Around 18 months ago I wrote about the need for theological training for pastors around the world. According to Training Leaders International, an organization that seeks to train church leaders around the world, there is only one formally trained church leader for every 450,000 people outside of the United States.

This number continues to astound me. We could debate what it means to be “formally trained” but needless to say there is a desperate need for theological training around the world.

I’m thankful that some in our own family of churches have had the vision and boldness to establish seminaries and theological schools around the world for the sake of training pastors and church planters. Our church partners with the Grace Brethren Bible Institute of Cameroon which has existed now for about 18 months. Jason Carmean is the institute’s director, and he and his family are fully invested in developing and training these church leaders. 18 months ago there were only four trained pastors in a country where there are 40 churches and 40 church plants.

Tomorrow, Pastor Dan Green and I leave to join Jason in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to lead a two-week teaching module. I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity, and I believe it will be both challenging and rewarding. We’ll be teaching about the centrality of the Gospel—wrestling with several ways people have tried to counterfeit and change it.

Would you pray for us?

Pray for the students. Almost all of these men have families and stay up most of the night working jobs and then attend class in the morning. Pray they are able to understand and retain the information.

Pray for Pastor Dan as he does the majority of the teaching. Pray that we are able to be clear and understandable as we work through a translator.

Pray for our relationships with the churches leaders. Pray that our time in Yaoundé would be fruitful as we build relationships with the students and get to know the leaders of the churches. May this be mutually beneficial.

Pray for our health. International travel always has the risks of upsetting normal routines and habits. Pray that we are able to adjust quickly.

Pray for our families. Dan and I are both thankful for wives who believe in this work and are willing to give us up for two weeks. Without their support and release this would be more challenging.

Thanks for sending us and praying for us as we represent Jesus and Grace Polaris Church around the world. May God honor His name as the Gospel goes forth for the sake of His glory and the joy of all peoples!

Zac Hess joined the pastoral staff in 2013 after serving as an intern during his seminary studies. He grew up on a farm in Ashland, OH and later met his wife, Sarah, who grew up as part of Grace Polaris Church. Zac pursued biblical studies at both Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary. He loves sports, the outdoors, reading, and a good cup of coffee. Zac and Sarah are the proud parents of Jacob.