Samuel has been a pastor for twenty-five years. He serves the Baptist church in Lince, a district in Lima we might refer to as a “middle class” neighborhood, but please put that in a Lima context. Lince is an area between the very rich, and the very poor. It is a community wrought with violence, and robberies. There are many street youth and a culture of begging.
My new friend is a ball of energy and very inspiring to be with. Impressive in that this is not an easy ministry setting. The church is in a walled compound that deters robbery and also offers protection for children and families when they attend community programs.
After hearing Jim Cymbala speak, Samuel told me that he came to the place where he said, “Lord, do your work.”
“A turning point in my life was prayer. I was a preacher, teacher – but I didn’t believe in prayer.”
Since then his ministry has been renewed and the church has tripled in size. His counsel to those of us in ministry, “The first thing you must learn to do is pray.”
Realizing that Samuel cannot ‘do it all’ for his church or his community, he decided to start an independent seminary at his church. He is building into twenty-five future pastors who are attending two-hour classes every day.
The premise of the strategy is captured in the word ABLE. It stands for Administration, Bible and Theology, Leadership and Evangelism and mission today. Samuel wants workers and has a vision for planting churches in the poorer barrios.
“My mind is filled with evangelism and mission,” he said. “In the north pastors are mostly scholars. The Kingdom does not need more scholars – we need workers.”
Samuel invites in the form of a challenge to leaders in the north, “The fishing is very good in South America. You need to experience it.”
Samuel has an infectious presence, and I look forward to staying in touch with this local hero and his family.
What I take away from my time with Samuel is the supernatural way that two people can meet for the first time and yet be brothers for life. His focus on prayer is convicting. I want to introduce him to others and would love to see some teacher friends offer to come teach at this seminary for a week. Hmmmm.