In northern Ghana, we recently completed our seventh class out of nine. Training Leaders International partners with Community Life Church to do the work. The two previous times we heard the students preach had been disappointing to the American teachers. Much of the disappointment came from unrealistic expectations, losing focus on where the students started, and the American expectation of immediate results. And so, with lower expectations, we heard the students preach their sermons from John. And they were good. Students’ sermons had a clear main point and supporting points drawn from their text. They took into consideration the surrounding context and how they functioned in the Gospel of John. They are improving on one of the hardest skills we're teaching them — how to properly apply the biblical text to their congregation.
If we had used a “one and done” approach to training pastors in northern Ghana, we wouldn’t have seen this growth. It is only through a long-term commitment that we have we been able to work with the students to improve their preaching. I look forward to returning two more times so that we can see the skills they are developing solidified into a lifelong habit of preaching.