Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Train one: save many

Photo: RNLI
In Guernsey the Lifeboat is more than a maritime institution, it is a prominent local charity dedicated to saving lives at sea.  We who depend upon the sea for  so much are grateful that the RNLI is there when we need them.  Recently the charity ran a campaign called 'Train one: save many' trying to raise awareness of the need to train people for safety at sea and thereby save lives.  When I saw the slogan I thought of another lifeboat I know, only this one is in a land-locked country - Zimbabwe!

When Diane and I lived and worked in that land in the early 1990's we realised the great need for training in the African churches.  There are over a million churches in Africa without trained leadership!  Church growth has outstripped leadership training on a massive scale.  We worked with the Elim Pentecostal Church of Zimbabwe and set up a training programme for young Christian men called 'Project Timothy'.  Today, the EPCZ has just opened a new Bible School in Mutare, the third largest city.  I visited the capital Harare just a month ago and met with the Bible School Board.  The key to the future of this ministry is training.  'Train one: save many'.

Elim Bible School in Mutare
My involvement with the Bible School now is to try and raise the finance over the next 12 months to equip the lecturers with laptops and the College with computer and VOIP facilities.  This will enable the lecturers to teach groups of students in more than one centre at the same time and save long journeys for them.  It will also give them and the students access to rich resources on the Web and enable overseas teachers to have some input.  The medium for teaching is English.  The day of the pith-helmet wearing missionary may be over, but our support and equipping role in the African church context is more vital now than ever. 'Train one: save many'.

Get in touch if you want to know more!