Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Let me make a brief introduction. My name is Dean Bertsch. I’ve been married to my wife Kathy for 29 years. God has given us three children: Glenn (23), Joshua (21), and Amanda (14)
We live in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, a small town outside of Harrisburg, the state’s capital. For the past four years, I have served on the pastoral staff at Oakwood Baptist Church in Camp Hill.
In February 2015, I joined the staff of Reaching & Teaching International Ministries, an organization geared toward theological training of pastors and church leaders across the globe. This booklet casts the vision of Reaching & Teaching and shows how you can be a part of the Lord’s leading in our lives.
Thank you so much for reading!
Warmly in Christ,
The Vast Need for Pastoral Training
How much biblical training does the average pastor global pastor receive?
- For every 450,000 people outside the U.S., there is only one trained Christian leader
- It is estimated 85% of the world’s 2 million evangelical churches are being pastored by men with little or no Bible training. In one place, a man said he preaches whatever he dreamed about the previous night
- Even if every training institute in the world operated at 120% capacity, less than 10% of the unequipped leaders would be trained!
Following a week of training, I heard one pastor say, “When I return to my church, I must apologize to my people. I discovered I have not been teaching them what the Bible says. I’ve been teaching them my ideas of what the Bible says.”
- More than 70 percent of the world’s population are oral learners – people who cannot or will not read.
- An even greater percentage of the people who have never heard the gospel are preliterate. They cannot read or write.
The global need for trained Christian leaders is great. Many of these pastors and leaders in lesser served parts of the world are not capable of attending a formal theological institution, even if it were available to them.
Yet, Jesus’ parting message to his disciples – his final commission to his church – is to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that he has commanded (Matt 28:19-20). One primary way that the church is built is by the training of faithful men – pastors who are in turn able to teach sound doctrine in the church and raise up others to do the same (2 Tim 2:2). As God’s Word is taught accurately and powerfully, God’s people increasingly glorify him and are equipped for effective ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Meeting the Training Need
Reaching & Teaching International Ministries exists to reach the peoples of the world through evangelism and by meeting the great need for deep discipleship, pastoral preparation, leadership training, and theological education around the world.
Reaching & Teaching International Ministries was founded by Dr. David Sills, missions professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Dr. Sills had previously served as a missionary among the Highland Quichua people in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador.
Born out of the deep need for discipleship and ministry training that Dr. Sills has observed in countries all around the world, Reaching & Teaching accomplishes its mission by:
- sending career missionaries
- facilitating short-term trips to train national pastors
- mobilizing local churches
The core of Reaching & Teaching’s missions agenda is the establishing of pastoral training centers across the world. Thus far, Reaching & Teaching has helped launch training centers in Ecuador, Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Peru, and Brazil, with more soon to be launched in Latin America and Africa. Pastors are offered quality theological and leadership training at no cost to them.
These week-long training modules occur at each site three times a year for three years – a program comprised of nine modules. During the modules, Reaching & Teaching trains pastors in a variety of essential biblical and theological topics. Most of those who attend have had little or no prior theological training, while many do not possess more than a high school education. The opportunity to receive quality biblical instruction is a profound blessing to them!
My Role and Opportunity
My passion for training pastors came as a result of personal experience. During 2014, I had the privilege of traveling to Mongolia, Cameroon, and Brazil to be a part of training teams. These trips opened my eyes to the enormity of the need.
After a week of teaching in Mongolia, one of the pastors said, “When I return to my church, I must apologize to my people. I learned this week that I have not been teaching what the Bible says. I have been teaching my ideas and trying to find Bible verses to support what I wanted to say.”
This is not uncommon. Dr. Sills often shares the story of a man who says he “preaches” whatever he dreams about the previous night.
In November 2014, I was asked to join the staff of Reaching & Teaching, in order to further the work of theological training across the world. The need and urgency are great. I was thrilled for the privilege of being asked to serve and am excited to have the opportunity to be involved with this team.
After seeing first-hand the effectiveness of this pastoral training, I want to invest my life in helping Reaching & Teaching meet the need for such training across the world.
My role with Reaching & Teaching
involves both international training and stateside mobilization. My official title is Director of Teams and Resource Development. This multi-faceted role involves the following:
- leading teams traveling abroad to train pastors
- developing partnerships with individuals and churches
- representing Reaching & Teaching at evangelical conference
- provide pastoral oversight and encouragement to Reaching & Teaching missionaries serving on the field
- promoting the Reaching & Teaching ministry, to help it carry out its mission
I am eager to employ my passion and gifts in the service of the global church, and I pray that Lord will use me for his glory.
Your Partnership Opportunity
Would you prayerfully consider partnering financially in the work of pastoral training with Reaching & Teaching? All Reaching & Teaching missionaries and staff raise support to meet financial needs. Regular financial support provides the fuel that enables the ministry to occur. Together, we can give, pray, and work to help pastors across the globe more faithfully and skillfully proclaim the gospel and shepherd the church. I’m thrilled to help advance the gospel in this way! I hope you’ll join me.
My Commitments to You
In our partnership, I will make the following commitments to you:
- A Commitment to Good Communication – Your role as a partner in this ministry demands that I keep you regularly informed about what the Lord is doing so that you can better pray for and rejoice with us.
- A Commitment to Good Stewardship – Your financial commitment is significant, both for you and for those to whom we are ministering. I promise to steward your resources well and to give myself wholeheartedly to the work of the gospel through Reaching & Teaching.
- A Commitment to YOU – You can count on my commitment to you as a valued partner in the work of the gospel. I am eager to hear from you – your personal prayer requests – so that we can move forward together in the service of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
To partner by mail (make checks payable to “Reaching and Teaching International Ministries):
To partner online:
Go to reachingandteaching.org/give.
Select “Give Online.” Then select “Dean Bertsch” from the drop down menu.