Later, we meet with an influential Muslim cleric (Wahabbi) who heads up a large interfaith association and numerous mosques, orphanages, hospitals and schools in the area. I think of the apostle Paul and pray silently for this man’s radical salvation through Jesus!
Though tired, we are determined to press for a great last day in Sahiwal! Vic brings a strong and encouraging word. I am feeling much better and really enjoy my final session with the pastors. The ministry time was powerful. The people of Sahiwal are very precious, maybe less sophisticated but love God and are very loving.
Terrorist warnings and potential unrest lead our hosts to cancel the evening community meeting. So it’s back in the vans for the return drive to Lahore.
The next day we board the flight for home and, praise Jesus, we have an uneventful albeit long trip back to the States.
The 2014 World MAP Spiritual Renewal and Equipping Seminars in Pakistan exceeded our expectations! The pastors and leaders are spiritually hungry and very open to teaching. These brave men and women are sincere and serious about their desire to serve the Lord and His people effectively.
The Pentecostal churches in Pakistan are growing, while traditional mainline churches that once had tremendous influence are unfortunately on the wane. These mainline denominations have lost ground through the nationalization of their institutions that provided community services (hospitals, universities, schools, orphanages, etc.) and gave them a vital outreach at one time. They now seem to spend more time engaged in interfaith discussions and meetings and less time winning the lost.
Pentecostal churches welcome those who are seeking God and His work and power to be actively displayed in the Christian life, as opposed to serving religious traditions, and this resonates with committed believers.
Catholics are influential but stay isolated and did not participate in the seminars. Anglicans and Presbyterians joined with us, and the pastor of the Presbyterian church in Rawalpindi (Dr. Samuel Titus) graciously let World MAP use his facility for the seminars.
There is something of a division between the older generation of pastors who came to maturity in the 1980s and 90s, and those who are younger. There is also a noticeable lack of newer pastors and leaders, which could signal trouble for the future of the church in Pakistan. The older generation is not aggressively raising up or fathering new leadership as they should.
Walls Come Down
A uniform concern/complaint in every city was the existing disunity and division among church leaders. The messages we brought on the Kingdom of God and becoming Kingdom-minded pastors resonated with them, especially with the younger leaders.
“A major success of the World MAP seminars in Pakistan was seeing the barriers of denominational divisions broken down” reports Pastor Vic. “Those who attended the seminars came together as strangers, but left the seminars as co-laborers in Christ.”