The invitation for Church Doctor Ministries to serve in the Central American country of Belize came from Dr. Steve Hughey in early 2014. A seasoned missionary and missions leader, Steve has a history of serving the cause of Christ in that part of the world. For months he has been working with church leaders in Belize to organize a conference on discipling and discipleship. This conference occurred in July, 2014 at a conference center just outside of Belize City.
Church Doctor Founder, Kent Hunter was invited to serve as plenary speaker on the topics of discipling new Christians (Matthew 28:19-20) and discipling Christian leaders (Ephesians 4:11-12). Kent saw the opportunity to add to the discipling process of a young Christian, David Bruce, who just graduated from high school. Kent also sensed the possibility of involving Tracee Swank, the Leader of Church Doctor Ministries, providing her the opportunity to teach in another culture for the first time.
Steve Hughey agreed that David and Tracee could accompany Kent and all three began raising support to make the trip. The idea to supply books to the leaders was based on the opportunity for these leaders to grow beyond the conference and train others in their churches during the coming months and years. Kent’s book, Foundations for Church Growth: Biblical Basics for the Local Church (international version) was selected.
THANK YOU, TO ALL THOSE WHO DONATED AND PRAYED FOR THIS PROJECT.
Discipleship occurred in many ways. “I learned the issues and challenges facing ministry leaders are not as unique to North America as I thought,” reflected Tracee. “This was a valuable experience for me, as I continue to work with churches and ministry leaders.”
“I appreciated the discipline to write two ninety-minute teachings on discipling and discipleship,” says Kent. “We’ll use this again, probably developing a workshop for U.S. church leaders. Tracee’s teaching on spiritual formation was so well received, it could be a valuable part of this workshop to church leaders. Plans are developing to use this material again and again, allowing churches to host a workshop event in their area,” Kent continued.
The pastors at the Belize Conference were amazing in their eagerness to grow their churches by discipling others and to improve their own journeys in spiritual formation. David Bruce reflected, “Once we arrived at the conference site, it became apparent that everyone was grateful that we were there. I was very encouraged to see their enthusiasm.”
Steve Hughey provided a presentation that unfolded the meaning of the Great Commission, directing participants to practice insights that Jesus gave for reaching the world. Breakout sessions were provided by Justin Hannemann, Tracee Swank, Steve Hughey, Alex Merlo and Steve Zank. Tracee reflects, “The conference was filled with enthusiasm for the Great Commission. Investing in these leaders was humbling and fun for me.” David adds, “I found these teachings very beneficial to further missions in Belize as well as throughout Central American…and North America.”
“I was reminded that, as you invest in others, you are blessed by their appreciation and gratitude. I am grateful that our prayer and support partners invested in us, and, through us, in these wonderful servants in Central America,” said Kent Hunter.
Tracee Swank added, “The ministry leaders were very eager to learn, and showed a real desire to grow in their own spiritual formation—and to grow those they serve in their churches.”
- The pastors and leaders took copies of the participant’s notes, to multiply the conference among others in their congregations.
- The group from Honduras asked if they could translate the teaching into Spanish. (Of course we said yes!)
- The pastor from northern Belize who has a radio program reaching Hispanics in Belize and southern Mexico, wanted extra books to provide to his listening audience—for those who read English.
- The pastor who has a Spanish speaking church in Belize City, who also asked to translate the participant notes into Spanish.
- The powerful prayer and worship times during the conference.
- The words of appreciation by so many—who have so little to work with and have big hearts of God’s work.
- The extraordinary team of teachers who gave themselves for this effort.
- The pastor who said, “I really wish more of my people could have been here—this is a wonderful teaching.”
- The two women who eagerly returned to the spiritual formation session, four times!
- The great questions and conversations that demonstrated a strong desire to learn.
- Those who have so little and sacrificed so much, traveling so far to attend this conference.
- The amazing team that Steve Hughey put together to teach in so many areas of church leadership and spiritual life.
- The enthusiasm and leadership gifts of the Nigerian pastor who is planting a church in Belize and discipling young adults.
“The Bible says, in so many words, you can’t out give God,” said Kent. “You come and give so much, outside of your comfort zone, outside of your temperature zone, outside of your cultural familiarity. And you learn so much, grow so much.”
David reflected, “Personally, I found this trip energizing, invigorating, and encouraging to do God’s work.”
“The pastors we met,” Tracee shared, “were very gracious and expressed—many times—their thanks, to us, for investing in them.”
“This trip broadened my worldview and has made me think on a global scale for ministry,” added David Bruce.
“Our team traveled throughout the country after the conference, visiting other ministries. This helped me become a better ‘God watcher’ of what He is doing around the world,” said Tracee Swank.
“I’ve taught in conferences all over the world for the last thirty years. Its hard work, but unparalleled in my personal spiritual growth. I especially appreciated the opportunity, in this context, to continue to disciple Tracee as a leader and David as a young Christian and emerging leader. Also, I am moved that so many generous Americans invested, with us, and others. Praise God!” –Kent Hunter.
This conference was sponsored by CALMS: Connecting and Advancing Leaders in Mission and Service, led by Steve Hughey. The name of the conference was “Make and Grow Disciples of Jesus who Live For and Represent Jesus Every Day.”
To God be the glory!
Go, make disciples!
Thank you for your support in prayer and finances!
Partner with Church Doctor Ministries (click here) to support its mission: The transformational change of the Christian Church toward the effective implementation of the Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all peoples.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.