World MAP Seminars in Pakistan
By Dr. Frank R. Parrish
It was just one month prior to leaving for Pakistan to conduct four World MAP pastors’ seminars that the urgent prayer bulletin came: Two churches had been bombed not far from where our first conference would convene!
Several people had died, and many more were wounded. There was grave concern among the Christians that more attacks were imminent. We immediately went to prayer, with our hearts breaking as we saw pictures of the devastation.
Then the questions arose. Would it be safe to gather a large and noticeable group of pastors together at this time? With all the tension and uncertainty, would pastors still come to the seminars? Would we travel all that distance, only to potentially be denied entry into the country upon arrival? Our well-laid plans seemed uncertain at that point.
Our practice is to gather with key intercessors whenever we are about to travel to conduct World MAP seminars. But we met for prayer this time with a particular sense of urgency.
We had an extended and powerful time of prayer, with deep travail and prophetic release. Too much took place to relay it all here, but suffice it to say there was a clear sense that our King was undisturbed by the recent events! He gave us a peace and steadfast certainty that we were headed for a mighty “kairos” (divinely appointed visitation) moment with the beloved pastors of Pakistani Church!
So, in faith, we proceeded as planned and arrived in Pakistan on April 11, 2015. We were met at the airport by our coordinator and friend, Pastor Haroon, who had scheduled seminars in four cities that were three days per seminar. This shorter time frame was prudent, as meeting in any one place for too long only increased the security risk.
Pastors gathered for the World MAP seminars in Lahore, Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Karachi.
GOD RESPONDS TO HUNGER
We were confident that God had great purpose for these gatherings. But even we were surprised at the magnitude of what we encountered in each city!
The attendance was substantially larger than at last year’s Pakistani seminars, sometimes even exceeding the capacity of our meeting places. But well beyond that was the high sense of expectancy and hunger this year from the pastors for a fresh word from the Lord and a touch from His Spirit.
It was our joy at each seminar to see the Holy Spirit move in power in response to this hunger. We witnessed numerous healings, personal breakthroughs, answered prayers, fresh vision and the release of callings and giftings for new areas of ministry. Praise the Lord!
POWER IN UNITY
We were also thrilled to see the growing unity among the pastors. The prior year, there were large groups of pastors from single organizations who chose not to attend the World MAP seminars. But this year, they attended in full force and with open-hearted participation.
There was a strong sense of unity, fellowship and community among the leaders (Acts 2:40-47). How good and pleasant when brethren dwell in unity (Psalm 133). This is a divine “weather vane” sign that God is preparing to move in a significant way with and through those who are being led by His Spirit (Rom 8:14). The Lord can do much greater things with those whose focus is on His Kingdom, rather than on their own local assignment or group.
Pastors and key leaders commented that they sensed God building a “spiritual momentum” in the Church of Pakistan. This was evidenced by the pastors’ response to the teachings and the moving of the Holy Spirit among them.
A TIMELY WORD
This year’s World MAP team included Dr. Stan Fleming, a published author and gifted Bible teacher. He particularly enjoys teaching about cults and world religions, contrasting them with authentic biblical Christianity. The pastors greatly enjoyed this enlightening teaching that was so relevant to their everyday life situations.
Last year in Pakistan, I taught on the Kingdom of God and its implications for pastors and their ministries, which was very well received. This year, I built on that theme as I was led to teach on the necessity and purpose of true, biblical discipleship.
I felt strongly that this teaching was timely, but did not anticipate the response I would receive from pastors and key leaders of denominations and house church movements. One after another, they shared with me that this was a prophetically key teaching for both the immediate and long-term direction and development of the Pakistani Church.
Their words affirmed what we sensed in our pre-trip intercessory meeting – the Lord is intending a season of great breakthrough and Kingdom purpose for the Church of Pakistan that will impact their nation, and even surrounding nations.
There was much content in the teaching series on discipleship. But, in essence, I taught that discipleship, though done at the local and personal level, is intended for far greater purpose. When discipleship is examined in the teachings and commands of Scripture, and studied in light of church history, a pattern emerges that is clearly evident.
Discipleship is not simply a church program or a rote set of classes in order to give people something to fill their time. Rather, the process and purpose of discipling others is a grand and strategic vehicle designed by God to fulfill His age-old purpose (Matt 28:18-20).
And that purpose is making the kind of disciples who will make more disciples, who will make more disciples – multiplying to reach every nation (ethnos, people group) with the Good News of the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matt 24:14).
It is the very heart of God that every person might come to know, love, worship, follow and obey Him as the only Lord God, Father and Savior – and His clearly announced plan makes that possible!
The World MAP seminars in Pakistan were powerful and well beyond our expectations. I feel such deep gratitude that God is using the ministry of World MAP to advance His Kingdom purposes in the nations. You are an essential part of World MAP’s expanding influence and reach to serve those who have the least.
At the conclusion of each seminar, we give pastors their anticipated and eagerly-sought Shepherd’s Staff. I explain that this gift was freely provided by their brothers and sisters in North America out of their heart of love and deep belief in the pastors and their important call to ministry. In each place, the conference erupts in cheers and grateful applause – for you!
Our Lord is on the move in the nations of men. He is reaping a great harvest around the world and preparing His chosen leaders and His bride for even greater things to come. I am thankful to join with you in working until He comes!
-Dr. Frank Parrish