Equipped for Ministry

By Wayne Stapleton
VP of Cross-Cultural Engagement & Emerging Leader Engagement

As I entered this plot of land in the middle of the city, I wasn’t sure what I was walking into. Amid makeshift shelters, cute little kids full of smiles and energy were introduced to me, each taking my hand and touching it to their forehead, a sign of blessing. Temporary homes occupied some of the property in the back, along with rocks and refuse. This was an area called Zone 9, an area located in Legazpi City in the Philippines in which families are squatting on land. During the day, the men from this community go out to collect garbage to bring here, where they sort it and sell what they can.

I was there with the De Vera family, who comes every Saturday to Zone 9. The De Vera’s have a burden for this community, and every week for the past two years they have come to share the love of God, bringing their presence, God’s Word, and food. JC’s wife, Mellany, leads Bible programs with the children, their daughter Ella teaches the young people, and JC holds a Bible study with the older people – mostly women – in the community. They seek to bring hope to the poorest of the poor.

[. . .]

The three De Veras were part of the twenty-three students in the class I taught at the Bicol Center for Christian Leadership (BCCL). I was there to teach Ethno-Hermeneutics, the study of biblical exegesis combined with cultural exegesis. This was a major subject in BCCL’s missions training program, which started in February 2023. The idea is that excellent cross-cultural training first requires diligent and faithful study of the text but must include careful understanding and study of the people who are being taught. . . .

The BCCL is doing a good work, developing ministry leaders in heart as well as skills, to reach their community and the nations with the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you want to participate in the support of this good work, see the links below.

Triennial 2024 is coming up fast. Taking place in St. Paul, Minnesota, July 11–14, 2024, there are only 12 weeks to go. If you have already registered and have not yet booked your flight or hotel, now is the perfect time to do so. If you choose to stay at one of the two NAB host hotels – The Intercontinental Saint Paul Riverfront and Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown St. Paul – you can book your stay at a discounted rate!

You won’t want to delay, though, as the block of rooms set aside for us are sure to fill up fast!

You can also get a discount when you book your flight through Delta Air Lines. When you book online, use the Meeting Code NM34Y.

If you have not yet registered, what are you waiting for? You will not want to miss out on this gathering of NAB churches from all across North America, as well as NAB international missionaries and guests from around the globe!

As a conference, the NAB has consistently sought to lean into God’s desire for us as a church to be witnesses to our neighbors about who he is. This has been our vision, which we have described as being a sign, servant, and foretaste of the Kingdom of God. For over a decade now, the NAB has intentionally developed and delivered spaces for training, discussion, and spiritual growth to this end. Our strategy has included Blue Ocean, Discovery, and Ethos, each of which involve training leaders and members of NAB churches, helping them to live into this vision for their communities.

In a desire to continue to extend this vision into and through our churches, members of the NAB Executive Team are planning a cohort uniquely designed to reach emerging leaders, those twenty- and thirty-something women and men who are active leaders of our churches and who will continue to serve NAB churches for the decades to come.

We are planning three, three-month modules, each reflecting the three modules in Blue Ocean. The goal of this experience is to develop and enrich the relationships of our emerging leaders, to provide instruction and conversation about the movement of God in the world and how we participate, and to deepen the preparation of our emerging leaders for the future of the NAB.

If you are interested in this new cohort, or know of someone who would be a great candidate, we are currently accepting applications through May 31, 2024.