Our goal is to help raise the standard of discipleship in the villages here in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the villages we go to we find Christians with amazing hearts, but no access to resources – poverty and isolation is trying to rob them of the riches that are theirs in Christ. We find pastors with such passion, but no Bibles and no training, communities that are hungry for God, but the only person who can teach them is the Pastor who’s only in that position because he was willing and could read a little bit. To help empower these pastors and their rural churches we are continuing to develop different programs.
There is still a lack of good biblical discipleship materials in Chichewa. To bring a change we have been working with local pastors helping them create useful teaching; while our team of volunteers also includes some translators who are aiming to bring other useful materials to this nation. Our first project was a Pastors’ Hand Book created by us together with 15 church movement founders. This book aims to be a universal hand book, usable by any of the many African denominations that don’t have their own doctrinal books or resources. Our desire is to continue uniting church movement leaders from the scattered African denominations and helping them agree on some of the doctrines and practices that they can easily define, then publishing these for distribution to rural pastors. A low cost Chichewa Song Book is our second project; we will soon be publishing some of the most popular hymns and songs from various denominations in a small Chichewa song book which we hope will be half or a third the price of available denominational books. We also have a translator working on “The Shepherd’s Staff”, a popular pastors’ hand book from India, “10 Lessons for New Believers” and some other great materials from Mozambique. We hope to soon translate “Is That Really You God” so that Malawians can have access to this YWAM classic in their native tongue. We also have a passion to see one of the gospels produced affordably, so that every church member who can read can have the core of the Bible in their own hands, to feed their hunger for the word of God, instead of relying on the one Bible owned by the pastor. We believe that to only have expensive complete Bibles printed for sale in Malawi is actually denying the word of God to the masses in Malawi, a crime that has been fought against by Tyndale and others through history. The people must have the Bible in a form they can access and understand!
Training pastors in baptisingIt is very costly to draw pastors together for long trainings in the cities and so we go to them with Bibles, pastors’ hand books and resources, holding training sessions in their own regions of Malawi, Mozambique and maybe even into Zambia and Zimbabwe soon. When we run these conferences we couple them with high impact healing evangelism events, with crowds drawn by sports ministry, women’s ministry and children’s programmes. We have run various pastors’ trainings including a Pastors’ Hand Book School that consisted of teaching the practical things any pastor should know, such as baptisms, funerals, weddings, etc. We also run an Inductive Bible Study training course that teaches the Pastors basic ways to look at and study the Bible. These monthly seminars usually have about 25-70 Pastors attending, up to 500 Pastors a year. The pastors are so hungry to learn and many will bicycle or walk for days to reach the locations where we are teaching. This can be a great outreach opportunity for people who have learned to study the Bible and now want to help others to do the same. find out more about volunteering as a Bible study trainer here.
This is one of the projects I am most excited about, although I was not expecting the work involved in it to be as great as it is. This project is taking some time to get going and we need more helpers to complete it. When it is working we believe it will bring massive transformation, as the first study Bibles did. The Aim is to produce the first Aural Bible School, bypassing literacy problems and bringing to rural pastors, in a small solar unit, the New Testament read in Chichewa and 150 hours of basic biblical teaching. We are hoping that when we have finished compiling, creating, translating and recording this material we will also be able to register it as a seminar with YWAM’s University of the Nations. The essence of how this aural pastors’ school will work will be like this:
1) Pastors will commit one day a week to study using the solar audio unit.
2) Each study day at their home will consist of
Listening to a portion of the new testament
A time of Worship and Intercession
Listening to 30 minuets of teaching (potentially a few times until it has been understood)
answering a series of questions recorded onto the solar audio unit about the teaching
Listening to a few 5 minuet sermons appropriate for rural churches based on this materiel
Preparing a sermon for church based on this teaching topic or memorizing one of the sermons we have recorded
3) One Day a month pastors involved in this training will gather in groups of about 10 to discuss what they have learned this month
4) Attendance at the monthly pastors’ discussions will be part of the grading of the course. The primary method of testing and grading will be aural. An examiner will visit the pastor’s church periodically or meet at a gathering of participating pastors. The examiner will ask the pastor to preach a sermon to the church on one of the topics that has been covered. If the pastor can satisfactorily deliver a sermon based on the teaching the examiner has selected, then that module will be counted as passed, even if the sermon is simply a representation of the sermon the pastor has memorized from the unit. This will mean that churches quickly get to hear good Biblical sermons covering the basics of Christianity. We will also send the printed versions of all the materials with the solar units, as often people learn to read by following the words as they hear them on the recording.
We have the first of 250 solar units for this project along with some simple recording equipment and a passion to see pastors empowered. If you have the computer, bible teaching, logistical project management and other skills needed to help us move this project forward, please consider coming to serve with us in making this vision an Africa-changing reality.