To conclude I want to re-emphasize the importance of global exposures for the pastor in training to practice ministry in the United States. In a recent movie called “Fools Gold” (actually a movie I watched on the plane returning to the United States) there was a line from one of the actors about how hunting for treasure off the coast of Florida sure beats reading about it in a book somewhere in Chicago; and things are not that much different when learning about the global church. While some knowledge is needed when going about the practice of ministry, it is the experiences you face while in the field that bring you in tune with the nature of God and His people in the world.
As was developed in the paper, it is through the world around us, looking within, and interacting with others that we are able to peer (as through a window) into the mysterious nature of the Kingdom of God. While we may know about God through reading books and hearing lectures, we may not truly know God until we encounter him through these means – and we can then reflect upon our findings through our interactions with the local church (and possibly most effectively the house church). I’ll conclude with a the toast that started this whole line of thought, made on Sunday, June 8th, 2008 in Khoni, Georgia:
“A toast (#15-20 for the night if I remember right) – the five of us seminary students have read a number of books this last year during seminary, including 1000+ pages for this class. The reality, however, is that it is the stories and testimonies, like the people in Khoni that make the biggest impact on our faith as well as equip us the most for ministering to a congregation back in the US. Gamajolst!”