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The Apostle Paul, in the letter to his disciple Timothy, urged him to strive in the learning and teaching of God's Word with boldness:

"Command and teach these things. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."
1 Timothy 4:11-16 NIVUK

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Glenn Penner ministering in Sudan during 2003.

Paul himself sought to live out this calling by modelling it through his life and practise for those God appointed him to shepherd. As Jesus commanded His followers to go and carry out the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment, so Paul desired to raise mature disciples of his Saviour and Lord.

Today, The Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) believes strongly in the equipping of Christians who will carry out the work of the church in environments of hostility to the message of Jesus' Gospel.

As Ron Boyd-MacMillan points out in his book, Faith that Endures:

"Clearly, the best and deepest way to combat persecution is to make mature disciples of Christ. This is the work of the church, and it is struggling in its most basic task! Our job then is to help with this perennial priority."

shadow crossLikewise, Glenn Penner makes a strong statement on discipleship in his book, In the Shadow of the Cross:

"The Bible (especially the New Testament) was written by persecuted believers to persecuted believers. This context cannot be ignored without it having profoundly negative implications for how we read and apply the Bible, and how we follow Christ individually and corporately. A cross-centred message requires cross-bearing messengers."

The Biblical link between discipleship and persecution is evident. In recognizing this, VOMC seeks to fellowship with persecuted Christians by offering strategic and practical care – equipping them to stand strong in adversity and advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a hostile world.


Glenn Penner recognized a great need for leaders within the church to be well trained Biblically and theologically, particularly in nations where believers are persecuted for their faith. Spiritually mature leaders would, in turn, mentor and train fellow Christians to be "salt" and "light" in their communities. As those mentored grow in their faith, they are further encouraged and equipped to go and make new disciples of Jesus Christ.

Glenn also understood that many of these potential Christian leaders rarely had access to higher levels of education because the funds required to pay for such education was beyond their capacity to attain. The challenge Glenn encountered was to address the need while ensuring that a negative dependency would not be created among those VOMC assisted. Dependency must first and foremost be on God, the ultimate Giver and Sustainer of all things, not VOMC. All ministry work with persecuted Christians needs to reflect this core value.

In answer to this challenge, VOMC has created the Glenn Penner Scholarship Award (GPSA) which is designed to help emerging Christian leaders from hostile or restrictive nations to pursue, with excellence, their Biblical and professional training. In collaboration with established Christian educational institutes, this scholarship aims to enable selected graduate candidates from regions where Christians who are persecuted or face religious restrictions can unleash their gifts and make effective use of them in their service for the Kingdom of God.

A crucial factor in the selection of a GPSA candidate is their willingness to return to their region (should their educational training take them out of their country) and utilize their skills and gifts in the body of Christ within their region of origin.


The GPSA expenses will be allocated from VOMC's Equipping the Saints fund.

The cry from many church leaders in hostile or restrictive nations is that we help bring solid Biblical training to young emerging believers or those who are new to the faith. VOMC seeks for opportunities to accomplish this in most of the countries we serve through our ministry work. Sometimes this training is accomplished under the cover of darkness in obscure locations while, in other circumstances, trainees are brought to a nearby country where such training can be accomplished safely.

In every circumstance, Christians have been inspired to serve the Lord with a greater boldness and passion in their own nations, seeking to shape their spheres of influence with a deeper understanding of the truth revealed in God's Word. They are willing to pay the price and, as a result, the Kingdom of God advances.

The Equipping the Saints fund (ETS) helps meet the strategic educational needs of Christians living in hostile or restrictive nations. In consultation with local ministry partners, ETS makes it possible for qualified teachers and trainers to facilitate greatly needed hands-on training and in-depth teaching. Supplied with Biblical resources and other Christian materials, persecuted believers are equipped to carry out the ministry of the church, namely the work of evangelism and discipleship, despite opposition.

"And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."
Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV


Glenn Penner in 2008


VOMC is not a rescue mission in the sense that Christians are liberated from nations where they are persecuted and brought to the relative safety of the West. VOMC believes that the best hope for those living in hostile or restrictive nations is Jesus Christ, as revealed in God's Word and proclaimed by His faithful church.

The goal of VOMC is to provide the tools persecuted Christians yearn for to accomplish the work of the church in restrictive nations. Such initiatives are an act of love and bathed in prayer, for as surely as these tools are used, persecution will increase. The price is high, but many unwavering Christians are willing to pay that price to go and make disciples.

The GPSA is one of the tools VOMC can provide to Christians living amidst persecution. May the Lord be honoured and His church strengthened though this scholarship award program.