanon, we partner with the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, training up leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa, who will often be returning to serve in contexts hostile to the gospel.

In Peru’s Amazon, we are enabling river pastors to access theological training for the first time in their lives. Through our training centre in Nauta, we are reaching different areas of the rainforest every year, inviting the isolated pastors we meet to come to six residential training weeks and to learn with a community of other Christians.

Laura-Lee Lovering is helping to run our training centre for river pastors in Peru's Amazon
Laura-Lee Lovering is helping to run our training centre for river pastors in Peru's Amazon
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“Training is important at all levels, so that we have strong leaders who understand the needs of their church, the needs of their mission agency,” says Dorothy. “Ultimately, what’s most important is that the gospel is more effectively communicated.”

We would love you to stand with us as we pursue the goal of equipping Godly leaders for service across the globe.

Find out more about BMS’ leadership strategy and why David thinks it’s important by watching this video.

Support our work equipping Christian leaders for Europe and the world by giving to BMS today.

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