Dear Beloved Friends and Family,
Now that we have completed this one day of planning with our team in Tanzania, it’s time to head home. It was a full day of reviewing our goals, priorities, strategies, seminars, and lectures that they have now been “sent” to conduct.
We started around 10 and finished at 3. It was a good day and I felt a slight twinge of emotion when we were finishing up.
We started the day with each one bringing me up to date on their lives and ministry. Then we transitioned into a time of refocusing on the task that lies ahead.
TRANSFORMED CHURCHES NOT JUST TRAINED PASTORS
I explained our goals as a three-dimensional picture. “Most,” I explained, “put the pastor in the picture foreground and his church in the background.” Problem is, a “trained pastors” doesn’t often end up in a transformed church. Pastors gain knowledge, get a good lunch for 3 or 4 days, take home nearly 80 pages of detailed notes and a certificate to put on their wall but, for the most part, do not change anything they are doing in their ministries. So, the church remains the same “inch deep spiritually,” it has been.
So, we switch the focus. We put the church in the foreground and the pastor in the background. We still “train pastors” but then our desire is to help them apply in their church what they have learned at ITEM’s seminars. I told them that if ITEM was a business, producing a product, out product is not a trained pastor. Our product is a transformed church under the leadership of a trained pastor who is applying what he’s been taught. The key, of course, is the mentoring we offer following our seminars.
LECTURE DELIVERY PREP
The rest of the day was reviewing the lectures they will soon be giving to groups of pastors in Tanzania. The seminar is comprised of 16 lectures covering the doctrine of the Bible (revelation, inspiration, illumination, its sufficiency, its authority), a philosophy of ministry, pastor’s call and role, the doctrine of the church, surveys of the Old and New Testament, and more.
Each of the lectures have key moments where we have an opportunity to expose a wrong teaching that plagues the church. I have created a document for lecturers called “The Message BEHIND the Message.”
HARD TO SAY “GOOD BYE”
As we were closing, I personally felt a slight twinge of emotion. Because of the number of countries we are trying to serve in, I cannot get to each country as often as I’d like. I will probably not be back here (probably) until early 2020. It was not easy to say goodbye.
Now that they have completed their preparation, it is time for them to start implementing what we’ve prepared them to do.
PRAY with us that in the next few years we will see churches transformed from their current traditional style to a church with a truly biblical style. Our goal is to see these biblical churches with pastors preaching and teaching through Scripture (exposition) in each region of the country and becoming examples/models/and centers of training other pastors to do the same.
HEADING HOME TO MY BELOVED WIFE, BRENDA
I leave Tanzania tomorrow at noon on my way to Kenya, then the Netherlands, then to my home (Portland). If all goes well, I’ll touch down in Portland Wednesday morning just before 11:30am.
I pray that you are encouraged by what has transpired in South Africa, Madagascar, and Tanzania. I am!
PRAISE AND PRAYER
Praise for good health throughout this trip.
Praise for the “readiness” of the ministry in Tanzania to take the next step.
Pray that the team will do well as they begin to plan their own seminars and continue to move forward
Pray that they will be led to pastors who are serious about developing healthy, biblical churches and preaching expository sermons so we can use them as examples.
Pray for safe travel and on-time flights for me as I make my way home.
Pray for ITEM Associate, Henry Johnson (PA). He’s been instrumental in preparing the Tanzania team. He was in a motorcycle accident in the past day or two and is restricted from sitting in front of a computer terminal or some other screen. No details regarding the injuries.
May God bless each one of you. Thank you for caring enough to “come along” on the trip and doe praying.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”(Eph 3:20-21)
By His grace,