When we first got to the mission field, immediately we had a desire to start ministry-training schools in Nigeria for the training of men to go out and start churches, but always an ultimate goal for a missionary is to have ministries that will run on their own, whether the missionary is there or not, whether the missionary is involved firsthand, whether he’s taken off the field, or whether he retires. The missionary wants to know that what he started is going to continue in the hands of the people that he trains.
Such is the case with our church-planting ministry. We train men for the ministry; we train them for church planting. We have had a specific goal of training them not just to start churches but also to start institutes of their own so that they can have graduates, so that they don’t feel obligated to send men directly back to the missionary. They can be equipped to train their own people, and that’s what’s happened here. We have just celebrated the development of our men just recently, as church plants that we had a hand in starting now have been starting their own churches.
To see graduates that you’ve trained, that you’ve sent out, that you’ve equipped, to see them have the same burden that a missionary has, to see them have the same burden that you want everybody to have when they’re carrying the Gospel to their areas. Then to have them call back and say, “Brother we have these families and they are ready to start another church,” or “There’s a village nearby, and they asking for a church.” It makes you celebrate that your vision is being fulfilled. It also makes you a bit nervous because you know you’re like a father who’s sending your children to be responsible on their own, and you wonder if you’ve trained them completely right. But it is such a joy to see not only second-generation churches from our church and Bible institute and college but now third-generation churches.
That’s the kind of growth that’s going to sustain itself whether I as the missionary am there in Nigeria or not, and we look forward to seeing what God will do in the years to come.