Photo Update: Laying Groundwork for a Movement In Honduras

I (Paul Adams) just returned from Honduras. This trip was not a normal one — we, ourselves, didn’t do any training; rather, we watched some of the guys we’re training pass on the training to other pastors. My colleague, Patricio Paredes, and I also met with the board of a denomination — our partner for the training we’re doing in Honduras. And we also got to visit two other pastors we’re working with.

My first stop was to visit one of the pastors in our ongoing training. Omar looks young, but I was able to witness his strong, yet humble, leadership among the other pastors he’s passing the training on to. (God’s work in Omar has been featured on the blog before). Being in his church, meeting his family, and eating meals at his kitchen table gave me a clearer perspective of who this pastor is who has become a friend.

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Omar and I in front of his church. We were about to catch a bus to attend a denominational board meeting in another city.

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My colleague, Patricio Paredes, arrived, and we met with our partners in Honduras — the board of a denomination that invited us to come do training with their pastors. Since we are halfway through our 4-year program there, we wanted to make sure they were thinking strategically about how to continue to spread the training throughout their country after we hand things off to them.

looking-at-principles

We introduced them to some training materials I had just finished working on before I left on this trip. (See our Dig and Discover Hermeneutical Principles Booklet.)

standing-outside

Next, Patricio and I traveled about 5 hours to a church where three of the pastors we’re training led a training for other pastors.

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These three brothers (our students) – Wilver, Jorge, and Armando – have been passing on the training they’ve received to a 2nd generation of pastors in their region.

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The bedding arrives. Pastors who came to the 3-day training slept on these mattresses at night in the church building.

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We studied through the book of Mark. This group of pastors from the surrounding region have been coming to these 3-day trainings twice a year — and some of them are even passing the training on to a 3rd generation of pastors and church leaders.

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Here is an action shot of Armando, who is a gifted teacher, leading his training. There was friendly and helpful interaction as we explored the message of Mark’s Gospel.
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Patricio giving one-on-one guidance. This kind of interaction makes these workshops really special.

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It’s exciting to see the pastors “dig and discover” what God’s Word says.

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Jorge taught a session on Biblical theology – seeing how a passage or theme fits within the overall story and message of the Bible. Here, the group was getting at the significance of Peter’s confession: “You are the Christ!” by going back to understand what “Christ” meant — examining key passages in the Old Testament that spoke about God’s King (the “Annointed One” = “Messiah” = “Christ”) who would come to rule and reign.

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Here is the group of pastors who were being trained by those we are training.
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After the workshop, Patricio and I spent time with the guys evaluating the training and doing some coaching. Watching them do training was also an evaluation of our training, helping us see what is transferring well and what we need to clarify or give greater emphasis to.

jorge-home

We had the opportunity to get to spend a lot of time with Jorge in his home – hearing his thoughts, getting to know his family, seeing how God had shaped his life and ministry through the Training National Trainers program.

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Finally, we went up into the hills to visit Pastor Wilver’s home and church.

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Pastor Wilver preaching in his church.

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Pastor Wilver and I at his home.

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Patricio and I with Pastors Jorge, Wilver, and Armando at Wilver’s home. It was good to see where our guys live, serve the Lord, and pass on training to others. Jorge and Omar (who is mentioned at the beginning of this post) were both selected by their denomination to be in-country coordinators for Honduras in charge of expanding the Training National Trainers program all over their country and beyond.

After watching these men encourage other pastors in a workshop, shepherd their own churches, even lead their own families, we were thankful for the men God has put in place to pastor His people in Honduras and to raise up other faithful leaders in the church there. We look forward to continuing our work and our friendship with these brothers and seeing how God will use them. For those who have partnered with us, thank you for investing in the work to make these things possible. May the Lord bless you for it!

Three P’s of Preaching from J.I. Packer

JI Packer Definition of Preaching

How do you define preaching? You could answer that question a dozen different ways.

In an essay titled, “The Preacher as Theologian,” Dr. J.I. Packer defines preaching from a biblical and theological approach. Here is his definition:

“Preaching is incarnational communication from God, prophetic, persuasive and powerful…”¹

The second half of his definition includes three “P’s” describing God’s divine purposes for preaching and how it is that God can speak through human preachers:²

1. Prophetic

The preacher’s role is like the Old Testament prophets in the sense that he is bringing God’s Word to bear on his congregation. The difference between Old Testament prophets and preachers today is that preachers today communicate God’s message from the Bible instead of from a variety of means including oracles, visions, or revelations. According to Packer, the text of the Bible is “God preaching to us.”

When a preacher faithfully communicates God’s message from the Word, preachers act like God’s mouthpiece–which is one reason why Packer includes “incarnational communication” in his definition of preaching.

2. Persuasive

Preaching is different than merely giving a lecture–preaching demands a response to the truth of Scripture. It is to persuade others to receive and obey the Word of God. The Apostle Paul agrees, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Preaching should be targeted not only by knowing the main point of a passage, but also knowing the aim (or desired response) of the sermon. Knowing a desired aim will cause the preacher to focus on the persuasive element of the sermon.

3. Powerful

When the Word is preached, truth is communicated in a living and power-packed way. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). As preachers faithfully proclaim the Word, the same God that brought creation into being is working in His power to sow the Word into the hearts of hearers by His Spirit.

Much more can be said about preaching, but I find Packer’s definition quite helpful due to its focus on the nature of the preacher in relation to God (prophetic), the goal of the message (to persuade), and the heart-piercing effects of God’s Word as carried by the Spirit (its power).

May all preachers of the Word prophetically persuade their hearers backed by God’s power!

Kevin Halloran is the Content Strategist at Leadership Resources and on the Latin America Training Team. Follow Kevin on Twitter.

Leadership Resources International trains pastors and church leaders in the US and worldwide to study the Word of God in depth using a variety of hermeneutical principles. Learn more about our training in the US and around the world or how you can help strengthen the global church with the Word of God!

¹From Packer’s essay, “The Pastor as Theologian” from When God’s Voice is Heard: Essays on Preaching Presented to Dick Lucas.
²The categories are Dr. Packer’s, the explanations are mine.

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4 Promises from Jesus for the Start of a Disciple-Making Ministry

SW_OliviaHenry

This post is from Kevin Halloran, the Content Strategist at Leadership Resources, sharing about an experience he had while serving in his local church. Leadership Resources is committed to strengthening the global church by encouraging and equipping pastors to preach God’s Word with God’s heart.

I serve as a team on my church praying and planning for a new ministry to reach Spanish speakers in our area with the gospel. This is a new venture for us and functions a lot like a church plant within a church–which means we are thinking a lot about how both evangelism and discipleship will happen as we launch the ministry.

At the close of our last meeting, we asked for volunteers who would pitch in doing various things: teach the Scripture, make coffee, greet, get the word out, etc. People enthusiastically volunteered:

  • “I will set up the coffee station!”
  • “I’d love to prepare a Bible study for us!”
  • “I can be the guy to talk to the church office about an announcement.”
  • “I will contact such-and-such a person this week…”

As we discussed who would do what, my mind wandered to what Jesus would say if He sat around the table with us. That’s obviously a silly question–He has told us what He would commit to do in the work of evangelism, discipleship, and planting a church.

Below are a few of Christ’s promises that show a small glimpse into Christ’s work in the process of evangelizing, discipling, and growing a church.

4 Promises from Jesus for the Start of a Disciple-Making Ministry

I will build my church. (Matthew 16:18)

As we seek to fulfill our part of the Great Commission, we can be sure that Christ will work alongside us building His church. That takes pressure off of us because it by reminding us that Jesus Himself will work in and through us to accomplish this glorious purpose and that not even “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This promise has greatly encouraged our group as we think and pray about what this ministry will look like.

I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)

Knowing the right evangelistic techniques alone doesn’t make a great evangelist. You need to enroll in Christ’s School of Discipleship yourself before inviting others to join you. Jesus first said, “Follow me”, with “I will make you fishers of men” a result of following Him. Christ will transform us into soul winners as we follow Him. Our new ministry team must keep our eyes on Christ, the ultimate evangelist and evangelism coach as we seek to reach Spanish speakers in our area with the gospel.

I will accomplish My purposes through My Word. (Isaiah 55:11-12)

Our proclamation of the Word will invite God to minister through us. Jesus promises to use His Word, and we just need to be faithful in communicating it. God’s Word is not only the best disciple maker, it also the best for training us for service (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Our ministry team can plan confidently knowing that God will use our efforts to sow His Word into the hearts and minds of those we minister to and that our labor will never be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

I will be with you always. (Matthew 28:20)

We are never alone even when ministry seems lonely. Christ promises His presence to be with us as we make, baptize, and teach disciples. Christ’s presence with us by the Spirit will empower effective evangelism (Acts 1:8), give us needed words (Luke 12:11-12), help us in our weakness (Romans 8:26), and aid us in preaching the gospel (1 Peter 1:12). Christ’s comforting presence by the Spirit will encourage us to press forward and do our part in fulfilling the Great Commission.

The truth is, I’m not sure what this new ministry will look like a month from now, a year from now, or ten years from now–and it doesn’t matter. It may even take a month or two for anyone to show up! We can confidently trust that Jesus will do His part of this ministry as we seek to make and multiply disciples of Christ.

Kevin Halloran is the Content Strategist at Leadership Resources and on the Latin America Training Team. Follow Kevin on Twitter.

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