Langham Preaching in Central Asia
The Central Asian Republics have had a turbulent past and, now established as independent states, face considerable economic, religious and social upheaval. Few places are more difficult for Christian witness, with restrictive religious laws and a small evangelical minority in broadly Islamic societies. This morning we received news from our country coordinator that their safe had been stolen, which contained money for various projects, including the balance of funds for the preaching training – and this highlights one of the many challenges which churches face. Yet for the second year in a row, 125 preachers gathered last month, from urban and rural settings, and from four different republics.
The Langham Preaching team reported: ‘The difference between last year and this year was noticeable, and those who have been meeting to study Colossians seem to have grasped the principles of study and preaching. But I sense that this would be very much the exception in terms of church life, which majors on evangelism and gives less priority to teaching.’ Speaking of those new to the event, the team reported: ‘It was great to see people on Level 1 progress tangibly in the four days we had together! ‘ And of those who had returned for Level 2: ‘One older pastor bravely admitted that his sermons were more interesting an more faithful to the text … the bored faces of his congregation had helped him to change, and his own laziness had been the main difficulty to overcome. This was a major admission for a pastor to make in public. People are grateful to have some training and equipping to do something to which they are committed, but haven’t known how to do.’
Some of the participants have said:
‘I am grateful to God for the possibility to study his Word. This seminar has helped me to understand better the God’s Word and to understand responsibility before God.’ (Aitysh)
‘I have understood the big difference between concept of the text and the sermon. I took responsibility to preach correctly. And I will go to groups which we have to study further.’ (Murat)
‘It was very interesting to me to study the Word together with this team, because they very easily presented what was difficult for understanding. Now I understand that it is very big work.’ (Umut)