Every once in a while I stand in a living room somewhere in the United States telling the incredible story of what God is doing through PLI. Almost always a passionate, gifted PLI pastor (or a generous champion) has invited some folks to gather, asking them to consider supporting PLI’s leadership training.
I was in northern Michigan last spring. Their large congregation had been one of the early visionaries for PLI’s early focus on helping a pastor and spouse become healthier, better—in character and competency—leaders to succeed a retiring generation of senior pastors. Their long-tenured pastor had retired, and sitting—this time in the kitchen—was their new, young, recently PLI-completed pastor. I said: “So, is it worth it?” (I knew he was a gifted leader and doing a great job.) Everyone smiled. Thumbs went up around the room. It’s worth a lot to have a well-trained, humble leader.
Most folks get the dilemma:
- Not much happens without a pastor to lead us.
- Not much chance of us getting focused on the mission of God without a pastor to lead us.
- Not much chance of getting some very diverse opinions and wills working together for the sake of the mission without a pastor to lead us.
Ironically, it takes a bit longer for folks to hook these dots together:
- A pastor and spouse become healthier, better leaders together.
- The people in the congregation benefit.
- And, our capacity to lean into the mission God has entrusted to us in our community gets better, too.
I was in a Kansas City living room last night. What a group of folks! They love their 3 pastors. They’re concerned that like most places, some of their own kids and grandkids have drifted away. (And they pray for a 1,000 Young Leader to be sent across their paths.) They see the unraveling of the Christian church in the U.S. and they long to see our churches better equipped for the challenge.
I asked Pastor Mark Schultz why he hosted the donor gathering for PLI. He said:
“PLI continues to help us wrestle with how best to bring the timeless message of Jesus’ grace and mercy to a culture very different from the one in which we grew up.”
God has blessed PLI with incredibly generous people that support its work. Gifts to PLI have consistently grown over the last decade. But, so has the challenge/opportunity.
–Only 5% of pastors in the U.S. report that their own congregation is very effectively engaging people in their community with the Gospel of Jesus.
–Pastors are feeling the burden of leading on the far side of Covid. They feel less support and encouragement. 65% of pastors report feeling lonely or isolated.
–In 2025, there will be 1.3 BILLION Christians—not millions but billions—in Africa! Growing rapidly! And more and more of those church bodies and networks are reaching out to PLI requesting the investment of its biblical leadership training. Pastors and spouses get started down an aggressive journey of deep learning simply pressing into beginning to answer:
Are you the type of leader that people want to follow?
National Director of PLI’s Donor Engagement, Rika Beckley explained:
We are challenged to grow our donor base because we are a grass-roots organization with a lean staff. We absolutely rely on our program alumni and current donors to open doors to others who may be interested in our ministry. If we are able to talk to someone about how we help pastors/spouses in the U.S. and across the globe in 25 countries, and if that person has a heart for spreading the Gospel, they will oftentimes support our mission. But it takes that personal connection. If all of our alumni/donors just introduced one person to PLI, we really could make an even greater Kingdom impact—and that is what God is calling us to do. Can you help?
There’s nothing better than seeing alumni who benefited from PLI turning around and using their circles to invite others to support PLI for the NEXT leaders coming behind them. There’s many different ways that alumni can help.
- Some just give us the name of a person and their contact information and tell us that we can use their name to reach out.
- Some prefer to initiate the contact in person/phone/email and let them know they will be hearing from us.
- Some set up a phone call or a visit that we can both, together, introduce them to PLI.
- And, of course, many elect to host an in person gathering of a group of people.
Virtually everyone in PLI, whether last year or 25 years ago, benefited from the generosity of someone that: 1. Loves pastors. 2. Loves spouses, too. 3. Has an evangelistic heart for the church. 4. Wants to make a difference in the Kingdom.
So, would you send Rika a quick email or give her a call at 814-221-0755. Let her know what’s stirred in you and how you think you might help bless the development of the leaders that are coming behind you? You can also give online anytime.