“This was the first expository message I have preached–in many years of ministry.”

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“Why should we spend three days in this training?” Phil, one of our trainees, asked on our first day of training (Phil’s name has been changed for security purposes). It is common to have skeptics early on in our training because people don’t know what to expect.

Phil was with his group in a security-sensitive region of Central Asia going through a “Taste and See” trial-run of our training that studied the book of Ruth. As an influential leader of the group, he wanted to make sure our training was worth everybody’s time.

Our trainer calmly replied, “You’ll just have to wait and see what God does over the next few days.”

The rest of that day and the next, Phil and the group of twenty other pastors dug into the Scriptures, learned important principles for studying Scripture, discussed the importance of communicating God’s word over our words, and practiced their expository sermons in front of the group.

When it was Phil’s turn to deliver his message, he made a stunning confession:

“This is the first expository message I have ever preached–in many years of ministry.”

Hearing this confession from one of the group’s leaders impacted the whole group and helped set the tone for the rest of their training by cultivating a deeper reverence for God’s word and proclaiming it faithfully.

Many preachers in Phil’s culture stand in front of their congregations and preach their own thoughts and opinions. This made “staying on the line” of Scripture a revolutionary and transformative thought for Phil and many others in the room.

After time of prayer and hearing powerful testimonies of God rescuing from sin, we closed our Taste and See session by asking pastors if they would like to commit to four years of biannual training in biblical exposition in our Training National Trainers program.

Phil enthusiastically jumped at the chance for more training in handling the word and expository preaching and said, “Sign me up!”

This is just the beginning of God teaching and transforming his shepherds in Phil’s country to faithfully minister his word. Please pray for Phil and his fellow pastors as they begin their training.

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Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.