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.”
This was Jorge Lara’s first time traveling on a World MAP team, and he also saw clearly the work God was doing. “Good, sound, practical teaching came from both Dr. Frank and Dr. Vic, and the pastors loved it. The thread woven throughout was unity. In all four cities, I felt the primary message that pastors’ received was that they are Kingdom pastors: not local pastors, not Pakistani pastors, but Kingdom pastors. The message that we serve One King in One Kingdom really hit home.
“I didn’t need to speak the language to know when something shifted in the atmosphere” recalls Jorge. “When the Kingdom message started to come together for everyone listening, you could feel the walls come down.”
A Clearer Perspective
We found the general Muslim population to be friendly and helpful. They are just like people everywhere else: they want to live a decent life, have a family and enjoy life and relationships. Unfortunately, radical Muslim elements make life miserable for everyone.
The majority of Pakistanis do not approve of the Taliban and their actions, nor do they want Sharia (strict Muslim) law enacted. But they are terribly afraid to oppose either for fear of reprisal. One senses low-grade fear everywhere you go.