Equip the Church – ETC

11

The Context and Need

 If a survey was conducted in this country asking people to describe a gospel minister or a pastor, the responses would be varied. While some might describe them to be “eloquent and passionate” or “one who quotes the Bible most often,” others might see them as those “who can pray loudly or chase demons” or even who have bodyguards or who drive the most recent and expensive cars on the market. These images are realized in too many of our preachers today, in their teaching, their character, and in how they carry out their ministry.

Today’s laypeople, poorly fed and propagated by the postmodern mind, often believe that each person can have different interpretations of the Bible. The phrase, “That’s how you understand it and this is how I understand it” is common in our times, leading to relativistic truth. The authority of the Word of God has been eroded, and skeptics and doubters of the transcendent truth are on the rise in our country because we lack effective exposition of God’s Word. Conrad Mbewe’s diagnosis and prescription are timely:

In Africa, God’s people survive on what preachers want them to hear, even if it has little to do with the passage that has been read. Platitudes have replaced exposition – often by preachers who scold and shout. Is it any surprise that churches are largely malnourished? As long as this is the staple diet, there is no hope for the African church. Just as there is no good physical health without exercise and sweat, there is no good preaching without hard exegetical spadework. We African preachers have to learn that there is no graduating from this work of digging if we are to remain faithful to our work.”

Our culture today is desperately in need of proclaimers of truth to address its brokenness and to give enduring solutions for today as well as hope for eternity. When the Bible is clearly taught in God’s power it is alive and active to radically change lives. Therefore, there is a great need to raise and equip capable Bible handlers in our time, proclaimers who represent God by speaking God’s truth of His Word in an understandable, direct, and authoritative way. This comes with a clear conviction that God has spoken and that He speaks to us today through His inerrant Word.

How do we raise such a person who explains what the Word of God says to the issues of our day, the concerns and longings of our lives, and the destiny of our souls? How do we raise one who does not peddle the Word for dishonest gains as Paul describes and models in 2 Cor. 4:2 (below)?

But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s Word, but by the open statement of the truth, we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

 Aims

In our quest to equip the church and develop competent preachers, Living Word Uganda aims at

  1. Helping pastors and laypeople with tools of understanding God’s Word

We desire to help any student of the Bible to dig deeper to find hidden treasures in the Scriptures, even those parts that are seemingly obscure, in order to become clearer and more understandable to all who are diligent in study. Our aim is to help pastors and laypeople alike to delight in the study of God’s Word and to glean from it that which pertains to life and godliness. We do this through the practice of exegesis, and in developing messages in the following way:

  • Selecting the passages
  • Processing and provincializing text – Exegesis, and Hermeneutics
  • Understanding the context
  • Developing the what and why of the passage
  • Structuring the Sermon
  • Developing the application.
  1. Equipping the church on how to preach biblically – putting across the bible message

Good exegesis leads the student of the Bible to be as Paul says, “able to teach,” to proclaim the truth and pass it on faithfully and competently, with clarity and relevance. This helps the hearers to read or study the passage with greater comprehension and also to apply it and live it out in their own lives.

The church is always under threat from false teaching and heresy and the only way to combat it is to teach the Bible faithfully and clearly so that people understand the truth and are not deceived by error. And so, we strive to raise heralds of the gospel message who are clear and passionate communicators of God’s Word.

ETC’s method of excellent Bible work also speaks to the character of the preacher and the manner in which he carries out ministry. It is God’s powerful Word that brings holistic transformation to each believer and to our society because it “creates, controls, convicts, performs His purposes and overrides human weakness” (Brian Chappell). So, while we uphold the relevance and validity of today’s preacher and his message, we do not believe that the transforming power is inherently in the preacher or in the mode of delivery of the message but in God’s Word.

For this to be seen and felt by the people, we need to emphasize expository preaching as the most effective method in proclaiming God’s mind and having a bearing on God’s people. Why such emphasis? In His wisdom, God chose not to give the Bible in topics; so,

  • Teaching the whole Bible reveals what God has revealed to us about himself and how to relate with him. God sets the agenda rather than our experiences, cultural influences, or what we deem to be important.
  • Expository preaching helps the preacher to consider things he would not have considered to teach; the passage governs the sermon.
  • Expository preaching nourishes the spiritual health of the preacher, as he discovers week after week what God says; this has a subsequent effect on the hearers.
  • Expository preaching promotes biblical literacy, yielding rich knowledge of redemptive truths

Modes of Training

ETC local church initiatives

Living Word Uganda is not a local church, but Living Word Uganda does not exist without the local church. Therefore, by working with the local church we shall conduct local church-based training on an agreed number of days after assessing the need. Pastors and ministry leaders in the local church. For those who desire a longer training course, LWU offers a 6-month training.

ETC Conferences

National conference: Pastors from all over Uganda are welcome to join, these will be organized and planned every other year. Typically, 3 full days long with an emphasis on preaching and Word work (Pastors spending time in the text) combination of lecture, discussion, and practical group work.

Regional conference: these will be organized quarterly, for 3 full days in different regions as relationships need to develop.

Informal Workshops

Trusted bible teachers meet to have a conversation on an aspect of bible handling like saying developing an application from the passage, this will be recorded and shared on different platforms.