By Rory Clark, Global Ministries Director
Have you ever attended an investment seminar? I have. High end hotel, motivational speaker, promises of rapid wealth, high pressure tactics. Of course, not all investments are scams. Had you lived in, say, first century Ephesus, you could have gotten some excellent investment advice from a certain Paul (a highly qualified expert in “stocks and bonds”). Thankfully, his “investment strategy” has been preserved for us in his second letter to Timothy (2:2):
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
Here the Apostle Paul mentions several generations of “investors”: himself, Timothy, reliable people and others. Timothy received something from Paul, which he was to entrust to reliable people, who would then be qualified to teach others. And on and on.If we follow the chain of “reliable people” and “others” down through history, we eventually begin to see the faces of people we know, those who have invested in us. Hopefully others see our faces as well.But there’s another category of “reliable people” and “others”: those we can come alongside through the ministry of BLF, most of whom we’ll never know. These people often speak several languages in addition to French. Taken together, I once figured out that we potentially have “investment opportunities” in at least 1200 languages. Talk about “diversifying” one’s portfolio!
Meet Alain and Ghislain
One of BLF USA’s long-term partners is French evangelist (and BLF Éditions board president) Alain Stamp. Every year Alain travels the Francophone world, participating in special forums for evangelists, encouraging and equipping them to mentor others.
In 2015, I accompanied Alain to an “investment seminar” in Togo. It was powerful. There I met Ghislain, a younger leader from neighboring Benin. Ghislain had attended an earlier forum, so I interviewed him to try to discern the impact of these events and the BLF books participants receive.
“It [the earlier Francophone Evangelists’ forum] was a great moment for my life and my ministry because it is at that great meeting that I discovered the purpose of God for my calling,” Ghislain explained. “From that day I started to get involved in the ministry of church planting and youth mentoring. The key point is the day I started reading Multiplier les leaders (Multiplying leaders by Mar- tin Sanders and Alain Stamp). We started studying this book with Papa Alain and inside the book I discovered so many, many, many things that have already radically changed my life and my ministry.”
Notice that what Ghislain received from Alain first-hand (and second-hand through Martin Sanders and the book on multiplying leaders) was intentionally reinvested in others as he began to plant a church and mentor young people.
We could easily give many other examples of multiplication and yield from Alain’s ministry. It’s one reason we’re thankful for our ongoing partnership with him. Of course, Alain is sim- ply being obedient and faithful. We all have our role to play. But ultimately Someone else’s role is even more important. As our first-century investment guru reminds us,
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)