Yesterday I taught at the Global Proclamation Academy (GPA) in Dallas, a unique training opportunity for younger leaders from emerging countries. The requirements for attending GPA state that you must be under 35, already an active Christian leader in your country, and you must be recommended to attend GPA. Only one person is chosen from a particular country and the entire costs are borne by supporters of this initiative. The GPA fulfills the vision of Dr. Ramesh Richard, a professor at Dallas Seminary, to equip the upcoming generation of Christian leaders from the emerging nations. He wanted to expose them three weeks of concentrated classroom teaching in theology, preaching and the spiritual life. During those three weeks, various “master coaches” speak to the men in areas of their own expertise. The men then go back to their homes armed with insights, encouragement and a network of new friends from around the world.
I taught the men how to preach through the Apostles’ Creed based on my book Credo. Through the kindness of my publishers, we were able to give each man copies of five of my books. I told them to go back home and use anything they liked in their own ministries.
This year there are 26 men in the GPA, from countries such as Egypt, China, Cameroon, Rwanda, Brazil, Russia, the Czech Republic, India, and the Philippines. They all have amazing stories to tell. The young man from India has started a contemporary church in New Delhi reaching young adults from an Anglican background in a Charismatic setting. And he came to Dallas Seminary to get more training. The man from Nepal reported that since 1990 the number of Christians has increased from 5000 to 1 million. I chatted with a young man from Sri Lanka who has already planted 33 house churches and plans to plant 30 more within a year. He spends all his time training leaders. The delegate from Sudan talked to me about the realities of being a Christian in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. A young man from Kazakhstan sat right in front of me and filmed every lecture using his digital camera and a big bag of batteries. Many talked openly about persecution they face in their ministry. “It’s not too bad,” one young man told me. “If you speak up for Christ, the Buddhist priests will pester you. If you keep on talking, they will bother you. If you still won’t stop, they threaten you. If you still don’t quit, they threaten to kill you.” “Have they ever threatened to kill you?” “Oh sure, but it’s no big deal.” His comment was not flippant but simply unconcerned. His life is in the Lord’s hands and he refuses to live in fear.
I count it a high honor to speak to men like that. They represent the best of the best. It’s not a burden for me to come to the GPA but rather a privilege to have a small part in equipping the next generation of leaders for Christ’s global cause.