Few People have moved my heart like Pastor Claude Mondesir, pastor of the Eglise Baptiste Evangelique Eben Ezer in Croix des Bouquet, Haiti. Before I tell you about Pastor Claude, allow me to provide a little background.
At PastorServe, we frequently emphasize the need for pastors to have six foundational relationships – boss, trainer, coach, counselor, mentor and friend. Many pastors are aware of their need for continuing education. Pastors wish they had received training in leadership development, evangelism, missions, discipleship, and a host of other pastoral competencies, but there was never the time nor the money. And yet, continuing education is fundamental to the ongoing life of the church, the soul of the pastor, and the health of the pastoral staff. Without a commitment to continuing education and a trainer, one of the key relationships is missing, which weakens the entire pastoral ecosystem.
The need for a trainer is predicated on the pastor having a teachable heart, which brings me to Pastor Claude. Recently, I traveled to Haiti along with PastorServe regional directors Wade Brown and Wesley Horne. PastorServe has been caring for Haitian pastors since day one of our ministry. Our staff has made more than fifty trips to care for Haitian pastors. During a September trip, over a period of five days, we had the opportunity to personally meet with twelve pastors and ministry leaders.
Pastor Claude has a resume that reads like a Fortune 500 CEO. Over his sixty-five years of life, Claude has been a successful businessman, real estate broker, hotelier, medical administrator, teacher, orphanage director, father to hundreds if not thousands of Haitian orphans and a pastor. The one thing not on Claude’s resume is anything past a sixth grade education. And so, on September 14, 2015, Claude returned to school (in a school which he founded and a building he literally built with his own hands). We met with him the night following his first day of school.
Pastor Claude spoke to us, literally shaking with excitement, “today I began the seventh grade. I got my uniform and today I started school!” It will take Claude ten years to achieve his goal of graduating from high school. He possesses one of the most important, most endearing qualities in a pastor. Claude has a teachable heart. He is a life-long learner. He unashamedly told us that many of the orphan children he cares for are much smarter than he.
I encourage every church to provide continuing education for the pastoral staff. By doing so, the church is doing several things for the church, the pastor and the staff.
- Making a statement that the church believes continuing education is vital to the health of the church pastoral staff.
- Continuing education demonstrates professionalism.
- It will improve pastoral health that directly benefits members of the congregation.
- Continuing education encourages networking. By attending conferences and educational seminars, pastors connect with other pastors who are a part of the professional clergy community. Through their expertise and experience, pastors are shaped and molded to be better leaders.
At PastorServe, we are praying that the Lord would give many pastors the heart of Pastor Claude – the heart of a lifelong learner. Sometime, in 2025, I hope to be in Haiti for Claude’s high school graduation.