Celebrating growth and sustainability for preaching training in East Asia

Thanks to Langham Preaching, pastors and laypeople in East Asia are gaining confidence and skills to preach God’s Word.

East Asia Regional Coordinator for Langham Preaching, Phil Nicholson, has been instrumental in training and supporting the movement throughout the region. He’s particularly excited to see how it’s taking hold individually in different countries. This is happening through the raising up of local facilitators and initiatives of localised movements. 

A heart for leadership training in East Asia

Before taking his role with Langham Partnership, Phil and his wife Irene worked as OMF missionaries in Taiwan. They started with student ministry in 1992, then eventually moved into leading and caring for missionaries when Phil took on the role of Field Director. 

In 2015 Phil stepped down as Field Director with OMF and into different less time-consuming ministry with OMF. He was looking for a new opportunity to serve in alongside this, with a heart for seeing the church in East Asia resourced. Then he got an email about Langham. 

Phil shares, “I actually got an email inviting me to be involved. It was from Patrick Fung, who was the general director of our mission, OMF, and also on the board of Langham Partnership. And he said, ‘There’s a need for someone to take over the East Asia role.’”

The role was a perfect fit for Phil’s experience, interests and timing! So he started as East Asia Regional Coordinator for Langham Preaching.

The start to work was being ‘thrown in the deep end’ due to the immediate need for the role. Phil recalls, “I attended one training in a [sensitive SE Asian country] and observed…then right away the very next thing I had to do was help lead a facilitator training.”

Before this he didn’t have much time to get accustomed to the Langham Preaching method itself. However, Phil’s previous experience in training and his study at Bible College all aligned perfectly with Langham’s expository approach. This enabled him to jump head-first into his responsibilities of training and coordinating!

Empowering local movements

There isn’t much of a ‘typical work week’ for Phil, but he describes his time as “when I’m at home and when I’m travelling.” 

When Phil is travelling, it’s mostly to deliver training. He shares, “It’s basically full-on when you’re involved in a training seminar. The week is pretty much four to five days all day doing preaching training. It’s a typical Langham seminar.”

When he’s at home, Phil is still involved in ministry in Taiwan, preaching and helping train preachers. He also spends his time preparing for the next time he travels for Langham. 

The way the Langham movement of Preaching is spreading and becoming sustainable is encouraging and exciting for Phil. 

“In most places I go I find it very encouraging and learn a lot simply because I’m getting to see what the church is like in other countries. I’m meeting Christian leaders, understanding their situation and seeing how they’re responding to it,” he says. 

“It’s a great privilege hearing about the challenges churches are facing and people’s faithfulness in the midst of that.” 

One example Phil shares is of one of the sensitive countries in East Asia who have been experiencing hard circumstances over the last few years. There is a team of around eight people there. Due to these challenges and pandemic restrictions, Phil hadn’t been able to visit them for several years. However, this didn’t stop God from working through that team!

Phil shares, “Rather than ministry stopping, as soon as pandemic restrictions were lifted, they started training themselves. And so in the last two years, they’ve done 40 seminars around the country all by themselves without any outside support. And so this time I was going and they were training the next generation of facilitators. The big encouragement is just seeing the passion that local leaders have for what they’ve learned and for equipping others.”

Celebrating over a decade of Langham Preaching

Another exciting milestone for East Asia has been the recent celebration of over a decade of Langham Preaching running in Cambodia. Phil recently visited Cambodia and was part of a week that combined preaching training with a 10+ year celebration. 

Originally the celebration was planned for 10 years, but this milestone was stretched out a little by the pandemic. This made it an extra exciting time to reflect and thank God for the longevity of Langham Preaching in Cambodia. 

The week involved the graduation of participants finishing off the final level of Langham training, as well as reflections and thanksgiving for the years of ministry. 

Phil shares, “It involved people finishing off the three levels of training, but also inviting alumni from previous rounds of training to come along and be a part of it. [They also invited] a number of church leaders who are not directly involved in Langham to come and see what we do, observe, and hopefully through that, spread Langham even more.”

The local Cambodian team did the work to set up the event, which was another great encouragement to Phil. He reflects, “ They’ve done a really good job in Cambodia of connecting with people around the country, different denominations, and getting people excited about the Langham training. And this was just an opportunity to get people together to do that.”

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