|Ordination candidates at the|
Eastern Maharashtra District
Strategy was translated into action as Dr. Jesse C. Middendorf recently joined in personal interaction on the Eurasia Region. During jurisdictional travels in India, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, Dr. Middendorf was involved in training for several missional objectives strategically targeted on the region, including the Leadership Development Ini¬tiative, the European Nazarene College Leadership Conference, and “The Power of One.”
The Leadership Development Initiative is a two-year program designed to identify, train, and deploy 1,000 young leaders for ministry in local churches across the region. Most recently this plan concentrated on a new group of young leaders in Amsterdam for teaching on biblical principles of leadership and pairing with individual mentors. Dr. Middendorf and District Superintendent Arthur Snijders provided the instruction to students, who had each selected a project for possible implementation in ministry. A local pastor and lay leader also contributed one session, challenging these young men and women about their role in a missional church. On the final Sunday morning, they were introduced to their individual mentors, who assisted in evaluating the value and effectiveness of their projects. “These mentors will spend the next two years counseling, encouraging, and praying for these promising young leaders,” said Dr. Middendorf. “The initiative has already begun to bear fruit for the church in other areas of the region.”
Dr. Middendorf also participated in the annual European Nazarene College Leadership Conference, sharing with other resource personnel in influencing young leaders in sessions three times each day.
“The Power of One” initiative continues its positive influence on church growth. These materials were presented at each of the six district assemblies in India over which Dr. Middendorf presided. At last count, these resources had been produced in at least 28 languages for use throughout the Eurasia Region. It was especially exciting to those India Nazarenes who received “The Power of One” in the Hindi language for the first time. These are useful tools in the mission to make Christlike disciples, as evidenced by statistics reported in these district assemblies:
• Western Maharashtra experienced over 10 percent growth with 15 newly organized churches. When their superintendent began ministry on this district 21 years ago, there were only 13 churches. Now there are 133 organized churches and an additional 384 church-type missions.
• Mid-Maharashtra reported 15 new churches planted this year with 55 organized congregations and 300 new Nazarenes.
• Central Maharashtra organized 12 new churches this year with 1,601 new Nazarenes for a 13.6 percent rate of growth. In addition to their 117 churches, there are 330 church-type missions and dozens of Bible studies.
Even as current pastors minister to more than one congregation each, new pastors are being trained to fill these new church plants. Dr. Middendorf participated in the first graduation ceremony for the North India branch of South Asia Nazarene Bible College. This decentralized clergy training program produced 30 graduates this year, all of whom were prepared for pastoral ministry. Many of these graduates were already pastoring their own churches while planting others. Of the candidates Dr. Middendorf ordained in these six assemblies, two were the first women ever ordained on the Central Maharashtra District.
In some areas, districts have been divided multiple times for more than 40 years as disciples are multiplied, new churches are planted, and pastors are called, trained, and ordained into the ministry. “There appears to be a ‘Book of Acts movement of God’ occurring,” said Dr. Middendorf. “Interestingly, it is happening right where the Church of the Nazarene began work more than a century ago.”