Letter from Charlie King
November 29, 2017
Pastor Pete, Pastor Rich Young, and I are on the last trip of the year to Africa, and the first one in which five different sessions of our flagship program, Trinity Bible Institute, will be conducted. We began in Kigali, Rwanda, and will end in Endebess, Kenya – in four weeks covering over a thousand miles, three nations, five languages, and one Gospel. At each location we will be joined by exceptional teachers from across East Africa, who will continue our theological education on the road – bringing pastoral training to church leaders in the field.
As we were discussing the trip prior to departure, it occurred to us that we have lost count of the number of churches that have been planted as a result of the work of TCWM. I say this not to be boastful, but simply to highlight that this is not what our work is about. Indeed the number of churches was never the point. The point has always been to build the capacity for church growth; to train and enable leaders of churches to have the capacity for growth and replication. And this we know we are doing – we have ample evidence of such growth and we thank the Lord and the many owners of TCWM – which would be you – that have brought this about.
The chief requirement for church growth in Africa is no different than it is in America. It requires leaders who know God, know His word, and know how to live it in this world; leaders who have “heads, hearts, and hands for Christ” as our fellow laborer Pastor Doug McNutt puts it. And where do such leaders come from? Certainly, they are called, but such calling must be identified, nurtured and refined. Without this the capacity for leading, church growth is in peril.
And that is where we have been focused for the past four years. Recently, I attended the global mission conference for Mission to the World. At this conference, I learned that we are in good company with this focus. The focus of many mission organizations is shifting to address what is referred to as the theological famine in the developing (or majority) world. Just as the body must be fed, so must the spirit. A dearth of solid Biblical teaching and godly leadership leads to a starved spirit. It is this sort of famine that is crippling the church in places, such as East Africa, in which there are plenty of people who claim Christ, but who show little evidence of actually comprehending what that means. Without trained pastors to lead them, these Christian communities can sink into heresies such as the prosperity gospel, or be torn by the fierce wolves about which Paul spoke, and bring shame to the name of God through corruption and divisiveness. In other words, without the heads, hearts, and hands of educated leaders, the church will not grow.
So when I tell you that we have lost count of the churches that have been planted, that is a good thing! Our boast is not about the churches that we build, but about the evidence that the students we teach are building churches—and when we do boast, we boast in His name and by His grace, knowing that it is only through Him that this can happen. And he has called you to be a part of that work.
We know that together, we, the owners and the missionaries of TCWM, are accomplishing our goals, because we know that indigenous churches are being built, and that men and women are leading others to changed lives in Christ. That this is happening is because of you. I invite you to continue to share in this work. God is on the move in Africa. Already the center of Christianity has left the Western world; today the average Christian is not North American or European, but comes from the developing world. Within a few generations the majority of all Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa. Will you be part of preparing the way for these Christians?
Your generosity at this time will help us finish this particular trip, for we are stepping out in faith. But regardless of what you are able to give, as President of the board of TCWM I just wanted to thank you for being part of this work. TCWM is entering its fifth year. We have come a long way in those few years, but we have much more to do. After the New Year, you will hear more from the board about the way ahead, but for now, be thankful to be a part of such work!