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Trips

Ghana January 2017

Undisclosed Location January 19-29, 2017

We are training local church planters in a Christian-minority part of Ghana. The majority of the population follow the traditional religion, while Islam is growing fast. Most of the new churches in the area over the last two years have been planted by our students. Due to demand, in January 2016 we added a second cohort of around thirty students. Classes: Hermeneutics Gospel of John

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Ghana January 2017

Jan  28th,  2017Trip

We have an abnormally experienced team this trip.  5/6 have taught with TLI in Ghana before; two of us have been to this area 7 times, one 6 times, one 3 times, and one two times.  This experience gives us several benefits.

 

One benefit is seeing the growth of the students.  Over seven courses, the students have drastically improved.  One teacher, who was last here on trip 5 (we’re now on trip 7) mentioned how he was surprised at the rapid improvement in student preaching between trips 5 and 7. 

 

This highlights the importance for a long term strategy for training church leaders.  If we only came once, or twice, or even five times, we would miss the benefits that the students have gained.  While the students’ had certainly improved, in previous classes, this was the class that most of them started to put it together, turning the biblical text into a biblically based sermon with biblically based applications.

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Jan  23rd,  2017Why these courses: a Ghanaian perspective

This week we are teaching two courses to two different cohorts: 1) Hermeneutics; 2) Gospel of John.

 

Today while talking to our national partner, unbidden he mentioned how glad he was that we were teaching the Gospel of John.  In recent years Islam has been growing at a rapid rate thanks to Muslim missionary efforts.  Towns that used to have one or two mosques now have at least one mosque within walking distance of every family.  Muslim missionaries attack Christian beliefs, arguing to the local population that Christians worship three gods.  Recently our partner talked with a Christian woman he knew who had married a Muslim man.  When he asked her why she, a Christian, married him, she replied that it didn’t matter because they worshipped the same God.

 

How do you contend with a surging Muslim presence combined with a population confused between the differences between Islam and Christianity?  Unconsciously following in the footsteps of great African theologians like Athanasius and Augustine, our national partner sees the solution in the classic doctrine of the Trinity.  He sees the high Christology of John providing for the perfect vehicle with which to challenge the students on the foundational difference between Christianity and Islam.

 

 

The other class is Hermeneutics.  I feel like I don’t have to work hard to justify the importance of hermeneutics, especially in a country rife where it is so easy to find examples of bad hermeneutics on the tv, radio, or in local churches.  However, a short observation:  Sunday I preached at a very remote church.  The entire time I was there, except for the church leadership, I did not see anyone with a copy of the Bible.  If it is important to faithfully preach the Bible, how much more is it important to faithfully preach the Bible when no one (or very few) in your congregation have any knowledge of the biblical text apart from your sermons.  

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