Oruro, Bolivia — Imagine going to church every Sunday to hear a sermon from your pastor who had never attended seminary, studied theology or even read many books of the Bible. How would this make you feel? How do you think this would affect other ministries in your church?

Unfortunately, this is the reality for most churches in developing countries, where access to training and resources for pastors is extremely limited. At Bright Hope, we strive to support these pastors and leaders and provide training opportunities to strengthen their foundations in basic Biblical truths and leadership skills.

Thanks to our Allies, we’ve seen extremely successful trainings in Bolivia through the Ministry Development Program, with over 40 participating churches reaching 300 leaders. The program invites pastors and core leadership members from churches across different denominations to attend monthly trainings on topics like leadership, team building, marriage counseling, and Christian education. Throughout the month, leaders meet in small groups to debrief the workshops and go deeper, providing mutual accountability and transparency.

Pastor Edwin of Agua Viva Church in Oruro has taken full advantage of the Ministry Development Program, enrolling more than 20 leaders from his church and creating 4 small groups.

“Having the small group meetings weekly has really changed how our leadership teams work together. Right now we are just focusing on building relationships and trust, and we are learning things about each other that we never knew even after working together for 10 years” Pastor Edwin shared.

Some of the leaders said that the biggest learning they have made so far is how to delegate and divide up responsibilities in teams. Before, most of the burden fell on the main pastor alone, but now many young leaders are stepping up.

We have even seen tangible changes happening within the ministries at Agua Viva church as a result of the trainings. The church has decided to consolidate their microenterprise initiatives, focusing efforts on what they do best and maximizing their potential to generate income. Without any outside support, they have come together to build storefronts next to the church that can be rented out to families in the community for their small businesses.

The motto for this program is “healthy pastor, healthy church, healthy community” and we are seeing this put into action in Bolivia. When we educate and empower leaders, the local church is transformed, creating an environment for the church to be able to reach out and successfully impact its community.