Movement of the Word
We long to see the Word of God flowing powerfully
through every church to every community.
Transformation. We all want it. We all want to believe that our ministries are catalysts for the Spirit’s transformation work in our people’s lives. But come Sunday evening, too many pastors ask themselves, “Why do my sermons fall flat? Why are lives not changed? Why does my church struggle just to tread water?”
TNT is built around the conviction that real transformation comes when God’s Word is proclaimed with His transforming power. We believe God pairs every portion of Scripture with an intended response. This transformational intent – the change God is seeking through the message of Scripture – brings power to our ministry of the Word. TNT provides an approach to studying and preaching God’s Word that equips pastors to shepherd their people with the transformation God intends.
We find that this training proves valuable to pastors of every background from every part of the world. Whether you’re a pastor with advanced degrees and access to training of all types, or you, find yourself in a remote corner of the world with few resources and no training opportunities.
So what does TNT look like?
Built On Partnership
Because God designed the work of ministry to be done in partnership, we work with partners who share our convictions and vision. And we move forward together at the speed of relationship and trust. We rely on our partners to select a small group of pastors who are not only eager to grow in preaching God’s Word but also have the character, capacity, and influence to pass the training on to others, according to the model of 2
Immersion In the Word
The Bible is our primary source, so every time we meet with a small group, we work through a different book of the Bible representing a different genre of literature in Scripture. We not only look for the book’s central message that holds all of the smaller parts together, but we focus on discovering the transformational intent – the change God is seeking through the message of Scripture.
We want to listen to God’s Word so that we might be transformed in our own hearts and bring that transformation to others. Considering the transformational intent challenges the framework of our thinking and the prevailing frameworks of the culture around us.
In every workshop, we learn and practice ten fundamental principles that help us . . .
- better read and understand God’s Word
- be transformed by God’s Word
- grow in confidence and skill at proclaiming God’s Word
- shepherd others with the transformation God is seeking
The key to transferability is simplicity, so the principles are designed to be simple yet profound. That allows pastors to share the principles and training with other pastors and leaders and with the people in their churches.
What’s learned is more important than what is taught, so our workshops are highly interactive. We seek to take a conversational approach since we know that the most fruit comes not through listening to one-way information but through engaging questions and self-discovery. We employ different learning methods, such as modeling, hands-on exploration of a passage of Scripture, and practice and feedback among participants.
A Highly Relational Context
Our workshops take place in the context of deep, lasting relationships. Meeting with the same small group over several years allows friendships to be formed, trust to grow, and defenses to come down. It creates fertile soil for the Spirit’s transformation work through God’s Word.
Finding the riches of God’s Word together as a group is a thrilling experience, and it forges pastors and makes them want to share it with others. Ultimately, our training allows us to come alongside you, helping you learn how to be in the Word and equipping you to do the same thing with others.
Development Over Time
Transformation takes time, like a slow soaking rain – an organic process that happens over the long term. That’s why we make a multi-year investment in pastors, meeting twice a year over four years. We’re not seeking short-term superficial change; instead, pastors experience a profound, lasting change in their hearts, ministries, view of God, His Word, His people, and their future.
A Counterintuitive Approach
In some ways, our training is very different. We use principles that are simple yet profound. In our workshops, we don’t think bigger is better. We focus on a few to get to the many. We go slower to go farther and go deeper to go wider. We allow for failure to facilitate learning.
Though our approach is uncommon today, it’s not new. It’s how Jesus worked with His disciples – how Paul mentored Timothy. It draws from a biblical model that contains great wisdom, and we see God use it to bring forth much fruit.
Advanced Training for Global Impact
Pastors in the TNT have seen God produce excellent fruit in their lives and ministries. Some go on to our Mentor Training, in which we develop leaders who will continue to advance the movement of God’s Word in their nation and region.
In this stage, there is a shift from training to mentoring. We come alongside as a coach as the participants lead a new group of pastors through TNT.
The approach isn’t just to develop leaders individually. Instead, we focus on developing a team of leaders who will own the vision and carry it forward together. We also help connect these teams as a community so they can strategize, encourage each other, and partner together to carry forward this scalable ministry strategy and nourish the movement of God’s Word worldwide.
Partnering with Hope for the Balkans to Launch Movement of the Word in Bulgaria
Hope for the Balkans is part of the Movement of the Word. Movement of the Word is all about the power of God’s Word. God tells us through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah Ch. 55 that His Word will go out, and it will not return void. It’s going to accomplish the things for which He set it out and purposed it.
In the Scripture, we see that in the very beginning, God created the universe through His Word. In the fullness of time, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, and he was identified as the Word made flesh. Jesus came, and He paid for our redemption. He ascended to the right hand of God the Father. God poured out His Spirit on the Church, and the gospel began to go to the nations. In the Book of Acts, we read these summary statements like the “Word of God was increasing and multiplying.”
The Word of God is, was, and is on the move. We have picked up on that as a ministry that the Word of God is moving. So, our mission is to see the Word of God moving through every Church to every city.
Now the challenge with that is that many pastors around the world do not have confidence in preaching God’s Word. Sometimes, they try to muddle it through as best they can; occasionally, they just sort of spring off a verse; sometimes, they preach error in the prosperity gospel, but many don’t have confidence in God’s Word. So, what we do as a ministry is we go to them.
We illustrate pastors’ needs using the Groundhog Day movie illustration.
A Groundhog Day Tragedy
Each restless Saturday night would turn into an anxious Sunday morning for this Bulgarian pastor because he had nothing to say. Words would flow, but empty, powerless ones. Pastor Ivan (a fiction name) used to cobble his “instant sermons” together in a few minutes: “I would just read the text twice, see the title of the passage, and that’s it.” His honest wife told him, “Before TNT (Hope for the Balkans’ pastor training program), you could preach for 30 minutes or an hour, and the congregation still didn’t understand anything.” Ugh. Pastor Ivan’s nightmare became the congregation’s sorrow. This Groundhog Day tragedy – a pastor struggling, and often failing, to faithfully teach and preach God’s Word – repeats itself over 1,000 times every Sunday morning in Bulgaria.
Why Should You Care?
What if it was your pastor? What if he only had two sermons that he preached over and over? Or grabbed a sermon off the radio, TV, or internet the night before? Or read a verse or two and then leaped off into his own thoughts and opinions?
God changes this world through His Word. God’s Word transforms God’s people: God’s people then transform communities and nations. But who communicates God’s Word to God’s People? The Pastor. Pastors are the vital link between God’s Word and God’s people. If we understand that Pastors are the crucial link between God’s Word and God’s people, then equipping and empowering pastors to teach God’s Word becomes an urgent priority for the global Church.
Our Passion and Our Process
That’s why we exist – to equip and encourage pastors in Bulgaria to teach God’s Word with God’s heart. We pursue a leveraging strategy that we call TNT (Training National Trainers.) We equip not just pastors but pastor-trainers committed to training other pastors and leaders in their region.
Our training process is highly biblical. We focus on one Bible book in each of the eight training sessions. Starting with the Book of Jonah, we go through 2 Timothy, Genesis, Mark, 1&2 Samuel, Habakkuk, Psalms, and Ephesians. The training is intensely hands-on, learning by digging and discussing the different hermeneutical principles that guarantee that we faithfully discover and communicate the Word of God. TNT is highly relational, training groups limited to 20 pastors. It is practical; each session features practice preaching with feedback from the participants.
By God’s grace, we completed the first TNT training eight sessions cycle in March 2022. In the process, we equipped about 20 national pastor-trainers, including Pastor Ivan. They know the language and the culture, and now they know the Bible! These pastor-trainers live strategically on the border with Turkey, on the battlefield with Islam.
Our Twin Goals
TNT has transformed Pastor Ivan’s life and ministry… and his wife agrees! Once, he went to her and wanted to see, you know, “Is my preaching improving?” So he asked his wife, ‘Honey, is my preaching getting better?’, and she said, ‘I don’t know about your preaching. You’d have to ask somebody else about that, but you are a changed man.’
“My wife noticed much improvement in me since I started TNT training.”, pastor Ivan shares. His church members agree as well. Pastor Ivan says, “Every time I preach, I explain the text to the congregation. I show the structure and discuss the aim of the text. The church members who listen to me tell me, ‘Ah, this is how you find the truth in the Bible! When we listen to other preachers, we are just hearing personal stories rather than what is found in the text.'”
God transformed Ivan, and that’s what we love to see: He transforms preachers and pulpits, and that transformation by the spirit is continued through God’s people.
So, we’re seeing God transforming people. We also see multiplication because the pastors we train – we are training them in a methodology they can use to teach others. TNT is 2 Timothy 2:2 program: What you’ve heard from me in the presence of these witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Pastor Ivan was part of the problem, but now he is part of the solution as he equips others to study, teach and preach God’s Word faithfully. “I’ve used my TNT training to raise an assistant pastor. Georgi has great enthusiasm. He greatly desires to learn the Bible through theological school, but he already has a family and would need a high school diploma, which he doesn’t have. On top of that, he would struggle with the finances.” Like most other pastors in Bulgaria, there’s no way for Georgi to go to Bible school, so we brought the Bible school to him through Pastor Ivan.
One of our partners loves to call Hope for the Balkans “the mobile seminary.” There’s a statistic out there that there are nearly 3 million pastors who believe in God’s Word, yet more than 85% of them have received little or no formal biblical theological training. We go to them and disciple them because most of them will never be able to go to seminary or have that opportunity. We spent time with them for over four years, grounding them in the basic principles of biblical interpretation, and God is doing amazing things. In this movement of God’s Word, we are seeing the Word of God increasing and multiplying.
Let’s Partner Together
We long to see the Word of God flow mightily through every Church in Bulgaria, but we can’t do it alone. We treasure our partners who share this burden. We are thankful for all our friends who have come on board and supported our ministry. Thank you, friends! However, we appeal to those who are still thinking and evaluating. Please, don’t hesitate but take Hope for the Balkans jersey and join our sending team!