This is Why We Exist

Launching graduates for God's glory

What a joy to celebrate our third graduation at Shepherds Academy! I don’t believe graduation will ever get old to me. It’s so wonderful to see the joy on our graduates’ faces and in the hearts of their families.

But it is also a time to refocus and be reminded why we exist. From the Scriptures read, the hymns sung, the charge preached, and the symbolic act of foot washing, we are reminded what everything is all about. We exist to glorify God by growing disciples who make disciples.

This summer (actually it’s our winter!) we will be busy remodeling classrooms and revising schedules as we prepare to expand our leadership training efforts to a new level. As always, we see our pastor training efforts, not as an end in itself, but as a catalyst for evangelism and church planting throughout our country, region, and to the ends of the earth.

Josh and Isaac wash the graduates' feet.

Church Planting Teams and Graduation

At the beginning of May, we launched our candidates for graduation on their final project, sending them out on bicycles to trust the Lord for their needs and preach the gospel. Four teams went out. All four reported finding people receptive to the gospel, and we are making plans to follow up and lead these groups toward maturity.

In Mangochi district, our team of two led four people to Christ and baptized them, which is a major step since most of these people are rejecting Islam for Christ.

When the teams returned, we celebrated the Lord’s work in their lives through graduation. We were blessed this year to have the founder of this ministry, Eric Chapman, on hand to charge our graduates from God’s Word. We had 8 students graduate this year, and we pray that the Lord will guide each of them in the days ahead.

Two of these graduates will join three other alumni to continue their studies, Lord willing, in August through our college-level classes in partnership with Spurgeon College.

Distributing Disaster Relief

Over the past week, we’ve been working hard to get food to churches affected by the devastation of Cyclone Freddy. Through your generous giving, we are able to help these believers while they await the maturity of later crops like rice, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Thank you for demonstrating the love of Christ.

Give to Gospel Life at Your VBS

One of the most important aspects of Vacation Bible School is the missions offering. It’s a great way to teach your kids to have a heart for God’s mission in the world. This year, you can also teach your kids the importance of God’s Word by helping us buy Bibles in Malawi.

$10 buys 1 Chichewa Bible. You can use the above video to communicate with your VBS. If you need a downloadable version or anything else, please email me.

The Shepherds Academy Library Taking Shape

As we prepare to teach students on a college level, we’ve begun investing in a small library to help students learn and complete their class projects. We’ve been incredibly blessed by donations from friends at B&H Academic, Zondervan Bibles, Practical Shepherding, and Midwestern Seminary.

As we try to complete our library and fill in the gaps, we’ve created an Amazon wishlist of titles. You can view and share it here.

If you’d like to contribute to our library, you can purchase from our wishlist and titles will be shipped to us in Kentucky and later sent to Malawi. If you’d prefer to purchase titles from another retailer, send me an email to receive the shipping address and so we can remove your purchases from the wishlist.

Picture of Joshua Hutchens

Joshua Hutchens

Joshua Hutchens (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the president of Gospel Life as well as Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Missions at Overland Church in Fort Collins, Colorado. With a heart devoted to spreading the gospel, Joshua, alongside his wife Stacy Leigh and their five children, dedicated six years to serving in Malawi before returning to the United States, where he continues to lead Gospel Life.

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