Earlier this year, Central American pastoral trainers participated in a GLOMOS course on preaching. GLOMOS stands for Global Modular Studies, a ministry of Global Action (a TOPIC Coalition Partner). GLOMOS offers a spectrum of basic courses for pastors. The facilitator/equipper for the one on preaching pastoral trainers has been Pastor Otto Kladensky held in Honduras and Guatemala earlier this year. Otto is a missionary with Christ for the City International, ‘on loan,’ serving as TOPIC’s Project Manager. He is based in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Adults tend to learn by thinking, interacting and doing. “Show and Tell” with props are great tools to use because learners can connect with them. In the preaching course, Pastor Otto emphasizes the need for proper preparation.
[Stump, 2″x2″ Wood, Candleholder]
He uses a tree stump, which he calls “rustic,” to symbolize a message (sermon) with no preparation. The
2″ x 2″ wood cut, he calls “industrial,” to represent a message with a little preparation. The varnished lathe cut candleholder illustrates a “well prepared message” (sermon).
He also uses a target with magnetic darts to explain that it is easier to aim and attain our goal if we have ONE purpose for the sermon, ONE central idea. Dart practice becomes a great attraction and lots of fun during ‘break times.
[Participants assemble a wooden stool]
The assembly of a common wooden stool helps participants to see all the components required in a well prepared message (sermon). The stool needs the legs, supports, frame and the bench…just like the sermon, which needs: the central proposition (at the end of the introduction), the main point(s) (expressed in a progressive form), with appropriate illustrations, and relevant action points at the conclusion. Finally, for the test he asks the participants to completely clear their table space. Then he passes out a sheet of paper and a pencil with no point.
Pastor Otto then tells the group of pastoral trainers, “You have all that is needed to perform this examination. We have studied all of the material, reviewed the essentials and practiced what is important – several times. Now, go!” The participants look startled and are silent. Finally someone will say, “Brother Otto, the pencils need sharpening.”
“Really,” Pastor Otto responds, “what is the problem with a pencil like this?”
Several responses will typically come from individual participants. One is bound to say, “I can’t use this pencil, it is worthless!”
Pastor Otto chimes in: “You are absolutely right! You have all that it takes to be a good preacher! All the elements are there! God has called you, you have studied His Word, you have learned to use the tools…”
Otto then takes one pencil and a pocket knife and starts carving a point on the pencil. With each stroke, he calls out the essential things learned during the course of the workshop. Sometimes there is dead silence. At other times, one can hear “Ohs” and “Ahs.” And sometimes there are tears.
Then, Otto invites each participant to keep the pencil WITHOUT A POINT – placing it in a prominent place on the desk (or table) where they study for their sermon. He asks them to keep it as a reminder of the Learning to Preach Course, as a challenge to do the hard work of preparing each sermon. He will often conclude with, “Do not preach rustic, nor industrial style sermons. Let’s strive for excellence in our preaching…preparing well, remembering Paul’s admonition to Timothy: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and one who correctly handles the word of truth.”
The fourth in a series of Pastor-Trainer Conferences sponsored by TOPIC Philippines was held in Faith Village, Boracay, Aklan, in September 2015. Seventy-five pastor-trainers representing sixty-eight churches participated. They came from Aklan, Leyte, Dumaguete, Cebu, Zamboanga, Iloilo, Nueva Viscaya, Bulacan, and Metro-Manila the Philippines. The conference was facilitated by four members of the TOPIC Philippines Executive Team (Philip Flores, Nathan Costes, Gil Balignasay and Roli Manuel).
As in the previous gatherings, the theme was: Coming Together, Going Together. Their objectives included:
Exploring possible collaboration with other pastoral training organizations
Sharing stories, Biblical principles, best practices and challenges in pastoral training, and
Promoting the 2016 Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers in Bangkok, Thailand.
Devotional messages: “Gathered for the Great Banquet,” (by Nathan Costes, based on Luke 14:15-25); and “Re-Living the Bayanihan Spirit,” (a Filipino term referring to a communal spirit of helping each other, by Gil Balignasay, based on the Book of Nehemiah).
Philip Flores shared about TOPIC’s History (1999 – Present), the Decade of Impact, Focusing on our Focus, and TOPIC’s Key Principles – giving emphasis on the goal of producing 10,000 pastors who are equipped, maturing and Christ-like – by 2020. A TOPIC audio-visual was presented, followed by interactive ‘feedback’ discussions.
Roli Manuel led the session on “Best Practices & Key Lessons,” using the 7 Steps of Design to determine what others are doing in relation to pastoral training. He also used the “Balanced Scorecard Perspectives” to help assess performance and results.
Gil Balignasay led the discussion of “Challenges & Issues” participants face in the pastoral equipping process. Each group shared challenges and recommendations.
Philip Flores promoted the GPro Congress for Pastoral Trainers (Bangkok 2016). There was a video presentation of Dr. Ramesh Richard. Philip also gave a talk on “SOPAS” (State of Pastors), giving emphasis on the need for a new breed of spiritual leaders, today.
A highlight of the three days together was the foot washing ceremony and prayer led by Nathan Costes.
Feedback from participants ~
“I was so blessed by our conference. We are now planning our first steps to apply what we learned.” – Ptr. Diovanni E. (Cebu)
“The CORE [Community of Regional Equippers] of Nueva Viscaya will do its share to reach the goal of TOPIC by God’s grace.” – Ptr. Eli M. (Nueva Viscaya)
“Praise God. I will come home touched, renewed and ready to execute the vision God gave to TOPIC. Thanks to the TOPIC Executive Team for patiently and faithfully doing the heavy job of encouraging and training our pastors.” – Ptr. Eric R. (Aklan)
“Very inspiring moment with TOPIC Pastors.” – Ptr. Gaspar M. (Romblon)
Participants in the Pastor-Trainers Conference, Aklan, September 2015
For additional information, please contact Ptr. Philip Flores