As a result of my time at ATA (Asian Theological Academy) I now have new goals having started to understand about issues such as the need for women’s leadership in the church.
In Pakistan, we largely ignore women in terms of leadership and fellowship, but ATA gave me a vision that women can also work for Christ.
This is why I asked my bishop to allow Annam to go to seminary. I am so happy that he agreed. And now Annam is the first woman ever from Sialkot Diocese to attend the seminary. She begins in April 2017 and will train for three years.
This is thanks to ATA, which changed my mind about women’s ministry, and I help to change the mind of my bishop.
ATA also gave me fresh understanding about leadership.
I used to think that the pastor was always the leader, and no-one else should be allowed – but ATA has changed my mind.
I now see that leaders are there to make other leaders, who in turn make other leaders. It is a process of multiplication.
So after the ATA training, when I returned to my church, I created a group for young people. There is bible study and fellowship, with ten girls and 15 boys, some of them very young. They pray together and have fun also, with sports and fellowship. They will each have a chance to lead and to learn how to be an effective leader.
We have also created a fellowship group for women. They meet in my home, as many as 40 women! My wife preaches and leads, and sometimes she lets me preach also.
This is all thanks to ATA.
Those of us in Pakistan who took part in the training are going to keep meeting so we can share ideas and keep the teaching fresh in our minds so we can make more groups and support both women and new leaders.
Revd Haroon Ajmal of Sialkot Diocese, Church of Pakistan – writing for USPG which supports the Asian Theological Academy