We have a passion for training church leaders in the
developing world, and it is our firm belief that this is best
achieved through investing in local institutions. By training
Christian leaders, we can have a positive impact on the church for
generations to come; and in resourcing local theological schools,
we leave a sustainable legacy.
reSource Leadership International exists to foster excellence in theological schools in the developing world - giving them the resources they need to offer the best education - thereby ensuring a high standard of teaching and lay training in the local church.
For several years, reSource has been part of the planning process for a new theological school in the city of Hanoi. In 2013, the Evangelical Church of Vietnam North - ECVN (N) - received approval to launch the Hanoi Bible College (HBC), and the school began operations in time for the start of the fall semester. Of the 25 students in the first class, 13 are Kinh (ethnic Vietnamese) and 12 are from minority groups such as the Hmong. HBC will serve both the established, registered church and the Christian population of Hanoi, preparing pastors to lead the congregations of northern Vietnam, both in the urban centres and in the highland regions of the country.
Some background on Christianity in Vietnam
Christianity was first brought to Vietnam in the 17th century by Roman Catholic missionaries. Protestantism was introduced later, primarily through the efforts of Christian & Missionary Alliance workers. The churches multiplied for several decades, but during the war for independence in the 1960's and 70's the number of churches in the North decreased significantly.
Since reunification in 1975, the relationship between the church and the state has not always been easy. The government offers official recognition to some organizations, allowing freedom to worship but requiring government approval for all operations, including the appointment of church leaders. The two largest officially recognized Protestant churches are the Southern Evangelical Church of Vietnam - ECVN (S) - recognized in 2001, and the smaller Evangelical Church of Vietnam North - ECVN (N) - recognized since 1958.
By some estimates, the growth of Protestant believers in Vietnam has been as much as 600 percent over the past ten years. Some of the new converts belong to unregistered evangelical house churches. With limited opportunity for theological education in the country, pastors and professors both must travel to Bible colleges and seminaries in other countries to gain the training needed to lead the new Christians. HBC will provide an opportunity for theological training to many Christian leaders in northern Vietnam without having to leave the country.
As you know, it was with a deep sense of privilege, honour and surprise that I accepted a call from the Board of reSource to serve as the Interim President of reSource last September. In many ways, sentiments regarding this call to accept the President's role permanently are the same. After serving these past 6 months as the Interim President, naturally I was much more informed regarding this role and RLI in general, and if I were being honest I must say my heart has yearned to remain in the President's role since days after beginning this new season in my life last September. None the less, the feelings of privilege, of being incredibly honoured, and yes, of surprise remain. Additionally, Diana and I are deeply grateful to God that He has enabled us to continue in this role on a volunteer basis.
Though the task and work before us at times seems daunting, I am reminded that this is God's work, that His shoulders are immeasurable, and that in Him we can do all things. The key will be to determine which portion(s) of His Kingdom vineyard He has called us to work in, then to seek and identify the resources He has made available for us to do the work, and then to steward this all to the best of our ability. The investment opportunities for furthering God's Kingdom by advancing the training of Christian leaders through theological education in the majority world are hugely exciting. I can't wait to meet with any and all to share further detail about how one can partner with us in the various aspects of our work, particularly in Vietnam and Cuba, and especially in the development of theological libraries in all corners of the majority world.
It bears repeating that the Board of Directors of reSource and its staff are peopled by amazing individuals, each so different in background, skill set, vocation, or what have you, yet each so fully and passionately dedicated to this work, each other and our God. I'm deeply grateful to have been given this amazing opportunity to join reSource's staff in serving the Board and all other reSource stakeholders in this exciting work.
As we look into the future, please continue to pray for the people, schools and organizations reSource is working with. Please pray also for wisdom and protection for our staff, especially as we travel to many corners of the globe and work in cross cultural settings. And finally, please pray for provision. Without the generous financial support of donors keen to invest in this work, the lights would simply go out. And so please, please contact me if you feel your heart tugging to invest in this work, or if you simply would like to find out more about this work we're engaged in.
The harvest is huge, the workers few, but God is good, and great, and governs all.
Blessed be His name.
Pete DenHaan, President