Acts 29 Pastor Shares His Experience Training Pastors in Kenya with LRI

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jeff-and-jen---genevaJeff Brewer serves as the Lead Pastor of Hope Fellowship in Lombard, IL and is part of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. Prior to planting Hope Fellowship, he served as the church plant pastor at College Church in Wheaton, IL.

We recently talked with Jeff about his recent trip with Leadership Resources to train pastors in Kenya in biblical exposition with the Training National Trainers program.

Can you briefly describe your role on the recent trip to Kenya?

IMG_2497Pastor Jeff Brewer: I went to Kenya and helped train pastors in the various hermeneutical principles LRI uses and also mentored some of the top pastors there. I was able to preach at two different churches and did some sort of teaching and interacting with Kenyan pastors everyday.

Learn more about the Dig and Discover Hermeneutical Principles that the Training National Trainers program uses.

What surprised you the most about God’s work on your recent trip?

“Leadership Resources is playing an important role in filling the needs of Kenyans by training pastors in the Scriptures.”

A few years ago I traveled with Bill Mills and Don Couwenhoven to train in the Middle East. My wife and I used to live in Istanbul, Turkey, and most of the traveling I’ve done is to least-reached countries in a Muslim context. The biggest surprise to me was seeing what could be considered a “reached” but under-resourced country that has a huge need for pastoral training–even though there are many missionaries and local leaders there. I saw a poverty in their understanding of the Word that bears itself out in all of pastoral ministry. Leadership Resources is playing an important role in filling the needs of Kenyans by training pastors in the Scriptures.

The Need is Great: “This training helps us avoid heresies and focus on the Word.”

What was your experience like serving with LRI Staff? (Take it easy on Doug!)

Doug Dunton (right) with George. Hear George's amazing testimony.

Doug Dunton (right) with Pastor George. Read George’s amazing testimony.

Doug Dunton is so easy to travel with and fun to be around. I’ve known him for about ten years, but this was our first time traveling together. I enjoyed watching him interact and relate with local leaders. He is able to enter the African culture and earn trust, building many valuable relationships that are bearing fruit. Doug is outgoing, and pastors all over Kenya gravitate towards him.

I appreciated his emphasis during the whole week: that it’s not about Doug or LRI—it’s about training faithful men who are able to train others as well (2 Timothy 2:2). A lot of ministries claim to have that focus, but I appreciated seeing it first hand.

How did the pastors receive the hermeneutical principles LRI teaches?

IMG_2517I saw great receptivity to the principles on my earlier trip, and it was no different in Kenya. I saw transformation begin as early as the second day of training. The pastors hear about “Staying on the Line” of Scripture, and it changes their whole worldview of being a pastor. It was like Doug unlocked the door that opened up Scripture and ministry to them in a way that they both saw it clearly and yet couldn’t believe they hadn’t seen it before. After three days, the pastors were speaking a different language than the one they walked in speaking. This training will forever change the way they think about ministry.

It was like Doug unlocked the door that opened up Scripture and ministry to them in a way that they both saw it clearly and yet couldn’t believe they hadn’t seen it before.

Can you share a story or two of how God’s Word and the TNT program are bringing transformation to pastors in Kenya?

We heard over and over again from pastors there that they don’t prepare for preaching. They just roll out of bed on Sunday mornings, go to church, and start preaching. We saw that ten hours after we landed. We were in a church service, and they called on me to preach. Thankfully, I preached on something I preached here in the US a few weeks before. We heard from men all over Kenya say that preparing in the Word before preaching was new for them and that LRI’s training helps them see the importance of it.

“This training is necessary for all of the pastors I work with. How can I get this into their hands?”

At the end of the week we saw our training begin to sink in when one man, named Thomas, said, “I am seeing that studying the Word in this way is very necessary for me.” That was huge. Another man, named Justus, a bishop who leads a group of around thirty-five churches both in Kenya and internationally, was visibly moved to the point of saying, “This training is necessary for all of the pastors I work with. How can I get this into their hands?”

When the pastors debriefed at the end of the week, no one was praising LRI as a great organization or Doug as a great teacher–they were talking about the principles and what they had learned from God’s Word. They saw how essential the training was for their ministry. We don’t care about promoting LRI in East Africa, but we desperately care about training men in the Word.

What would you say to pastors considering traveling with LRI?

IMG_2422I have loved LRI and similar organizations, like Simeon Trust, for a while. After seeing God’s work through LRI first hand, I thought it was an easy “sell” talking with our elders about the impact this ministry is having, and it made me realize that I want to get behind this work even more.

I saw God’s work on my first trip, but seeing it in English made me hear more of the pastors’ stories and witness their transformation without the language barrier. I got to know the guys, and now I’m corresponding with some of them through email. I’m corresponding with one guy each week on Ephesians. He’s already taught his people the principles of TNT. It’s great to see their eagerness for the Word.

My church and I want to be involved with this as much as possible, both financially and by traveling on future trips. It is very helpful to see first hand.

What would you say to a pastor considering supporting Leadership Resources?

IMG_2513Many say that the time for western missionaries being sent overseas has come to a close and that supporting a pastor for $30 a month in India (or other such country) is more effective. There is an element truth to this, but there is a necessary role that the Western church can play in training, specifically training those pastors to be committed to the Word of God so that they do the work. I would say to a US pastor that for a relatively small amount of money, through a partnership with LRI, you can invest in training men who will train hundreds or thousands of men to preach the Word with a sustainable model.

Go and see for yourself! Participation will lead to a desire to see more men trained and your church supporting LRI’s important work. We’re committed to sending out men and women to the mission field. We are equally committed to seeing pastors around the world trained in the Word because it’s such a huge need.

Thank you Pastor Brewer for your time and service to the Kingdom!

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10 Recommended Books on Expository Preaching

Best Preaching Books - 10 Recommended Books on Expository Preaching

As an organization, we thought it would be helpful to compile a few lists of the best books on expository preaching so those in our training can know where to turn for further study and those who don’t know us can learn what we’re all about.

The following ten books match the “preaching DNA” of our organization and our Training National Trainers and Fellowship of the Word programs; that is, they communicate our core convictions and methodology for expository preaching and task of a preacher.

These ten recommendations may overlap some in subject matter, but are useful for new preachers, growing preachers, and experienced preachers wanting a tune up in their thinking or preaching.

10 Recommended Books on Expository Preaching

1. Speaking God’s Words: A Practical Theology of Preaching by Peter Adam

There are many books on preaching, but few, if any, on the theology of preaching. Yet, whether it is recognized or not, theology underlies any preaching that claims to be biblical. In Speaking God’s Words Peter Adam builds confidence in preaching by laying a firm theological foundation for it. Preaching rests upon three great pillars: God has spoken, his words are now recorded in Scripture and he commissions people “to explain, preach and teach his written words to their contemporaries.” Throughout the book, using well-chosen illustrations, Dr Adam encourages preachers to give themselves to the demanding yet thrilling task of “preaching God’s words” today.

2. When God’s Voice is Heard: The Power of Preaching Edited by John Stott, Christopher Green, David Jackman

What is the place of preaching in the life of the church today? What priority does the Sunday sermon have when new church structures and ever-changing technology seem to exacerbate the increasing pastoral demands on a busy church leader? Good preaching is more than historical revelation, skilled oration, or the ability to give multimedia presentations. Rather it is the present Word of God to his people. And it is to communicate this that is the preacher’s first calling.

“Good preaching is the present Word of God to his people”, argues J. I. Packer. And it is to communicate this that is our first calling. In this inspiring collection of essays, experienced preachers explore the different aspects of preaching. The first edition of this book was subtitled as essays on preaching presented to Dick Lucas and this is a great line-up of contributors writing in gratitude to God for Dick’s faithful expository ministry over many years.

3. Setting Hearts on Fire: A Guide to Giving Evangelistic Talks by John Chapman

In this book, which is the fruit of his 40 years experience as an evangelist, John Chapman passes on the skills of his craft. He explains how telling people the gospel of Jesus Christ requires us to be servants: servants of the Word itself (to understand it accurately), and servants of the people (to explain it clearly).

Whether you are a person who teaches the Bible in a Sunday school class, a small group Bible study, Scripture at School, a teenage fellowship group or through preaching sermons, this book is for you. In his inimitable way, ‘Chappo’ shows you, step by step, how to prepare and deliver a talk that clearly explains the gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. The Archer and the Arrow: Preaching the Very Words of God by Philip Jensen and Paul Grimmond (See an illustration used in the book: Preachers as Stewards of the Mysteries of God)

“My aim is to preach the gospel by prayerfully expounding the Bible to the people God has given me to love.” (Phillip Jensen)

Join Phillip Jensen and Paul Grimmond as they explore each phrase in this carefully wrought statement, and show not only why faithful, powerful, biblical preaching is so important, but how to go about it.

Recommendation from William Taylor: “Preaching is the lifeblood of the local church. This is an outstanding book by one of the world’s foremost preachers, and is essential reading for any would-be Bible teacher.” (William Taylor, Rector, St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London, UK).

5. Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell

Poor Eutychus might have tumbled off his perch in Acts 20, but it’s humbling to notice that what took Paul many hours of preaching to achieve – near-fatal napping in one of his listeners – takes most preachers only a few minutes on a Sunday.

Saving Eutychus will help you save your listeners from such a fate. Written by an Aussie and an Irishman with very different styles who share a passion for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, Saving Eutychus delivers fresh, honest, faithful and practical insights into preaching the whole word of God, Sunday by Sunday, without being dull.

6. Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chapell

This complete guide to expository preaching teaches the basics of preparation, organization, and delivery–the trademarks of great preaching. With the help of charts and creative learning exercises, Chapell shows how expository preaching can reveal the redemptive aims of Scripture and offers a comprehensive approach to the theory and practice of preaching. He also provides help for special preaching situations.

The second edition contains updates and clarifications, allowing this classic to continue to serve the needs of budding preachers. Numerous appendixes address many practical issues.

7. Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Words Today by David Helm

Preachers fill our church pulpits, conference stages, and television airwaves. But the question remains: What does good preaching sound like? In this accessible volume—written for church leaders and laypersons alike—pastor David Helm offers us an answer as he outlines the four foundational elements underlying truly life-giving, God-glorifying preaching: contextualization, exegesis, theological reflection, and application. Emphasizing faithful exposition of the biblical text over snappy sound bites or quippy platitudes, this short book offers practical, step-by-step guidance for preachers and will equip laypersons to recognize good preaching when they hear it.

8. Prepared to Preach: God’s Work and Ours in Preparing to Preach by Greg Scharf

‘Prepared to Preach’ offers an accessible and concise aid for all those who have been challenged to preach or feel a growing compulsion to do so. This is an essential read for all those who are wondering precisely where to start in preparing to expound God’s word, whether it is for the Divinity Student, the layperson, the parachurch worker or the short-term missionary. This is a comprehensive yet digestible guide.

Scharf focuses on the attitudes and skills those inexperienced in preaching need to develop, whilst at all times re- enforcing that although there are a number of things you, the preacher, must do, it is what God does that is at the heart of preaching. This book illuminates to us how to prepare our minds to preach, how to prepare the congregation to hear and obey God’s word, how to prepare the message God gives you to preach, and also how to deliver the message you have prepared.Throughout it all Scharf is motivated by a tremendous concern to equip preachers so that they might clearly express God’s word.

9. Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching Graeme Goldsworthy

Goldsworthy first examines the Bible, biblical theology, and preaching and shows how they relate in the preparation of Christ-centered sermons. He then applies the biblical-theological method to the various types of literature found in the Bible, drawing out their contributions to expository preaching focused on the person and work of Christ.

Clear, complete, and immediately applicable, this volume will become a fundamental text for teachers, pastors, and students preparing for ministry.

10. NIV Proclamation Bible: Correctly Handling the Word of Truth from Zondervan Publishers (be sure to read our review)

The NIV Proclamation Bible offers a valuable resource for those who teach from the Bible regularly and anyone who enjoys studying Scripture in greater depth.  This edition, developed by Lee Gatiss in collaboration with the Proclamation Trust, includes a wealth of additional material from leading theologians, pastors, and Bible teachers to enhance your study of the word. The Bible features ten introductory essays on theology, doctrine and the application and interpretation of Scripture, as well as detailed overviews of each literary genre in the Bible–from the historical narratives to the apocalyptic literature. It also features introductions to every Bible book.

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10 Things to Know about the Bible’s Barnabas

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Character studies of Bible heroes are of great value for the church. Many Bible studies walk through the lives of Joseph, Moses, David, the Apostle Paul, or Peter for great profit.

The Bible also contains some hidden gems, more “behind the scenes” type of characters including Barnabas–a man mentioned 23 times in Acts and five times in the Pauline Epistles.

Who is Barnabas in the Bible?

10 Things to Know about the Bible’s Barnabas

  1. “Barnabas” wasn’t his birth name (Joseph was), it was his nickname meaning “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). This rather obscure Bible character was so encouraging that it became his name. What a legacy to leave! What an example to follow. What would people nickname you?
  2. Background: Acts 4:36 records that Barnabas was a Levite and a Cyprian (that is, a native of the island of Cyprus).
  3. Barnabas put the kingdom first with possessions. His first recorded action is that he “sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:37). He also was acknowledged by Paul for supporting himself financially for his ministry instead of depending on churches (1 Corinthians 9:6).
  4. After Paul’s dramatic conversion, Barnabas courageously vouched for him when the Jerusalem church was suspicious that a former persecutor would want to join their ranks (Acts 9:26-31).
  5. Barnabas was a Christian leader and preacher (Acts 15:35). On one occasion, he was sent by the Jerusalem church to Antioch. Acts 11:23-24 describes his arrival, “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” After his arrival, Barnabas sought out Saul to help him with the work (Acts 11:25). Barnabas’ ministry and effectiveness touches on one of the goals of the Fellowship of the Word program, which is to equip leaders to preach God’s Word with God’s heart and to empower pastors to train others in the Scriptures as well.
  6. While praying, fasting, and worshiping God, Barnabas and Saul received the call from the Holy Spirit to go on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-3).
  7. Barnabas, along with Paul, served to straighten out Jew/Gentile tensions that arose in the early church by sharing from the Scriptures and his experience how the Gentiles were being saved and could fellowship with Jews (Acts 15:1-21; Galatians 2:1-10). Although this issue was not without its challenges for Barnabas. In Galatians 2:13, Paul called Barnabas out for being led astray by Jewish circumcision party hypocrisy for a time (presumably before the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15).
  8. Barnabas had a sharp disagreement with Paul that ended their ministry together. Acts 15:36-41 explains that Barnabas wanted to take Mark along on their missionary journey while Paul did not because Mark had abandoned them on a previous trip. Paul would eventually describe Mark as “useful to me” at the end of his life (2 Timothy 4:11). It makes sense that Barnabas would stick up for Mark–they were cousins (Colossians 4:10).
  9. There was wide speculation about Barnabas in early church history. James Brooks explains, “In the third century Barnabas was identified by Clement of Alexandria as one of the 70 of Luke 10:1; Tertullian referred to him as the author of Hebrews; and the Clementine Recognitions stated he was the Matthias of Acts 1:23, 26. All of these are most unlikely. In the second century an epistle bearing Barnabas’s name appeared, became quite popular, and even received some consideration for a place in the NT. Later an apocryphal Acts of Barnabas and perhaps even a Gospel of Barnabas were circulated.”1
  10. Barnabas left a tremendous legacy. All of the above facts (except #9) prove Barnabas to be a strong man of faith that left a lasting legacy and stored up for himself a lucrative inheritance in heaven.

lasting_legacy1_1024x1024Go deeper with Barnabas and be challenged to invest your life wisely in Craig Parro’s booklet A Lasting Legacy: Investing Our Lives in People available from the following retailers:


1 Brooks, James A. “Barnabas”. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Ed. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England, Steve Bond, E. Ray Clendenen and Trent C. Butler. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003.

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