Jeff 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?
Pastor 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.
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 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?
I 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?
I 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?
Many 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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