Scott and Andrea Sward | Serving in Cambodia
The Lausanne Movement was founded by Billy Graham in the 1970s and is a collaborative effort of evangelical Christians worldwide. As a movement, they have a fourfold vision: 1) the gospel for every person, 2) disciple-making churches for every people, 3) Christ-like leaders for every church, and 4) kingdom-impact for every sphere of society.
With this third goal in mind (“Christ-like leaders for every church”), ten Cambodian and foreign Christian leaders met last year to discuss how we could work together to form and equip Christ-like leaders in the province of Stung Treng. The result of this meeting was what we’ve begun referring to as Monthly Bible School (MBS).
Like the rest of Cambodia, most people in our province live in rural areas. The majority are poor farmers. And while most church leaders do their very best to serve their flock and fulfill their calling, many have had little education and/or almost no pastoral training.
When we launched MBS in January, our hopes were modest. Given the time and money required for most church leaders to travel to the provincial capital, we knew it wouldn’t be easy for them to attend. Maybe we’ll get 15 people, we thought. Instead, we got 50. Since then, the number has only increased. We closed enrollment in March with 62 students.
Students come from churches of various denominations, spread all over our province. They meet for one full day every month. Classes are taught by Cambodian leaders and foreign missionaries. There’s a Bible overview class; a lunch-time elective on miscellaneous topics (currently on how to conduct Christian weddings and funerals), another class on how to study, teach, and preach the Bible (which I’m responsible for); a literacy class that runs parallel with mine; and a class on Christian doctrine. It’s a very full day!
To me, the unity among teachers and enthusiasm among students is evidence that the Lord is in this. There’s been no attempt to plant organizational or denominational flags. Instead, teachers and students alike are motivated by one thing—to see the Kingdom of God come in greater fullness in our lives, churches, and province.
In the future, if the Lord directs, we’d like to start a new MBS cohort every year; and, perhaps, even offer night classes for working professionals. However, as is so often the case in missions, we don’t lack for students, but for teachers.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Mt. 9:37-38).
Scott and Andrea Sward
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