A BIG OPPORTUNITY IN NIGERIA

Dear ITEM Partner,

This is Monday July 15. Tomorrow we begin a 2 ½ day conference with up to 90 ECWA pastors. Though I have known ECWA for over 15 years, it’s always been a casual relationship on an organizational level but a very personal relationship on the local level. As I’ve mentioned, most of our ITEM team here in Nigeria are a part of ECWA. I am prayerful that it might become more personal on the organizational level after this week. I don’t know what that would mean, necessarily, but I believe it could open other doors. And I am asking you to pray for the same thing.

THE REAL OPPORTUNITY

But this week is about more than just two organizations getting acquainted. It’s about a chance to have an impact in the lives and ministries of 80-90 pastors.

MAN PLANS THEN GOD DIRECTS (PROV 16:1,9)

This trip to Jos was originally supposed to result in doing an official ITEM Bible/Theology seminar (The Institute in the Foundations of Church Leadership). But in God’s providence, ECWA was having their district meeting the exact same week. So, our team looked into the possibility of me speaking at their meeting. ECWA leadership said YES and I accepted the invitation. It seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up.

WITH NATHAN’S HELP

Since Nigeria and ECWA are Nathan’s home and denomination, I used him as a resource and we chose 11 of ITEM’s 32 lectures (two seminars, 16 lectures in each) that Nathan thought would speak to the needs of these pastors.

There is too much to put into one post. So I will do it day by day.

TUESDAY’S LECTURE LINEUP

Lectures 1-4

  1. Purpose of the Church: Three directions; Upward-Glorify God, Outward-Reach the Lost, Inward-Edify and Purify.

We all need to understand that above all, we were saved and called to glorify (reflect) God in everything. Second, evangelism includes living godly lives so our walk matches our talk. Third, pastors are to equip the saints who then build up one another and that includes helping and encouraging one another to live holy lives, keeping the church pure. Actually, some pastors are afraid to equip members. They are afraid the member will replace them or reduce the congregation’s reliance upon the pastor.

  1. A Philosophy of Ministry:

This  begins with a high view of God. In particular, His holiness. This is the God we are to glorify and having a proper view of His holiness will cause everything else in life to fall into its proper place. Pastors need to know and teach this.

  1. The E-4 (Eph 4) Church:

This lecture describes from Scripture the biblically healthy church. In this church the pastor is equipping the saints who do ministry resulting in unity, maturity, and resistance to false teaching. Pastors must take their role of equipper seriously.

  1. What is the Gospel? (I will use our notes on Romans for the presentation.):

Nathan thought a lecture clearly defining the gospel would be important. There are all kinds of false and half-true gospels floating around and there are people who think they are on their way to heaven who are not. I plan to clarify the gospel: God is holy. Man is sinful and that creates an eternal problem. The wages of sin is death. Jesus died in our place. Now we must respond in faith, giving Jesus His rightful place as Lord in our lives. Raising a hand in response to a preachers invitation means nothing if the heart isn’t right. Pastors are responsible for the souls of those under his shepherding ministry. He needs to clearly articulate “the gospel.”

So this is Tuesday’s list. Come back tomorrow for Wednesday’s.

AS ALWAYS: Q&A

We will end each day with a Q&A time.

Pray for the moving of God’s Spirit!

Pray that these pastors will gain a deeper understanding of their role, and that being called to be a pastor is a great privilege and an even greater responsibility!

And pray that if there are any who are motivated by hopes of “climbing the denominational ladder” that the Holy Spirit will convict them.

Thanks for coming along and for praying.

By the way, health wise, so far so good. “Thank you Lord!”

By His grace,

Steve

P.S. Look at the pictures. Look at my room, the guest house surroundings. Hot showers and AC that works (when the power is on, which is about 2/3 of the time but not overnight….not yet anyway), and a pretty comfortable…..all for $14 a night. They are giving me a discounted rate. I paid about $24 in Abuja but even that was great….they also have wifi there. The team in Nigeria work hard at keeping my expenses down. I so much appreciate that.

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