The International Pastor Experience

The International Pastor Experience by David Packer (who edited the book) is a practical collection of perspectives that show the potential and reveal some of the challenges of leading a multicultural or military church overseas. The book contains articles from different pastors from international English-speaking churches, primarily from the International Baptist Convention.

Chapters in the book include the following titles:

  • “The Future of International Churches” by Jimmy Martin, General Secretary of the International Baptist Convention and past Senior Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
  • “A Third Culture Kid Experience as Pastor of an International Church” by David Fresch, Senior Pastor of North Sea Baptist Church in Stavanger, Norway.
  • “Transitioning from an American Military Church to an International Congregation” by Larry Jones, Executive Secretary of the International Baptist Church Ministries and past Senior Pastor of the International Baptist Church in Stuttgart, Germany.
  • “Responding to the Call to Serve an International Church Overseas” by Harry Lucenay, Pastor of Kowloon International Baptist Church in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong.
  • “Planting Churches in the Shadow of Cathedrals – International Church Planting in Europe” by Bob Marsh, Pastor/Church Planter of Converge International Fellowship in Darmstadt, Germany.
  • “Transitioning from Missionary to International Pastor” by David Packer, Senior Pastor of International Baptist Church in Stuttgart, Germany.
  • “Global Nomads: Expats on Mission in a New Urban World” by Jacob Bloemberg, Lead Pastor of Hanoi International Fellowship in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • “Multicultural Churches in Global Cities” by Michael Crane, Professor of Urban Missiology at Malaysian Baptist Seminary in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.

I enjoyed reviewing this book. I have had an interest in international mission work since college. I went on mission trips to Mexico, Germany, and France. I met my wife on a mission trip to Germany. I lived with her in Germany for five years, four of them as the pastor and wife team at the International Baptist Church in Bremen, Germany. At present, I serve on the Board of Directors of the International Baptist Church Ministries, where we help churches in the International Baptist Convention.

Many of the articles were written by Americans. Still, other authors from various countries contributed to this work. Two articles were written by non-Americans. The book contains a Works Cited section with resources for the international pastor. There is also a section entitled “Responses to International Church Pastors to Ten Survey Questions.” Various pastors of English-speaking international churches answered a set of questions. These questions and their answers give insight into the joys and struggles of pastoring an international church.

From personal experience I can say that this book is a must-read for people who are interested in leading English-speaking churches in international cities. This niche missionary work may not be for everyone. However, I do believe being a pastor of an international church has the most potential to reach the maximum amount of people who can reach others for Jesus Christ. The basis for this is Acts 2:5. For those who are interested, this book will shed light on how to pastor an international church.

For people who are interested in the work of English-speaking international churches, they can contact the International Baptist Convention. For people who want to support the work of this unique convention, they can contact the International Baptist Church Ministries. For others who sense a desire to plant an international English-speaking church outside of the United States, they can contact Catalyst, the church planting arm of the International Baptist Convention.

Jim Erwin

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