Why books for international Christian leaders and theological schools?
Here are some quick facts:
- About 60%-70% of Christians live outside the US – this is where the church is growing.
- Probably 80%-85% of pastors outside the US have no formal theological training.
- In the US, there is one trained pastor per 250 people; outside the US, there is one trained pastor per 450,000 people.
- Missions experts confirm that the #1 request from Christian leaders around the world is for help in training their pastors.
We are not the ones who provide training. But training requires resources – and that’s where we can help.
Training of pastors and Christian leaders generally falls under two broad categories – formal and informal.
We work with theological schools around the world which provide formal training at all levels from certificate or diploma, all the way up to doctoral programs. We help provide library books and textbooks which are critical to the training process. In addition to the obvious help the books provide to the students and faculty, library development is also a requirement for accreditation for the schools. Schools often struggle in this area because needed resources like quality theological books are often scarce and/or expensive in their countries. We have helped provide more than 260,000 library books and textbooks to more than 100 partner schools, and the list continues to grow.
For every one pastor outside the U.S. who receives formal training in a Bible college or seminary, there are probably dozens more that will never have the opportunity. Yet they are still faithfully pastoring, and still in desperate need of training. We have helped provide more than 345,000 books and study Bibles to a number of organizations which provide informal training to these pastors through seminars, book distribution and lending libraries.
Why Bibles for those without access to them?
It’s very hard for those of in the U.S. to imagine not having access to Bibles. Estimates are that 85% of U.S. households own a Bible, and the average household owns more than four. Bibles are abundantly available and affordable to just about anyone who wants one.
This is not the reality in many parts of the world. In Africa alone, it’s estimated that 100 – 200 million Christian believers do not own a Bible. We’re not even talking about Bibles for evangelism, which is also a huge need – but rather people who are already believers but don’t own a Bible.
We have verified stories like these:
- A church service with 500 people present and only three of them owned a Bible;
- Some churches where even the pastor doesn’t own a complete Bible;
- Pastors who have been in ministry for decades and have never owned a good study Bible;
- People willing to walk enormous distances in order to get Bibles;
- A quality Bible, if available at all, costing the equivalent of a month’s wage.
Someone explained the dilemma of the people in his country like this: “A Bible costs about $6, which is the price of two chickens. I don’t have $6 to spare. I could sell two chickens to buy a Bible, but I need the chickens to feed my family. What am I to do?”
Countries CIO has served:
Democratic Republic of Congo
Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire
Papua New Guinea