Greetings, grace and peace!
I am in Amsterdam airport after an overnight flight from Entebbe, Uganda.
The TLI Team, left to right: Tom Kehn, Phil Pike, Allan Topham & Gil Zinke
God has again been gracious to your Training Leaders International (TLI) team, and to our students during the two-week Holiday Term of Africa Renewal University. Each of our students received a free book from The Gospel Coalition entitled Prosperity? Seeking the True Gospel. We were able to give it to many staff as well.
All of my students had Allan Topham’s Intro to Counseling course in the mornings; I taught them Church Administration in the afternoons. Malcolm Webber has said that the two tasks a leader cannot delegate are setting vision and developing leaders. Therefore, in my course I focused heavily on mentoring Christ-like leaders. Below are comments five students gave me in a feedback session, September 1st:
"My other name is Peter, so sometimes I am in a rush! I never expected in my life that I would meet such teachers—gentle, patient, humble and biblical."
"I thought I was a mentor. I discovered I have been a poor mentor, mentoring the wrong people the wrong way."
"I am still stunned how Jesus—unlike the Pharisees—treated rebellious sinners with love and patience rather than wrath."
"I have come to realize you can have more than two mentors who influence your life. I realized I have not been mentoring anyone. I’ve done some things that are fruitful, but I have not been doing one important thing—training up Christ-like leaders."
"When Jesus tells us to treat someone like a Gentile or tax collector, I thought that was to reject them, to push them away. I learned in this class that—in contrast to the Pharisees—He treated Gentiles and tax collectors as outsiders who need to be loved, prayed-for and welcomed in. That was revolutionary for me; I’m still absorbing that.
"Also, I learned that God is not a God of confusion. I should mentor people for God’s sake; He wants us to nurture them for the Kingdom of Heaven."
Church Worker B:
"Yesterday I was sitting on my bed touching this paper and thinking, 'I have this chance to learn these things. Most of the people around are lost.' I thought, 'How can I join someone on their journey. We are not here to merely get knowledge, but to go back and teach. I am not to go home to preach prosperity, but to bring God’s people to Christ. How can I become one of God’s instruments to help someone become all that God wants him to become and do all that God wants him to do? How should a pastor be? How can a leader lead others, or grow leaders, to where God wants them to be?”
Youth Pastor F:
"I thank God for this training! I learned how a mentor must [be transformed to] become a mentor of someone. I used to try to mentor, but I did not know I was supposed to be humble. I was proud. I quarreled with the mentees many times."
"I find that many preachers are preaching prosperity gospel. How will I help my church change?"
"I learned how a pastor should administer the church—much should be delegated to others."
"I learned that baptism is practiced differently in different cultures."
"I learned that Church administration should be about transformation. When God has given you people, you should help them to become what God wants them to become and do all that God wants them to do. That is how you are to use your calling."
"Before this class I didn’t know what mentoring was. I learned the definition of mentoring—'to intentionally join someone’s life journey to become one of God’s instruments to help him become all that God wants him to become, and to do all that God wants him to do.' Take him ahead, not back."
"Was I seeking personal success, or God’s kingdom? I had to search my heart. Ministry must be for the kingdom of God. How do we grow people? Be Christ-centered; develop other leaders."
After the last class, one of those pastors told me, “God brought me here for the Counseling and Church Administration courses. I was about to leave the ministry.”
On the previous evening, one of my students called for a private meeting with the four TLI teachers. He said, “In my culture, a teacher is like a father. In my culture, people close to you should learn important news about you directly from you, not through someone else. That is why I gathered you to tell you that I plan to marry in December, and ask you to pray for me.”
We congratulated him and each joyfully prayed over him.
Phil, Allan and I are on flights home. Tom is staying Uganda for another week to visit and encourage ministries he knows. Tom was able to connect one AfRU grad to an NGO where he can volunteer, have lodging and a small stipend, and gain experience toward his future ministry.
God is gracious and good!
In His grace,
TLI, Trip Leader