Reflections on the Start of Langham Preaching in China
by a Langham Preaching facilitator
Earlier this year in Hong Kong, Langham Preaching partnered with two organizations at work in the China region to offer the Level 1 seminar to 45 pastors, both men and women.
It was a mature group. Ten years of preaching experience was a requirement for participation. They tended to be senior pastors and leaders with responsibilities well beyond their own local churches. A number had graduate degrees in theology. It was a representative group. They came from right across the country with pastors (some travelling 48 hours by train) from the majority of provinces being present. So it is quite conceivable that thousands upon thousands of believers in China will be impacted by the training that is offered.
Two highlights will linger in my memory. One was that moment during training when small groups write their sermon outlines from designated passage on the whiteboard.
Nine groups crammed their Chinese characters onto the board, and then each one submitted themselves to the evaluation of their peers and the trainers. They were so honest with each other and they had such fun doing it. Raucous laughter often would fill the room. With this lightness of spirit so evident, I had to remind myself that some of these people had paid a great price for preaching the Gospel! The second highlight was when the group was split into seven regional groups to discuss how they might start local ‘preaching fellowships’ in their areas. Watching them enjoy meeting each other, share email addresses, appoint a coordinator and agree on a date to meet… We had to add another session because they just would not stop talking! It may have only been half a drop in a bucket, but there was this overwhelming sense for me that the quality of biblical preaching in China was being impacted before my very eyes.
A recurring piece of feedback from the participants was a new seriousness in their commitment to ‘a systematic and balanced preaching of the whole Bible.’
We plan to meet for Level 2 in 2010, and there are plans to run another Level 2 concurrently with a new group of people. Please pray that under God’s good hand these plans will materialise and that participants will be able to travel safely and easily to the venue.