Preaching in Rwanda: Teaching What God Intends
By Jonathan Lamb, international programme director, Langham Preaching
Rwandan leaders are right at the heart of the preaching training which is now underway in their country. Langham Preaching held its first event in October 2009, fully supported by a team of pastors and national leaders who are committed to the cause of strengthening biblical teaching in the churches.
Rwanda is a land-locked, mountainous country in the heart of central Africa. Although very small in size, it has the densest population in Africa, with a total population of just over 10 million. Today, this busy country is trying to look to the future and put the genocide of 1994 behind it. Major development projects are taking place in rural areas, impressive new buildings are sprouting up in the major cities, and Rwanda is in the process of taking the significant step of moving from being a French to an English speaking country.
However, the genocide, with the 1,000,000 lives lost, cannot be put away so neatly. On a practical level, many refugees are still returning to the country and their re-integration into society presents the risk of disrupting tenuous racial harmony. Also, the genocide raises questions for the church as Rwanda is a country with a very high Christian majority of 82 percent.
Launch of Langham Preaching Movement
Following a recent line-up meeting in Rwanda, a number of local leaders indicated their enthusiasm for starting the preaching movement in their country by forming an organising committee of six persons to oversee the development of the seminar in Rwanda.
In mid-October, 32 pastors and lay preachers gathered together for the Level 1 training event, with two Langham
|‘We are really excited to see Langham preaching program started in Rwanda. We may face some difficulties or challenges, but God is on our side.’
Albert Sindano, Country coordinator
Preaching facilitators – Gordon Woolard from the USA and Mercy Ireri from Kenya. Mercy went down with a bacterial infection on the first day, and was unable to teach until the final day of the event. One of the pastors said, in a rather matter-of-fact way, ‘that’s why Jesus sent the disciples out two by two. It makes sense.’ He was right: Gordon was able to sustain the teaching and training, and Mercy was then ready to share news of the development of the Kenyan preaching movement, including its wide network of preachers’ clubs.
Gordon reported on the response of the pastors: ‘Some came up to me and said their whole way of approaching the Bible is shaken up. They used to pick their topics and then find supporting verses. I explained to them that that pre-judges the meaning of the passage before they have studied it. (Of course, we would never do this in the US!) So we work hard at studying the passage and then discovering the message God has for his people.’
He continued: ‘They get it, and they like it, even when it demands a longer and harder time of study. At least they have the confidence that they are teaching what God intends.’
The group was serious about follow-up, and formed seven regional groups that will meet for ongoing support. An all-member refresher event is planned for March. And the next main event will be the Level 2 programme, which will run from October 25-29, 2010.
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