Reverend Dr Frank Shayi first became involved in Langham Partnership in 2010 through Emmanuel Oladipo, who was heavily involved in Langham Preaching in South Africa at the time. Frank shares, “He came down to South Africa and was invited to conduct the seminar in Limpopo. He asked me to join that group of the participants.”
While he was pastoring in the local church, Frank did the Langham Preaching seminar training in 2010, 2011 and 2012. When he had completed the training, Emmanuel approached him about being the Country Coordinator (now called Preaching Movement Coordinator). Frank says, “Because it was started in an Anglican setting, he wanted a non-Anglican to introduce it into the churches in South Africa.”
So in 2013 Frank started as a coordinator for Langham Preaching and was involved in conducting many seminars across all the training levels. Over time they grew to not only offer one level each year but to be able to offer all three levels in the same calendar year.
Changing roles and embracing responsibility
In 2017, Frank was invited to Ghana by the Director of Langham Preaching Africa, Femi Adeleye. They were re-organising the preaching program in Africa, and Frank travelled to the meeting believing he would pass on his knowledge of training facilitators and then step down and hand his responsibilities onto someone else. Instead, he was asked to stay on and take on something slightly new.
Frank shares, “I was told, please don’t go. We would like you to consider this new position now that we are reconstituting Langham Preaching Africa. So they divided Africa into Southern, Eastern, Western and Central regions. They asked me to start the Southern Africa region as the regional coordinator.”
This was a position Frank stewarded from 2017 until 2023 when he chose to step out of this responsibility. He remains involved as a Facilitator-at-Large, which could also be described as a senior adviser.
This new role will see Frank lend his experience and seniority to help others within the program through Southern Africa and beyond. He shares, “It in a sense eases the administrative work. And all it will need will be me facilitating wherever I am needed, just to show my grey hairs for pastors who may look at the facilitators in that country and think that maybe they are just below them. But when they see the grey hairs and someone who has gone through the Preaching [training program], they will get to start on a good footing…then once they are in, they will see that the seminars that we run are very good and helpful and bring about change in the lives of both the preacher and the congregation he or she serves.”
Changing pastors and changing churches
Through his many years serving in Langham Preaching, Frank has seen God at work in a variety of ways. One of the key ways he describes the preaching training being used by God is how it changes pastors for the better. He shares, “This includes myself…pastors in the past shied away from preaching the Old Testament. [But] after undergoing the training, they so fell in love with the Old Testament and just like me, they saw the great link between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and so they are preaching about the Old Testament and showing how the Old Testament relates to the New Testament.”
Often most of what was taught in the Old Testament is not repeated because it’s taken for granted that people in the New Testament know about the Old Testament. However, we know the importance of teaching both the Old and New Testaments to Christians everywhere, and this is something Frank has seen be understood over and over again through his work.
“Biblical preaching that is taught in the seminars by Langham, by preaching facilitators who take it seriously, and [for pastors] who get to practice, it changes both the life of the preacher and the congregation.”Rev Dr Frank Shayi – Facilitator at Large, Africa
Frank says, “The congregations, as they shared with me, also appreciated the preaching from a changed preacher who mixes the Old Testament and the New Testament [in their] sermons and shows the importance of both. Because the story of salvation starts right from Genesis and when you preach that right through to Revelation, then, of course, the pastor becomes a new person.”
Pray for the future of preaching in Southern Africa
In the Southern region of Africa, there is a big challenge for regional coordinators to train more facilitators to conduct preaching seminars.
Please pray that the facilitators who conduct the seminars will be able to identify potential facilitators to be trained so the program can grow and more people can hear sermons that are biblically based. And pray for those who are supporting Langham Preaching to consider giving towards the translation of material from English into the local languages.
There are many countries in this region and throughout Africa that need materials translated into their mother tongue so that the seminars can be taught and enjoyed in the participant’s own language.
Frank shares, “Those who are not fluent and do not use English as their first language, would like the training to be done in their own mother tongue. And I think the statistic that is generally given is that around the world, over 80% of pastors and preachers have not undergone any official kind of training in colleges and seminaries. So it is for those who are not at home with English but are called by God and use the local language. Once the material is translated into the local language, they can use that and continue to preach.”
This article was written by Ngaire Buckley, Langham Partnership Australia.