‘Most significant gathering to impact African Church growth’
One of the most significant gatherings with implications for the growth and character of the African Church took place earlier this year.
The first ‘All African Langham Preaching Consultation’ for country coordinators, trainers and facilitators was held in Ghana in July this year. 65 participants came from 27 sub-Saharan African nations, with two from Egypt and key facilitators from other parts of the world. The Church has grown significantly in Africa but there is a deficit of sound Biblical exposition.
Langham Preaching started addressing this twelve years ago with the Ghana ‘National Expository Preaching Seminar’ (NEPS). It aimed to equip pastors and leaders, and nurture Biblical faithfulness and preaching clarity. Langham Preaching has since become a growing movement in various African countries.
The gathering this year is the first-time key stakeholders– including pastors, theologians, Langham
Scholars and lay preachers– have joined to reflect on preaching, and discuss the future impact of Langham Preaching. Under the theme: “Transforming Facilitators for Transformed Preaching in Africa”, we reflected on our identity as Langham preachers, what we do, how we work and how to be more effective and efficient.
The sessions were in French and English, and each day began with worship and Bible expositions. This fed us spiritually and served as good Biblical preaching models. We discussed the core values and roots of Langham Preaching in Africa. Each evening we had colourful presentations on Langham preaching globally and in each of the African regions. Some sessions included delicious delicacies brought in from different national contexts.
In order to be united on content and preaching training methods, we discussed curriculum, training levels and challenges. The sessions were intensive, interactive and practical. A team even performed a role play showing us what preaching clubs look like, as we want them to become the norm across Africa.
Giant steps in communication
Time was also devoted to ‘Administration in Ministry’, covering how we communicate to staff at the Carlisle office. Many of us had emailed Ruth Slater, Claire Bennett, Elspeth Mackay before, but not met them in person.
Langham Preaching’s Associate Director Mark Meynell sacrificially joined us for literally 24 hours, to teach us about the new ‘Langham Preaching App’.
Mark helped us take the giant step from old communication methods to the “app way of communicating”. The goal is that by January 2018, the app will be multi-lingual and we’ll all be using it. (Since the gathering, the App has been updated, so is now available in French and Spanish).
The finance sessions helped participants to appreciate: our supporters; matters of accountability; and ways to work towards sustainable indigenous funding. Some of the older preaching movements like Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe shared how they have raised local support. The gathering ended with a communion service on the last day.
This consultation has been significant for various reasons: I was particularly encouraged by the sense of ownership. Team members from Malawi already shared how to pioneer the work in Mozambique, and South Africa looks forward to starting in Namibia and Angola. The commitment to work towards sustainable indigenous financial support gives me hope for significant growth and vibrant preaching movements across Africa.
Asked what the highlights of the event were, some of them said:
- “The Sense of family Langham has created and sustained.”
- “The unity of purpose and each region moving forward together.”
- “Key values which have been shared and will help us in our ministry and mission.”
- “Touched by the main vision of
Langham – being able to preach the true Word and Bible as it is written.”
- “… coming here has deepened my convictions to stick with the truth.”