One of the most iconic stories in Scripture tells about Jesus' interaction with a Samaritan woman at the well.
Building a kingdom coalition is hard work. At Global Advance, we have spent the past three years investing in high capacity leaders in eight nations located in South Asia known as SAARC. It came as a big idea from God to accelerate the Great Commission through partnerships and collaboration in this region. We felt God’s invitation to step out in faith and begin a massive Kingdom advance into the SAARC nations of Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, and the Maldives.
These SAARC countries represent a high concentration of unreached peoples, hostility towards the Gospel, and present financial and logistical challenges. Despite these challenges, a massive harvest potential of lives yet to be transformed by the power of the Gospel resides within South Asia.
In February of this year we convened these high capacity leaders in Sri Lanka. The 2018 SAARC Summit was a vital gathering to continue the work of strengthening relationships for the purpose of these leaders sharing resources and ministry strengths to fulfill our common vision. We recognize that this act alone goes against the tradition and culture of this region. However, we are seeing a powerful movement of God take place.
This big idea is rooted in our desire to see a spiritual breakthrough to the over 2 billion people in the SAARC region who have little to no exposure to the Gospel. In partnership with these leaders, Global Advance has made a 10-year commitment to train leaders, as well as to produce and distribute resources and discipleship tools for the advance of the Great Commission.
To accomplish this task, we are working with each national team to create deliberate, bold, and focused evangelistic initiatives in each of the eight nations. The indigenous national leaders are designing the strategies that are most effective. Together as a coalition, we want to see the planting of over 15,000 churches in SAARC over the next few years.
The opportunity lies before us and the groundwork has been laid. Now trust has been established. Synergy and passion is in play to boldly advance the Gospel throughout our SAARC network. A plan to equip South Asian frontline pastors and church planters has been formed, and the network has established teams that are already multiplying. In each nation, a multi-pronged holistic approach is being implemented to equip Kingdom leaders and Church planters, and our Alpha Relief Initiative has become a supply line for the front line of the Gospel's advance.
Your partnership with Global Advance positions you to participate in this big idea from God. Thank you for praying, giving, and sending us to empower frontline leaders for the Great Commission. Please continue to support the SAARC Initiative at Global Advance.
Paula Togni carries a personality you can't easily forget, but her energetic demeanor and warm Brazilian embrace are just friendly introductions to the deeply compassionate servant leadership she brings to her church and community. She's a wife, a mom, and an entrepreneur, who also happens to be pursuing her doctorate in Transformational Leadership and Cultural Transformation.
Paula is a woman of God on a mission for God.
Her passion? To propel leaders forward to help them accomplish their God-given dreams.
Several years ago Paula began training local marketplace leaders as a marketing and business consultant, but it didn’t take long for God to deposit a more intentional gospel-focused dream in her heart. It was at that time that Paula was introduced to Global Advance. God used this new Kingdom partnership to solidify her Marketplace Missions vision not only for her business but her entire nation. A Kingdom Business Network was launched in her church, and Paula began coordinating the first of many Global Advance Marketplace Missions Conferences. As a result, Christian business leaders across Brazil have been empowered to impact their churches and communities, and many in their influence have received Jesus as their Savior.
God is now expanding Paula’s vision to reach her community for Christ by incorporating multiple Global Advance initiatives into her ministry outreach in a local favela (slum) just outside of Porto Alegre. In a place where extreme poverty, drug rings, and violence compromise the physical and spiritual health of its people, local church, and marketplace leaders are coming together in unity to offer hope, healing, and community transformation through job skills training and the message of Jesus Christ. After hosting a second Esther Initiative Conference last year and launching hundreds of women leaders into mentoring relationships through our Esther Mentoring Track, Paula now dreams of an expanded training center in the favela where her team can continue to empower women and children to fully realize their identity, worth, and purpose in Christ.
We return to Porto Alegre in June 2018 where an expected 1,200 women from all over Brazil will gather for our third Esther Initiative conference. This multi-faceted event includes the strategic training of high capacity regional leaders; then the focus turns to putting this leadership training into action through a three-day social engagement ministry in the favela. Two additional conferences - national NextGen Engagement and Marketplace training - will follow this year under Paula's leadership. That brings the total number of frontline leaders trained in Brazil to over 2,500 in this year alone. Global Advance is providing the practical and spiritual support to stand-out leaders like Paula, empowering them to build relationships, identify local assets, and own the dreams God has given them to transform their communities for Christ.
When Paula was nine years old, God gave her a dream to become a missionary. Today, Paula is indeed going into all the world and advancing the Gospel as she represents Global Advance on the front lines of Brazil.
As mentioned, we have three training events in Brazil in 2018. Would you consider partnering with Global Advance on one of these events? Your support will have a far-reaching impact as we lock arms with Paula and her team to bring the transforming power of God to her nation.
Billy Graham preached the gospel to more people than anyone in history. Now he is home with the Lord he so faithfully served. What an abundant entrance into heaven he must have received! Just imagine his “receiving line” of millions who are in heaven because of his ministry. The church worldwide gives thanks for the immense impact of Mr. Graham’s life in advancing the gospel here and around the world. His legacy will live until Christ returns. Billy Graham modeled for us many crucial life lessons.
He showed us that integrity matters. When God called me to preach the gospel as a teenager, the model for ministry integrity was Billy Graham. Five decades later he is still the model. His integrity remained sterling since he came to national prominence in 1949. Now, that’s long-term faithfulness. Early in his ministry Mr. Graham and his associates signed the “Modesto Manifesto,” voluntarily imposing safeguards regarding money, sex and truthfulness. Later he would be instrumental in forming the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, of which Global Advance is a member.
He was committed to the Bible. While still a young preacher Mr. Graham determined to take God at His word and rely on the truthfulness of Scripture. I once counted the number of times Mr. Graham quoted all or part of a Bible text in a single message. In that particular sermon Mr. Graham quoted the Bible an astounding sixty-nine times. Billy Graham had confidence in God’s promise: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 MEV).
He stayed focused on his evangelistic calling. For seventy years of ministry the message never changed. “God so loved the world that He gave His Son” was his singular theme. “Christ and Him crucified” was his watchword. His appeal to his hearers to place their faith in Christ never waivered. Mr. Graham could take any text or any subject and relate it to the gospel. He was much like Philip, the church’s first evangelist. When Philip saw the Ethiopian reading from Isaiah, “beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35). Billy Graham did the same. When America was grieving in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mr. Graham’s clear gospel presentation at the National Prayer Service enabled the message of God’s love in Christ to be heard by more people – including more radical terrorists – than ever in history.
He practiced a broad embrace. Billy Graham was winsome and gracious, even with those who opposed him. For many, his life defined evangelical Christianity at its best. Without compromising the gospel, he befriended the poor as well as the most powerful people in the world. And no one could convene all stripes of Christians across all sorts of divides better than Billy Graham. Without being judgmental, he did not softened the demands of the gospel and the lordship of Christ.
He launched bold evangelistic initiatives. From the early days of his ministry as one of the pioneers of Youth for Christ, Billy Graham used innovative approaches to share the Good News. He was one of the first to use films to spread the gospel. Ralph Carmichael’s musical score for “The Restless Ones” – a Billy Graham WorldWide Films release in 1967 – helped launch the entirely new genre of contemporary Christian music. It was Mr. Graham’s idea to create Christianity Today as an intellectually strong magazine to counter theological liberalism. And his satellite-transmitted crusade from Puerto Rico was the first truly global, real-time evangelistic outreach.
He modeled great love for his wife and family. In an era when ministers’ marriages often proved less than exemplary, Billy and Ruth Graham portrayed an ongoing, beautiful love story. The fact that all five of their children love Jesus Christ and have each been involved in some ministry speaks volumes.
He had a heart for preachers around the world. In addition to his personal evangelistic ministry in 185 countries, he helped train international evangelists from at least that many nations. It was my privilege to participate in three of the Graham Association’s Amsterdam conferences that drew thousands of itinerate evangelists from around the world. On August 6, 2000, Mr. Graham issued this challenge to all of us gathered in Amsterdam: “Let us light a fire of commitment to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit to the ends of the earth, using every resource at our command and with every ounce of our strength.”
Billy Graham truly invested every resource at your command and every ounce of his strength to spread the gospel. Now we embrace his challenge and commit to his call. His death marks the end of an era. May it also mark a rebirth of Christ-exalting gospel proclamation throughout America and the world.
Dr. David Shibley
Global Advance Founder / World Representative