Fifi and I did something similar last night—and actually, Ben and Emma Pfahlert are amongst our closest friends in the world; godparents to Matilda and people to whom I would trust my life. And there were 98 others—some friends, some yet to be friends—at this dinner which was set up to support the Ministry Training Strategy, of which Ben Pfahlert is now the National Director.
You can get the lowdown on this extraordinary network, started by Colin Marshall and Phillip Jensen, here.
In human terms it is one of the most amazing opportunities for raising up the next generation of gospel workers that I've seen. At the heart of it is the idea of the two-year, full-time apprenticeship in ministry, undertaken before progressing on to theological study. It is Reformed and conservative evangelical in its stance (or as I prefer to call it, genuinely evangelical) and thoughtfully pragmatic in its outlook. I did it back in 1983-1984 under Phillip and Colin, before heading off to train at Moore college in 1985-1988. We went to Melbourne and trained, among other people, Ben and Emma Pfahlert. They helped establish the strategy in Melbourne and Victoria, and Ben is now charged with continuing to spearhead its growth (under God in Australia and at last count nearly a dozen other countries.
This bible verse captures what is going on:
2 Timothy 2:2 ... and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
It's about passing on the gospel.