Coming together in the Solomons around the Bible

BY ccrossley | 8 April 2012 |

Joshua Maule

[This story first appeared on the Eternity News website…used with permission]

Solomon Islanders could teach Aussies a thing or two about unity.

Among the island groups which have a history of conflict, Christians
spanning Uniting, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Assemblies of God, South
Seas Evangelical Church and Wesleyans, joined together for a “Training
Local Trainers” workshop run by Langham Partnership Australia last
month.

Rory Shiner, pastor of St Matthew’s Unichurch Perth, was part of a
team delivering the training from February 20-24, and believes there
were both direct and indirect benefits.

“You’ve got the general consequences of the lift in the quality of
preaching and a more expositional approach to preaching,” says Shiner.
“But then you’ve got the unintentional consequences of pastors from
different denominations meeting each other.”

Shiner was first introduced to the work of Langham when he met the
late John Stott. He believed it empowered local Christian leaders in the
majority world to understand God’s word. “Langham is a pretty
rigorously indigenising kind of movement. From the very start you’re
looking for outsiders to not be needed within about five years,” he
says.

After giving an injection of training for leaders in the Solomon
Islands, Langham Partnership Australia will take a step back and allow
locals to run preachers’ clubs and continue to train one another in
preaching the Bible.

This most recent training school gathered a small group of pastors in
the Solomons. It’s the fourth time Langham Australia has visited the
Island group.

“This is beginning to help them see how they can train others in how
to both study and preach the word of God,” says Wendy Toulmin, executive
officer of Langham Australia. “Our catch cry is how to be faithful,
clear and relevant.”

Langham also has programs to encourage local Bible scholarship and
preachers’ clubs where local Christians gather in small clusters to give
feedback on one another’s sermons.

One pastor from the Solomons remarked during a Langham preaching
school, “All through the years we have been trying to interpret the
Bible without allowing it to speak for itself.” Another preacher said:
“One important thing I learned was to let the Bible speak for itself.”

“Australia is resource rich and response poor to the gospel,” says
Rory Shiner, “and the Solomons is response rich and resource poor.”

“People in Australia have got exposure to massive resources and
people are fairly lethargic to the gospel. There’s a compelling argument
in terms of the allocation of resources.”

Langham Australia will return to the Solomon Islands later this year to continue their partnership with the region.

Below is a video featuring testimonies of those who have participated in preaching schools in the Solomons.

Solomons 2010