A favorite part of my job with Reaching and Teaching is that I have the opportunity to meet faithful Christians around the world who are ministering in incredibly difficult circumstances. Whether it’s due to physical danger or a lack of resources, these brothers and sisters are joyfully keeping their hand to the gospel plow, regardless of the situation.
One example is Benjamin Munford, a brother in Liberia whose desire is to see theologically-trained leaders raised up across the country. In my most recent trip to Liberia, I was able to sit down and discuss Ben’s passion for training leaders and the need for theological education in Liberia. Take a few minutes to read the interview and pray for the country of Liberia.
Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been a Christian, and how long have you been serving in ministry?
My parents were the late Rev. Louis Z. Munford and the late Mrs. Alice N. Munford. I was fortunate to be raised in a Christian home, which led to my early conversion. I accepted Jesus in 1978 in Sunday School, where I prayed and asked Jesus to be my Savior. I got baptized in 1984 by immersion. I entered into ministry in 1989 after my graduation from the African Bible College University in Liberia. I have been involved in training of pastors and church leaders, pastoring a local church, children’s ministry, puppet ministry, and Mission Station Director.
You are passionate about training leaders in Liberia. What caused you to see this great need?
Training Pastors and Church leaders is my passion. I have seen pastors who aren’t well-educated or well-cared for financially. Because of the lack of financial support from the church, they are not able to attend seminary.
My late father pastored a local church for over forty years. He was not paid for many years. Because of this, they sent most of their kids to other relatives in the city to go to school. Many pastors go through the same and even worse. But my dad did correspondence for his Bible School Education.
Knowing what most of our pastors go through, it is my passion to see them trained, self-employed, and self-sufficient.
Tell us more about the need for theological education in Liberia.
There’s a great need for theological education in Liberia. Since we do not have many theological schools in Liberia, we have lots of pastors who do not have a theological education. They have not been to Bible School or seminary or anything.
What are some of the effects of pastors not having theological training?
There are terrible effects. This results in a lot of false teaching. Pastors will not be able to teach and preach sound doctrine. This leads to not fulfilling the Great Commission because these pastors will not be making the kind of disciples Jesus asked us to make.
I have seen pastors getting up to preach, who read the passage and go ahead and tell a spider story, which has nothing to say about the passage. Lack of theological education is one of the causes of church splits in our country. It also hinders church growth. There are more effects, but space does not permit me to list them all.
What are some of the challenges that pastors face as they desire theological training?
The few theological schools that we have here are very expensive. Most pastors aren’t paid, and they’re struggling financially, so they cannot afford to get into theological seminaries or schools because of the high cost of the fees.
This is our second training module, so how have you seen Reaching and Teaching help meet these needs?
I’m so grateful for Reaching and Teaching International Ministries because they have come to fill in the gap for these pastors who cannot afford to go to seminary or Bible College. Reaching and Teaching is coming in and providing free training, and it’s much like the training I got in seminary. The pastors who have attended these two trainings are incredibly grateful to have such an education free of charge. This is preparing pastors who are not prepared theologically, and we are so thankful to have Reaching and Teaching doing the training here.
(This article was originally published over at the Reaching and Teaching blog.)