It is hard to describe the joy and terror I feel as I stand before the fifteen pastors at our Action Bible Institute. The joy is obvious. Here are 15 pastors who minister in one of the most difficult places in all the earth in some of the difficult and painful situations in all the earth. What a privilege to walk alongside these men in their passion and commitment to know the word of God and use this knowledge to lead their churches. The terror is probably even more obvious because you are supposed to have something to say to them. These pastors are on the cutting edge, pastoring, loving people, planting churches, working side jobs to support their families and living by faith, every day. They should be teaching me. I feel a pressure, a good, healthy pressure (and a not so healthy pressure, at times) which forces me to continue to evaluate and re-evaluate what I am doing and how I can best serve these pastors. I am teaching through the book of Ephesians now, and we are making some progress.
My goal is to not only teach them how to study inductively the passage that we are studying, which is our first step. And it is not only to explain and work through theologically what the passage means (and doesn't mean). But the true test of success is that I would be able to help them to translate this message of the Bible to their culture so that they can effectively preach and teach this to their own church. And I supposed to do all this, all in an hour and a half, three days a week.
After the last class, I left a bit discouraged, wondering if I could really do it. But, Mr. Mwenya, a student in the class, came up to me after class and said, "Thank you for your teaching. You are really building me up. I love your teaching and it helps me and my church very much." Well, the Lord must have known that I needed that, as it not only encouraged me, but motivated me onward, that God's sufficent grace will do in me and through what He has called me here to do.