Preacher Training in rural Romania

How do you train people to preach well? That is our mission on this latest trip to Transylvania. Some of the people Ian Crossley and I are training are already experienced preachers who have been developing their art for many years; others are relatively new.

Only a minority of the pastors we are working with have been through formal college training or have been educated in the skills of communicating God’s word. Many people learn it by doing it, or at least by copying uncle Bert, or whoever was preaching last week. Most of the people who come to our seminars are working folk who devote the evening to studying. The sacrifices these people make is very moving and I am often impressed with the sheer doggedness of these bi-vocational pastors as they talk about leading their rural churches.

We teach them a method of developing a sermon from a text in the Bible with the intention of giving them something they can apply each week. They feed back to us that this is a genuinely useful additional tool in their armoury. People new to preaching find it helpful too and tell us it helps them to see their way through creating a message that will feed God’s people.

On this trip, Ian C has been teaching how to preach from a passage in Exodus and I have been teaching how to preach the Psalms. I’ve been encouraging my students to wrestle with some of the tough stuff in the Psalms (like Psalm 137). We conducted a quick survey at the commencement of the seminars to discover which Psalms they had preached on. As I expected, we found there were about half-a-dozen which are very popular, and that leaves a lot untouched!

Preaching on a Bible character has also been the subject of a workshop. This was very stimulating as we wrestled with the complexity of some people who figure large in the scriptures.

Please pray for us! We go to another venue tonight and then a fourth one tomorrow.