Dear ITEM Friends and Family,
I am currently sitting in the Accra, Ghana airport. It’s a very nice one. VERY NICE! It is 5:30pm here. I’ll check in at 6 for an 8:40pm flight. Three hours difference at my Nairobi destination. Almost a 6-hour flight. I am scheduled to arrive in Nairobi at 5:30am, Nairobi time. The good thing is that Sunday is a rest day. Don’t travel again until an early evening flight from Nairobi.
As I briefly mentioned yesterday, Friday was packed from 9:30am to 8:30pm. I’ll give a brief overview then move on to some revealing observation.
FRANTIC, FANTASTIC FRIDAY
Bill started the morning with New Testament Themes part 2. I followed that with the lecture on The History and Theology of the Health and Wealth Gospel. Bill followed with a survey of 1 Timothy, the first of Paul’s letters to a pastor. Then the final lecture was mine; Titus and 2 Timothy. The study of 2 Timothy is a passionate challenge to willingly suffer hardship for the gospel, suffer as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, fight the good fight, finish your course, keep the faith, and preach the word, being ready in season and out. I get pretty fired up and look them in the eye and exhort them passionately.
The response was noticeably positive. They know that if they stand for truth, there will be a price to pay in their culture. The culture is mostly into singing, dancing, and being entertained by their pastors.
We promised that we would be back sooner or later. Bill is praying about coming back himself. Pray for God’s guidance in this case.
After the lectures, certificates were handed out; 135 or more. We had 165 the last day. Normally only those who attend at least two days get certificates. I honestly don’t know how many they handed out.
Then an endless number of pictures with one person or a group of people. This was followed with a 30 minutes debrief meeting with the newly formed team and dinner at one of the team members hot, unventilated home. We got back to our room at 8:30pm.
- There were many women at this “pastors’ seminar.” When I asked the coordinator about it he said, “We let anyone come who registered.” We were told that a lot of the church members from the hosting church came. That is why there we so many women as this “pastors’ seminar.”
- When asked about having women on the leadership team, the coordinator referred to them as “prophetesses.” I had to remind him, there are no prophets or prophetesses today. We covered this two or three times during the week.
What this shows is that the coordinator still does not fully understand ITEM’s mission. Nor does he understand the theology we apply towards the gender of pastors and that apostles and prophets were the “foundation” of the church that was laid in the first century (Eph 2:20).
The obvious message to us is that more Bible study needs to happen with this developing team. Someone needs to connect to them and keep teaching them Bible and doctrine before we can turn them loose to do official seminars on their own. But the team seems eager to learn. Now God needs to raise up someone to teach them.
I agreed to a budget for 100. I assumed it would be 100 pastors. The attendance went up each day. They allowed 135 to register the first day. It was up to 150 the second day. 160 on day three. And 165 on the last day. They asked for permission to take an offering to help pay extra costs, which they did the last three days. They were still far short of paying for all of the food (lunch each day). I told the coordinator I would only have the money we agreed to. I gave him that and $20-30 more. He ended up far short and said he had to pay the rest out of his own pocket. I told him I was sorry and that I was out of money. I felt bad but it was a lesson I felt he needed to learn.
AN EAGER YOUNG MAN!
I mentioned the young man who had posted regarding a prophetic conference on his Facbook page. He came into my room two nights ago with a boatload of question on the Holy Spirit, visions, prophesying, etc. He was eager to learn. Today he told me that he wanted to do his own seminar in September. I told him we had to approve him before he could represent ITEM. He said he was planning on studying all of our notes and he said he would be asking me a lot of questions on email. He really seems eager to learn. He has been a real encouragement
More from Nairobi. Thanks for praying!
By His grace,