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Who Pastors the Pastor?

In December, 2023 Canvas Community Church is sending Pastor Matt and Lori to Asia for two weeks to care for the souls of International Pastors. While Matt and Lori will cover their own expenses, we want to raise enough money to scholarship 25 pastor/mentors from the Philippians, India, Nepal and Afghanistan.


In 2007 I, Matt Lewis, launched a unique pastoral renewal program in the Philippines called
Heart of the Leader (HotL) patterned after Ashland Theological Seminary’s Pastors of Excellence
(PoE) program. In 2017 I left PoE and the seminary to fully established HotL in the Philippines
and expand it to Nepal, India and Kenya/Uganda.

By 2020, the program was fully indigenized. Ethel Tauli and her husband Alvan assumed
directorship. Today they have multiple international mentors who volunteer their time (and pay
their own way) to guide pastors through these transformational retreats.


Heart of the Leader brings pastors from all over the world into a series of mentored retreats.
The Spirit beckons them to set aside ministry and focus on their personal relationship with
Jesus. In 20 years of working with pastors, I have learned that many are deeply wounded and
depleted; they serve from a well that has run dry. But when we bring pastors into a mentored
safe community of fellow leaders to process their stuff, the Holy Spirit does more to refresh and
renew them than 100 conferences or vacations could.


The mentors in this program care for the souls of pastors. But who cares for the mentor’s soul?
In December of 2023 I will return to Asia to conduct a retreat for Ethel’s long-time mentors; I
want to offer a renewal experience like what they offer to pastors – a place to set aside ministry
and allow Jesus to refresh them. I am looking to raise $9,000 to scholarship 25 mentors from the
Philippines, India, Pakistan, and Nepal.

Why  do this?

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Caroline, Long-time UK missionary in Zimbabwe:
“I want to start by saying that my connection with HotL has had the most profound and lasting impact on my life bringing the most unexpected blessing and change that I had not even hoped or asked for. I want to shout from the rooftops about what my learning from HotL has done and want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I have been helped in my journey of healing by Liz Honeyford who has given me unstinting support and care. I have been able to understand how to look at my damaged childhood and start to work with Jesus on repair, healing and restoration. I long to be able to help others do the same as it has already been so transformational in my life. Thank you.
Jessica, Nepali Coordinator for globalLead Nepal:
Joining HotL was the best decision I have ever made. I have learned so many things for which I will be forever grateful. I felt peace. I felt appreciated, loved and cared for by the Lord and by the people at HotL.
Stephen, Director of the Brethren in Christ in West India:
I'm writing this note to express my gratitude for the wonderful privilege I had to be a part of the Heart of the Leaders Conference. When I received the invitation, I was so happy but I was still under the impression that this conference would be like any other leader’s conference, teaching
us what to do, what not to do, how to achieve, how not to fail, how to be ambitious etc. Little did I know that it would be a life changing journey.

In all of the works, ministry and personal responsibilities, I had almost forgotten to take a quiet time, to take care of my soul, speak to Jesus. I had an amazing team and the BEST mentor. Every single session spoke to me personally, it almost felt like the whole curriculum is written for me
but when I saw other people in the same brokenness, challenges, I could sense that everyone of us need soul caring.

I have been to many leaders meeting & conferences but I hardly ever felt the genuineness & brokenness among the leaders. I could sense that everyone was connected with each other in a deeper level. Feet washing ceremony was one of the cherished memories of my time there.
Doug, Long-time missionary among the Muslem Yawo in Malawi:
Thank you all for everything you did to help our retreat to go well!
Personally, I think it was the most impact-full retreat ever for me as
I'm more keen to tap into my emotions and I've been sensing the strong
lingering nearness of the Lord's presence and peace ever since.
God Bless and thank you so much for the ministry of PoE. It has revolutionized my thinking about my relationship with the Lord and subsequently my approach to ministry. That approach
is now trickling down to my staff and leadership and bearing much fruit. I am becoming a Mary, as opposed to Martha, type pastor and my church is becoming a Mary church. We are learning “the better thing” and PoE played a large part in that. Thanks again.
As a result of my PoE experience, I have sustained real and deep transformation that continues to spill over into all areas of my life. I am currently immersed in personal revival that is flowing into the major areas of my devotional life, ministry drive and visionary leadership. Before
entering the PoE experience 2.5 years ago, I was on my way to taking another dip into an ocean that was determined to drown me and end any effectiveness in ministry.

Today, I am riding waves of joy in my personal time with God and anticipation of each encounter with God in fasting prayer. I find myself limiting ministry activities to ensure that I can be in full engagement with God. I am experiencing power over painful discoveries, skills enhanced or
relearned, spiritual disciplines renewed, and sustained significant weight loss along with restoration of general personal health.