Nathan Sawyer, an elder at Grace Church Memphis, reports on his trip to Nepal to teach HeartCry missionaries and pastors.
Church Polity was the assigned theme for the Feb. 2016 Pastor’s Conference. There were a total of 20 sessions over the course of 18 recordings. The first half of our time together was given to understanding the biblical foundation of the church. We spent 2 sessions overviewing God’s desire for Christ to receive glory in, from, through, & to the church in Ephesians. Following this were 3 sessions from John 10 where we looked at Christ & ways He loves & gave His life for the church. We then concluded our foundational time with 4 sessions from Rev. 1-3 on what Christ says to His church (more important than what we have to say as pastors is what Christ says to His people).
The later part of our time together was highly practical, while referencing the earlier foundational teaching. It was fruitful in every sense. We got as practical as discussing 8 questions you would ask a person who is wanting to join your church. We discussed doctrinal statements of faith; church covenants; the biblical precedent & practice of plurality in every NT church; the qualifications for church leaders; identifying, examining, appointing, & accountability of elders.
Interaction with Pastors
Interaction with the pastors wasn’t as much as I would have hoped with language barrier as the culprit. In between sessions I would sit with the men, listen to them, & we would try to piece together some conversation. The brethren were very hospitable, very welcoming, very gracious. It seems every country out does us in hospitality. They were a delight, joyful, & enjoyed one another’s company.
Health of the church in Nepal
If I understood them correctly, Christianity is only about 70yrs old in Nepal. Very soon after the gospel arrived, poor unbiblical methods lead to the rise & practice of the prosperity gospel which has sunk it’s poisonous teeth in the country. By the Lord’s grace, Bro. Paul Washer & Matt Glass came 7-8yrs ago & the teaching had a profound impact on several of the men. Since then, they have been moving more toward biblical health.
The most “stirred up” the group got was following the talk on biblical understanding of the gospel & biblical understanding of evangelism. They love hearing the gospel & were more visibly engaged with teaching on the gospel than anything else
Future work with the church in Nepal
Obviously I have no say so in what HeartCry does in Nepal. So, I have this in view with any of the following suggestions. I do believe that God has lead HeartCry to a faithful group of men desiring for biblical health in the church. There have been occasions in my experience with pastors & churches internationally that I leave hopeful they will implement biblical teaching. These brothers, as best as I can discern in one short trip, are striving for biblical health in the church.
I personally thank HeartCry again for allowing me the joy & privilege of going to Nepal for teaching & fellowship with some faithful brothers & sisters.