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Uganda (Kampala) August 2017

African Renewal University, Uganda, Uganda August 18 - September 2, 2017

The Holiday Term at Africa Renewal Christian College is a part of a 2-year Certificate Program for pastors, church leaders and lay-members of the church that desire to be equipped for ministry. The training attracts mature adults that are already serving in ministry and are unable to attend bible college full-time to due family, ministry and work commitments. This mature group of students provides a tremendous atmosphere for dialogue and debate as students learn how to apply God's word to their lives.

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

Sep  2nd,  2017Christ at Work through Those You Sent To Uganda

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:

Pastor F: 

"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."


Pastor D: 

"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."


Pastor M: 

"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,

Gil Zinke

TLI, Trip Leader


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Sep  1st,  2017What a Privilege to Teach

Aug 30, 2017


Greetings in the Lord!  We are in our last days of classes here at ARU.  It has been a wonderful experience as usual.  Today in my class, the students gave their teaching presentations to their fellow students on the General Epistles (James, Jude, 1st & 2nd Peter and 1, 2, 3, John).  Most of them did very well.  Tomorrow we finish up our course instruction with the Book of Revelation and Connections between the Old and New Testaments. 

It is hard to believe that we finish up our time at ARU in two days.   We all will miss the opportunity to share God's amazing truths with these students.  We all can echo the word "Webale Yesu" which means  "Thank You Jesus" in the local Luganda language.  It has been such a stimulating experience to be used by God in this way once again.  We recognize that it is a great privilege to be serving these students by speaking forth God's words, in God's strength and for God's glory (1 Peter 4:11).


I was so touched when after asking the students to share and pray with each other about what God has taught them from Paul's epistles, they asked if they could pray for me as well.  And so, a young woman by the name of Esther led out in prayer and then was quickly joined by all the other 13 students in my class.  They prayed that God would continue to empower me and use me to share God's truth with them and others.  What an enriching experience for me to have, and blessing to receive from them! 

As we reflect on our time here at ARU, it is our ongoing hope and prayer that the students who have "sat at our feet" will return home encouraged and invigorated to live out the truth and to also share with others what they have learned.  With that understanding and assurance, we can return home feeling that our time and energy spent over the past weeks and months of preparation, has been wisely invested.  Please pray with us that this hope will become a reality.


Warmly in Christ,

Tom Kehn

TLI Ministry Partner


Tom teaching on the Apostle Paul

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Aug 29, 2017

Resolve by the grace of God that you will have regular seasons for examining yourself and looking over the accounts of your soul” (J.C. Ryle). 


Today’s Biblical Counseling class at Africa Renewal University continued to focus on methodology. We considered how counseling involves a focused ministry of the Word – that counseling often aims to “call to remembrance” things that the counselee previously learned, but needs, in the moment, to treasure, trust and obey. We looked at ways to wisely utilize various forms in the Bible: Psalms, prayers, and short stories. As David Powlison puts it, we “connect one bit of Scripture to one bit of life . . . a timely text brings truth down to a consumable size . . . change walks out in the details.” 

However, our consideration went beyond the application of truth to our counselees’ lives. The initial emphasis was to apply the “living and active” word (Heb 4:12) to our own hearts. When the Psalmist exclaims, “the unfolding of your words gives light” (Psalm 119:130), the immediate context is his own life. Those words are followed by appeals to the Lord: “Turn to me and be gracious to me . . . Keep steady my steps . . . Redeem me . . . Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your statutes” (verses 132-135). The quote from J.C. Ryle – at the top of this post – was written atop a critical task I gave to my students in today’s class, what I have entitled the “Self-Counseling Assignment.” It is a call to open their hearts to the Spirit’s scrutiny, to lay bare their often-unruly desires and unbelief. It is a call to transformation and spiritual growth, to the glory of their Savior. 

Our class is characterized by many sobering moments, but times of hilarity also pop up! Today the students set out to do practice counseling of a very difficult case. Though the case details were challenging – the person acting out the part of the reluctant counselee was I. My impersonation of a Kenyan immigrant to Uganda was sure to bring laughter (and it did)! The students plowed through, however, and asked good questions to ascertain the real issues and measure the havoc done to ‘my relationships’ by long-term unresolved anger. The picture above shows one of the more ‘serious’ moments from this exercise.

Overall it is a delight to teach and interact with these pastors. Time and time again we end up spending profitable time wrestling through real marriage and other challenges they face in their churches. Their confidence and hope builds as the days go by, and this is a great joy. We still have lots to cover in the next few days, and I pray that I can finish well. Please join me in this prayer.

Allan Topham

Short-term team member

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Aug  30th,  2017Teaching Spiritual Formation in Uganda

I am teaching the class: Spiritual Formation.  I am using Jerry Bridges,The Pursuit of Holiness and Paul's Letters to the Ephesians and Romans.  These are the foundation for our class discussions on our call to holiness.

Our discussion began with a Peter’s statement “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).  We reviewed scriptures that proclaim Jesus’ work of forgiving our sins and crediting His righteousness to us.  We also looked at Scriptures that point to our responsibilities in pursuing holiness.  We continued with discussions on the importance of conviction, commitment, personal discipline and perseverance needed to seriously pursue holiness.

Daily classes consist of lectures from “The Pursuit of Holiness,” quizzes to reinforce the teaching, and class activities in which students work in small groups to analyze selected Bible passages to glean truths relating to spiritual formation.

One objective of the course is to challenge students in their personal growth in holiness.  A second is to provide information and practical examples of how pastors can challenge the people in the congregations that they are responsible to shepherd.

Yesterday, I had the blessing of preaching in Revival Fire Church.  When we preach in the local village churches, we represent Training Leaders International and Africa Renewal University as well as Christ.  This past Sunday, there was a practical benefit of filling in for the pastor, who celebrated his wedding the previous day.

We have three more days of classes.  On Friday the students will take final exams.   Please pray that we have the energy and focus to continue to effectively bring God’s word to students in a manner that encourages them, and prepares them to better serve their villages in the name of Jesus Christ.

Phillip Pike

Ministry Partner

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Aug  29th,  2017Real Riches

Aug 25, 2017

Hello TLI friends!

"Muli-mutya!"—friendly greetings from Uganda!  It has been a week since we arrived back in Uganda to teach at African Renewal University (AfRU), about 20 minutes from Kampala, the capital city.  Our team of four TLI instructors arrived last Friday night at Entebbe Airport, having flown nine hours from Amsterdam via KLM Airlines.  We collected our bags, then made our way to the AfRU campus, settling into our bunks around 1:30 AM Saturday.  I am always amazed by the bustling activity, bright lights and loud noises of the Ugandan people, even late into the night and early morning!

Sunday we each preached at a different rural church in the villages surrounding the university.  I had the privilege of preaching at a church where I had spoken two years previously.  I shared about "Real Riches" from Ephesians, Chapter 1.  The "prosperity gospel" is a big concern here in Uganda, as it is in many poor third-world countries. Unfortunately, there are many who teach confusing and misleading concepts about receiving health and wealth in abundance in this world rather than focusing on "every spiritual blessing" we have in Christ (Eph. 1:3).  We are also giving to each of our AfRU students and local pastors a book entitled, Prosperity? Seeking the True Gospel, donated and published by The Gospel Coalition.  Please pray for each of them as they seek to navigate this false teaching in their own churches and communities.

We just finished teaching our first week of classes at AfRU.  In my class, I taught the four Gospels, Acts, and six of Paul's Epistles.  It was a lot to cover in a short time, but I thoroughly enjoyed doing it!  Next week I will finish up the rest of the New Testament books.  What a joy to teach these motivated students—younger to older, men and women—God's truths, promises and commands as revealed in these Scriptures!

I’ve also had opportunity to reconnect with some of my students from past years.  One such student shared that he had just come back from Kenya where he taught 20 pastors using my notes from the Old Testament Survey class I taught him last year.  What a joy to see God's message going forward and being shared with others!  

One couple who donated to TLI for this trip also provided extra money that enabled me to give all 14 students in my class a set of my master notes.  The students were excited to receive this unexpected gift and broke out in applause when I told about it.

Please continue to pray for us all, as we will be preaching again this Sunday in another local church and then prepare to teach our second week of classes at AfRU.  Our hope and prayer is that these classes we teach will not only provide biblical information, but would also lead to personal transformation for these students and those they serve.


Warmly in Christ,

Tom Kehn

TLI Ministry Partner


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