Monday, January 21, 2019

Dear ITEM Prayer Partner,

Monday, January 21

Dear ITEM Prayer Partner,

This morning could be described by the simple phrase, “We need to figure things out.” That is what we spent much of the morning doing. I felt bad for Eric, the one in charge of figuring things out, whether it was getting us breakfast or getting us to the venue for the meeting. We first tried Uber (yes, Uber is in Ghana) but there was one major problem.


The guest house where Bill and I are being housed has no restaurant and there are no restaurants within walking distance. So Eric, new ITEM trainer here in Ghana, is in charge of getting us meals and to and from the venue. He was here at 7:45 with breakfast. Then he needed to find transportation. He was in contact with Stephen, ITEM Coord, etc. Time went by. Poor Eric was back and forth. Not sure of all he had to do. Finally he asked me to download the Uber app on my phone. I had it already. He was having trouble getting it to work. Fast forward….he finally got it to work but the error came back “payment method not accepted.” Of course, my account is set up to pay in dollars. They use a different currency.” Back to the drawing board…let’s to it the old way, call a taxi. We did and finally were on our way…..arriving at the venue, not that far from where we are staying, about 10:30.


The newly appointed Ghana Coordinator, Stephen Okan, provided me with a list of 12 names, counting himself, who were to be a part of the team.

Only four from the list showed up and two who were not on the list were there.

All but one is currently serving as a pastor, one is a former now an evangelist. I asked him what evangelists do, and he said he does one on one evangelism. I have pictures of all of them in the album. The evangelist is the older gentleman, Samuel.

An important factor in preparing trainers is their Bible training to this point. Each of them described some “formal” training they have had but most of it sounded more specialized than basic Bible and theology. It that is true, we will need to provide them with further training.


After getting acquainted, I spent the better part of 2 hours going over our core values: a high view of God beginning with His holiness, the complete sufficiency of God’s Word, the pursuit of personal holiness. We also went over our doctrinal distinctives (what we teach). Most on the list are very general and would apply to any evangelical church but we do take a stand on a few other issues that we covered today. We also went thru the questions on the ITEM Lecturer Doctrinal Exam. The answers will come from the seminar this week. So I was preparing them to be listening. They must take the exam before they are qualified to do ITEM lectures. And we covered the ITEM Trainer Agreement that they must sign when they are comfortable with the doctrinal distinctives it mentions.


At the start of our time, I explained our focus and our strategy. In a simple statement, we want God to use us to transform churches, using the pastors we are training to do so. That means we want to provide pastors with a biblical and theological foundation. We want to help them discover what a healthy church “looks” like in the  New Testament. And we want pastors to know how to study the Bible in order to build strong, contextual sermons, and then preach/teach the Bible systematically to their church members. Our strategy involves two seminars and up to two years or mentoring by one of our trainers.


Bill and I presented each member of the team with a MacArthur Study Bible to help them become more familiar with what the Bible teaches. We also presented them with an electronic device: The Mini Bible College. On is the complete audio Bible, audio lessons on the Christian family, Old and New Testament surveys, and studies on the Sermon on the Mount. There is a picture in the album of the men with their gifts.


This is the first time I have met with these men. We are trying to cram a lot into the first week together. They will be attending the seminar as students but also trainees because in time, they will be conducting these seminars. So, please pray that they are not overwhelmed this week. Pray that they come away excited about the possibilities. And pray for Bill and I as we lecture to these men and the others who will be in attendance.

And pray for Eric, who seems to be the one in charge of pulling it all together.

Thanks in advance.

I’ve added a number of new pictures to the album. Click here to see them.

By His grace,


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