I have compared the work we do here in Zambia before as someone who grows trees for living. There is a lot of investment and energy and work and not a whole lot to write home about in terms of instant success, etc… But, there are moments along the way, encouraging signs, where you realize that the tree is really taking root and the work is paying off and your labor is not in vain. Monday was one of those days. I have been teaching on preaching, and the last week I taught the students and taught them and taught them how to create a structure for their sermons that leads to life change, engaging of their church and helping them learn how to give the church a reason to listen and learn. Well, on Monday I had two pastors come up to me separately and tell me what a difference it made in their preaching on Sunday. One was able to share his own experience and then engage the church and lead them to the truth. He was able to help them see the application and then give the church a vision on how the truth of what he was sharing would impact the church if they would obey it. There was this excitement in his voice, like a little kid, who couldn’t wait to go preach again. And then, another pastor shared with me, how he changed up the beginning of his sermon and added more about himself, got the church engaged, slowed down and it made a big difference in the church service. But the topper came when my supervisor, Tracy Singleton, who goes to the church of one of these pastors shared with me that he too noticed a BIG difference in his speed, illustrations and his engaging with the church. That was encouraging… So, I am not sure a tree grower has similar stories of encouraging signs, but I thank the Lord that a teacher can have such stories.
After many weeks of learning, students have finally started their in-class preaching. James went first preaching Colossians 1:1-2 and then Nathan went yesterday and he preached Colossians 1:3-8. I have a whole system organized that leads up their preaching. They must first do the exegetical work that they learned during the first year of classes, where they study the passage, do the word studies, observe, interpret and apply what they have learned. They turn that work in two weeks before they are going to preach. That way I can see if they are interpreting the passage correctly and help guide them through the process. Then a week before they preach, they must turn in an outline based on the structure that I have taught them. After each time they turn in the work, I go through it, and then meet with them the next class to help guide them through it. There are a lot of pastors to meet with and it is a busy hour before class when I am meeting with them, but it is going really well. What I shared with them yesterday is that even though they are only preaching one time, they are learning from each pastor’s strengths and weaknesses as they fill out evaluations and they will improve in their ability to articulate specifically how the pastor failed and succeeded. So, that is another encouraging sign.
So all in all, we are moving full steam ahead. Hopefully you have been encouraged by the work you are seeing and you might wonder, (I hope you are wonderingJ) how can I help them from where I am? Well, we are still looking for people to come alongside and sponsor our pastors… With as little at $10 a month to as much as $55 a month (what it cost to educate these pastor in a facility, provide transportation and mealie and books), you will play a significant role in helping us help them… If you want more information, please click this link to go to our ACTION Zambia Pastor’s blog. If you have already allocated all your giving for the year, no problem at all… But, I would encourage you to check out the blog for interviews and bios of our pastors. We covet prayers even more than money!!!
Thanks again for all your support!
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." Revelation 7:12